Tuesday Noon ~ TheFrontPageCover

~ Featuring ~
The Score: US 10, Iran 0
By Jonathan F. Keiler
Now Is the Time to Stay in Iraq, Not Leave
By Auguste Meyrat
{ americanthinker.com } ~ With the death of General Soleimani and Iran's subsequent "saving face" retaliation, many pundits and commentators have expressed fear of an escalation of violence between the U.S. and Iran... something that could even mount into a third world war. Considering that those pushing this narrative also happen to push the narrative that Trump is a fascist dictator, scumbag/liar-nObama's foreign policy was beyond reproach, and the current impeachment is completely legitimate, it's safe to assume that these critics are mistaken. Trump is unlikely to start a war with Iran; he has no reason to do so, nor does anyone want this of him.  The real thing to fear is the opposite scenario: Trump calls it a day after killing Soleimani and pulls troops out of Iraq and Syria. Many prominent conservatives have argued elsewhere that Americans should take this opportunity to the leave the region altogether. They argue that continued American involvement could well lead to an escalation of violence, but also that it has failed in its mission to promote peace and progress in the region. Furthermore, they point out how the U.S. presence has provided a cover and scapegoat for theocratic regimes trying to stay in power. Therefore, they conclude that if the Americans left now, Iraq, Iran, and neighboring countries would finally deal with their own problems, have less reason for aggression toward one another, and have some kind of stability. And if things destabilize even more, the U.S. could at least not take blame for it anymore. Even if some of the people making this case credit themselves as "realists," there is nothing realistic about this prediction. Rather, history strongly suggests that leaving the region altogether in response to Iranian threats and Iraqi protests would embolden bad actors; leave a power vacuum; and, yes, escalate violence in the region...  https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/01/now_is_the_time_to_stay_in_iraq_not_leave.html   

