Washington, D.C./United States. President Donald Trump warned Iran that the U.S. has identified dozens of sites to be hit “very fast and very hard” if it retaliates for the killing of military leader Qassem Soleimani.
“Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have … targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
Trump did not disclose which specific targets the U.S. has identified for possible strikes. However, the president’s indication the list included sites of cultural significance drew an immediate outcry on social media.
Trump has routinely lashed out at nations for endangering the security of the U.S., famously threatening “fire and fury” against North Korea if the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, continued testing nuclear weapons.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reacted to Soleimani’s death in a U.S. drone strike by vowing “harsh retaliation.”
Earlier Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security released a National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin stating that “Iran and its partners, such as Hizballah, have demonstrated the intent and capability to conduct operations in the United States.”
However, the bulletin added, “At this time we have no information indicating a specific, credible threat to the Homeland.”
In the aftermath of Thursday’s fatal attack on the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces, Trump has sought to defend his action, saying the U.S. does not “seek war” while warning terrorists not to target American interests.
“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” Trump told reporters in Miami.
A readout of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergi Lavrov released by the State Department on Friday said Pompeo “made clear that the United States remains committed to de-escalation.”
Trump’s mention of “52 American hostages” is a reference to the Iran hostage crisis that cast a shadow over former President Jimmy Carter’s presidency.
Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in retaliation for longstanding U.S. support for the recently deposed Shah.
In November 1980, with the standoff ongoing, Carter lost his bid for reelection to Ronald Reagan. The hostages were finally released minutes before Reagan’s inauguration on Jan. 20 1981.
Trump tweeted from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he chastised Democrats earlier Saturday for their efforts to impeach him.
“As hard as I work, & as successful as our Country has become with our Economy, our Military & everything else, it is ashame [sic] that the Democrats make us spend so much time & money on this ridiculous Impeachment Lite Hoax,” Trump said. “I should be able to devote all of my time to the REAL USA!”
Trump: A Good Defense is Offense
The U.S. president, Donald J. Trump, like him or hate him, set the strategic tone in Iranian affairs. The tanker attacks, strike one, the U.S. embassy attack, strike two, and using the the rule of preemptive strike if bullied the president went strike three. The attacks on vessels and the U.S. embassy attack are direct attack on sovereignty of the United States.
Interestingly, both the mainstream media and the Europeans missed that point. Not the Trump administration. It acted decisively and with clarity. Kudos to the Trump administration.
Wth the intelligence pointed the finger at the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the United States went on the offensive and killed of Qassem Soleimani was a known quantity. The Iranians like the North Koreans underestimated the U.S. administration.
The warning by this administration to Iran not to intervene in the free flow of shipping from the the Gulf was missed. An attack on the vessels in the Straits of Hormuz is an declaration of war in accordance to international law. So was the attack on the embassy.
Iran counted on past histories to judge the future. Donald J. Trump is not like any other administration. The New Yorker warned, understands the historical context of the U.S. embassy and understand bully mentality. Donald J. Trump acted.
The strategic framework of the U.S. administration is simple. Iran never conceded to the United States, the current administration only affirmed what previous administration learned the hard way. Secondly, terrorism is part of the Iranian strategic framework. It is violent, predatory and destabilizing. Third, the message is: We don’t want war but if you think you want to wage war, bring it on.
Trumps actually simplistic narrative is surprisingly missed by the leftist pundits of CNN and the Democrats. Like before Trump the disrupter displays a cunning understanding of foreign policies. The Democrats preoccupied by leftist hubris focus of Gumbuyah, leftists fantasies, and Trump bashing.
His reference to 52 sites in reference to the 52 hostages is not rhetorical. An eye for an eye is understood in the Middle East. Since the revolution all U.S. administrations have avoided hard action against the leadership of the terror network of the regime. Trump the disrupter understand power and he displays a cunning eye for history. He is settling the historical score if challenged by Iran. The assassination of Qassem Soleimani is a clear message.
The debate about the war in Iraq was just or not is not merely academic. It is realpolitik changing the geopolitical landscape for the middle east. Iraq and Syria underwent regime change. Turkey remains a uneasy ally not yet settled and Iran is for the first time since the downfall of the Shah challenged. It is strategic, it is limited warfare.
Without doubt tensions in the region will increase. But then so what? Tensions remain a fact of life in the Middle East with the assassination or not. Hence the hegemonic position of the United States like in North Korea is being now dealt with. And like in North Korea, Trump opened the door messaging to the horrors of the democrats, for talks with the Iranian.
Trump set the strategic trap. Tehran is faced with stark realities. Act against U.S. interest and face a new wave of military, limited actions, more sanctions or bite their tongues. And the willingness of striking 52 more times is set. In a more subtle message Donald J. Trump takes the hammer and swings it justifiable. Concise, cold and with precision.
Threaten the American symbols of power and you will be unleashing the wrath of the United States. Your move.