'Left with no choice': European countries move
to hold Iran accountable for
violating nuclear deal
by Caitlin Yilek
{ washingtonexaminer.com } ~ Britain, Germany, and France moved toward implementing more sanctions against Iran after Tehran said it would not comply with any restrictions on enriching uranium... following the U.S. strike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. The European countries said they had “sought to persuade Iran to change course” and “worked hard” to address its concerns. They said there were, however, few options left, given Iran’s decision, except to trigger a dispute mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal. “We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments” under the nuclear agreement, the countries said in a joint statement Tuesday. Triggering the mechanism gives the parties up to 60 days to negotiate about Iran coming back into full compliance with the deal, according to the New York Times. It could end in reviving United Nations sanctions on Iran, but the European countries said they remain committed to saving the deal and would not be joining the United States’ “maximum pressure” campaign. President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and has imposed several rounds of sanctions on the country. Iran has responded by gradually exceeding many of the limitations it agreed to in the deal.  https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/left-with-no-choice-european-countries-move-to-hold-iran-accountable-for-violating-nuclear-deal?utm_source=breaking_push&utm_medium=app&utm_campaign=push_notifications&utm_source=WEX_Breaking%20News%20Alert_01/14/2020&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WEX_Breaking%20News&rid=5261  
France, Britain, Germany trigger 
Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism
by jpost.com ~ France, Britain and Germany confirmed on Tuesday that they had triggered the dispute mechanism in the Iran nuclear deal given Tehran's ongoing violations of the 2015 agreement... but said they were not joining the United States campaign to exert maximum pressure on Tehran. "We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments under the JCPoA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]] and to refer this matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism, as set out in paragraph 36 of the JCPoA [Iran deal]," the three European states said in a joint statement.  In one of the strongest calls yet from Europe for a new agreement to replace the 2015 deal that Washington abandoned two years ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier in the day that  the way forward was to agree a new "Trump deal." A decision by Britain, France and Germany to trigger a dispute mechanism in the 2015 arms control agreement with Iran is not designed to re-impose U.N. sanctions but to bring Tehran back into compliance, the EU's top diplomat said. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is also the chairman of the Iran nuclear deal that the EU helped to broker, told reporters he had received notification from London, Paris and Berlin of their decision to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism. He explained that the goal was to preserve the deal and not create a situation by which United Nations sanctions were reimposed on Iran. The aim "is to resolve issues relating to the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement and not... to re-impose sanctions," Borrell said at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Washington's European allies have tried to keep the nuclear agreement from collapsing since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it in 2018. Under the agreement, international sanctions against Iran were lifted in return for Tehran agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program...  https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/FRANCE-BRITAIN-GERMANY-TO-TRIGGER-IRAN-NUCLEAR-DEAL-DISPUTE-MECHANISM-ON-TUESDAY-DIPLOMATS-614116  
The Why and How of Market-Driven Medical Care
By James C. Capretta
{ realclearpolicy.com } ~ The American public regularly hears of plans to further extend government control over medical care but rarely of reforms that would go in a different and sometimes opposite direction... Part of the problem is that Republicans are more comfortable and adept at criticizing the flaws of Medicare for All and similar initiatives than at articulating a vision of their own. That needs to change if the decades-long drift toward ever greater governmental control of the health sector is to be arrested and reversed. The goal of a market-driven system is not maximum and undifferentiated deregulation. Some regulation is necessary, to correct for tendencies that are inherent in the provision of medical services. However, while some regulation is essential, that does not mean that the only, or best, answer is a fully governmental system. Indeed, under the right circumstances, private incentives could deliver more innovation, higher quality, and lower costs than full public control. It is sometimes argued that Kenneth Arrow’s seminal assessment of the welfare economics of medical care provided the definitive argument for a fully regulated scheme. That is an over-interpretation of his analysis. What he posited was a description of why medical care is different from other purchased services, and thus incompatible with a completely unsupervised market. Arrow’s main points were that the degree of uncertainty about the timing and effectiveness of care, and the imbalance in expertise and information between physicians and patients, are what set medical services apart from other sectors of the economy and require a public policy response. Consumers, quite understandably, want to offload the risk of needing costly medical attention; most could not afford to pay out-of-pocket for lengthy hospitalizations or treatments. Thus, there is a market for insurance, but that market would work inadequately without some regulation. Among other things, consumers with elevated health risks due to genetic factors, for instance would pay high and perhaps unaffordable premiums because of their known conditions. Low income households may not be able to afford insurance and therefore, in the absence of subsidies, would face significant financial barriers to accessing services necessary to maintain their health... https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2020/01/13/the_why_and_how_of_market-driven_medical_care_111350.html?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTTJNM01qWm1NVFV5TUdJMiIsInQiOiJqU251UTF2cHhYUkxhRHlRaTEydkIweHVMZWNUY2JsQzRxenc2bTMyWkVLRlliKzhXTzhQblJoRGJlV1JxRVNtY1U3eTlhVzdwNGc5VnFmdzdJN2tJKzNIMjhjUjRwS3UzNU9MbkwrVWVnczdFenNwV1plM0NVZXRpQmZFc0l0USJ9  
Terror leaders now fleeing, in hiding, because 
of Trump's Soleimani strike: Report
By Jack Davis
{ wnd.com } ~ Terrorists who sow fear are now living in fear themselves after the precision drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani... according to a new report. Journalist Sara Carter, writing on her website, said that terrorist leaders within Iraq are leaving the region or going into hiding for fear that they could be next. In her report, Carter quoted multiple sources she did not name, most cited as "a U.S. official." In her report, she quotes former CIA Station Chief Daniel Hoffman as saying that President Donald Trump’s "decapitation strike targeting general Qassem Soleimani was a seminal moment, a change in strategy for the United States." Carter said that soon after last Thursday's strike that killed Soleimani, terrorists -- many of whom operate with the backing of Iran -- were "fleeing" or hiding. In Trump's speech to the nation, the president made it clear that the U.S. will not be passive in the face of terror attacks. "By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people," the president said, according to a  White House media pool report. Carter said that terrorists got the message. "U.S. officials intercepted communications and intelligence suggesting that terrorists in the region were signaling immediate concerns over Iran’s inability to protect Soleimani from the U.S.," she wrote. James Carafano, a foreign policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, said terror groups hoping Iran will protect or avenge them have learned a painful lesson. “If this is all Iran will do to avenge Soleimani no one can expect Tehran to expend a lot of capital to protect them from the Americans," he said, according to Carter...
Federal lawsuits target both Iran and private
firms for allegedly financing Taliban and
Al-Qaeda operations that killed U.S. troops
by Toby Dershowitz and Talia Katz
{ fdd.org } ~ On December 27, 2019, more than 500 members of American military families, including over 100 Gold Star families, filed two lawsuits... one against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and another against eight multinational companies that operate in Afghanistan. The pair of lawsuits alleges that the government of Iran and these specific corporations – the defendants in the cases – materially assisted al-Qaeda and the Taliban to kill American military forces. The first lawsuit involves 503 Americans seeking damages from the Islamic Republic under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which holds state sponsors of terrorism liable for extrajudicial killings of Americans. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, alleges that Iran provided  financial, material, and tactical support to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. This support reportedly resulted in hundreds of American casualties between 2007 and 2017. Based on State Department cables and Congressional testimony, the lawsuit accuses Iran of building close ties to al-Qaeda. After 9/11, the Iranian government offered a safe haven for senior al-Qaeda leaders. While living in Iran, they reportedly  directed and organized terrorist operations around the world. The lawsuit cites Osama Bin Laden’s own admission of Iran being al-Qaeda’s “main artery for funds, personnel, and communication.” In July 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department designated six members of al-Qaeda, citing the Iranian government’s agreement to grant al-Qaeda members “freedom of operation and uninhibited ability to travel for extremists and their families.” The lawsuit mentions dozens of other cables that underscore Iran’s material support for the Taliban. For example, members of the Iranian government, particularly the Qods Force and Iranian Intelligence Secret Service, met with Taliban officials as early as 2000 to collaborate with them against U.S.-led coalition forces. The lawsuit also cites a 2007 U.S. Treasury Department Press Release, which explains that “since at least 2006, Iran has arranged frequent shipments of small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, plastic explosives, and probably man-portable defense systems to the Taliban … Through Qods Force material support to the Taliban, we believe Iran is seeking to inflict casualties on U.S. and NATO forces.” In 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned two Qods Force officers for providing “logistical support” to terrorists for attacks in Afghanistan...
The Score: US 10, Iran 0
By Jonathan F. Keiler

{ americanthinker.com } ~ By any conventional evaluation the United States clearly came out on top in the recent imbroglio with Iran. Put simply, had a Democratic president been in power, the print media, airwaves and internet would have been awash with paeans to the chief executive and his advisors. The series of incidents would be depicted as admirable, an example of balancing restraint and force to achieve national ends. The only reason this is not the accepted narrative in the media, and especially among Democrats is that the impresario of this victory was Donald Trump.  

The current “crisis” with Iran began with the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the scumbag/liar-nObama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. That was a false treaty, implemented by I-got-a-pen-and-a-phone scumbag/liar-nObama, through executive action that dodged the constitutional requirement of Senate consent, facilitated by a multi-billion dollar bribe to Iran money that went directly to Iranian Major General Qassem Suleimani’s Quds force. Having withdrawn from the deal, Trump reimposed American economic sanctions.

Iran responded by a series of provocations, designed to create a crisis atmosphere that it calculated would pressure Trump to back down. In early May, Iranian operatives detonated small mines on four tankers operating in the Gulf off the UEA. Iran denied involvement. U.S. Navy video released a few days later presented strong evidence otherwise. Despite this, the administration did not respond other than warning Iran.  

A month later, having failed get anything more than an up-blip in oil prices from the tanker attack, Iran shot down an unarmed U.S. surveillance drone (June 19.) The next day President Trump ordered and then called off a retaliatory U.S. airstrike. He explained that the action would have killed a large number of Iranian troops, and been disproportionate, thus adopting a trendy and limiting law of war concept, especially popular on the left. Instead, Trump ordered cyber-attacks and increased American sanctions.

Foiled again in its attempt to create a crisis, on Sept. 14, Iran launched a relatively sophisticated attack on Saudi oil facilities using suicide drones and cruise missiles. The attack did considerable damage and resulted in a brief spike in oil prices. However, yet again the Trump administration responded with soft power sanctions, a step usually popular among Democrats and the left, unless of course implemented by a Republican named Trump. Indeed, some on the left called Trump soft.

On Dec. 27 Iran struck again, rocketing a joint U.S.-Iraqi air base and killing an Iraqi-American contractor. This attack finally got Iran what it theoretically wanted, a harsh U.S. response. Two days later, President Trump ordered airstrikes on Iranian supported militias in Iraq, killing 24 and wounding 50.

Iran didn’t care about the losses, and used the incident as a pretext to launch series of riots against the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Here Iran clearly hoped for one of two results. Either a Benghazi-like breach of the embassy grounds resulting in U.S. losses, or an American over-reaction that resulted in a massacre of the rioters. It got neither. Strong reinforcements and an effective but limited response by Marine security teams stifled the rioters without causing fatalities. Another restrained but successful response, which would usually win a president practically universal plaudits.

Frustrated again, Souleimani, the architect of Iran’s failed campaign of incitement, came to Baghdad on Jan. 3, evidently to plan another action. Souleimani’s brazen arrival in the city was itself a provocation, practically daring Trump—who he’d previously disparaged as a paper tiger—to take him on.  That was a big mistake.

Souleimani’s dispatch along with a local militia leader was carefully limited, proportional, within existing legislative authorization, and so entirely legal.  It was also strategically astute. Ostensibly it gave the Iranians what they wanted, an American escalation of the “crisis” but did so by robbing the Islamic State of the stratagem’s architect. It was like a team finally getting a turnover in a football game, only to see their quarterback go down permanently right after getting the ball.

Down their chief strategist, with reinforced U.S. forces ready to pounce on any Iranian miscalculation, the mullahs fell back onto the same playbook used by their anti-Israel proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad when hit similarly by the Jewish state. Fire a few rockets, declare themselves avenged, and call it a day.

That alone would have handed the U.S. a significant victory in the months’ long confrontation, but for Iran it continued to get worse.

A staged funeral for Souleimani caused a stampede killing 56 Iranian “mourners” and injuring over 200.

Then a few hours after Iran’s retaliatory rocket attack a nervous anti-aircraft missile crew, anticipating an American riposte, mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian commercial airliner over Tehran, killing 176 more people, including dozens of Iranian citizens. Not finished stumbling, the Iranian regime denied responsibility for the shootdown over the following days, until effectively forced to concede responsibility. This belated admission prompted a renewed rioting  in Tehran, not Baghdad, building upon an uprising earlier this year during which the Islamist regime killed hundreds.

In sum, it is hard to image a worse outcome for Iran, or a better one for the United States. The hysterical predictions of cataclysm and doom by Democrat politicians, internet “experts” and media talking heads actually applied only to the Islamic State.

The score by this accounting is U.S. 10 Iran 0. Had any other President but Trump managed it, especially a Democrat one, there’d practically be dancing in the streets. But as it is, the Democrats and their media helpmates, who not very convincingly barely disguised their hope for a U.S. disaster, have to digest the fact that virtually all their complaints proved unfounded. The U.S. came out of the confrontation the clear victor, while supposedly clever Iranian stratagems foundered completely.  
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