Wag the Dog 2020. Would Trump Go to War With Iran to Get Reelected?

Anything is possible with Trump who is becoming to behave like a wild beast soon to be collared and tossed into quarantine.

The guy will go down and take us with him into the deep hole of Dystopia.

Excerpted from The Nation -reprinted from http://www.tomdispatch.com 8.13.2020

The administration’s escalating aggression toward Iran could be leading to a full-blown war ahead of the November election.

Was Donald Trump’s January 3 drone assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani the first step in turning the simmering cold war between the United States and Iran into a hot war in the weeks before an American presidential election?

Consider it beyond irony if, this October, the latest election “surprise” were to take us back to the very origins of the term in the form of some kind of armed conflict that could only end terribly for everyone involved. It’s a formula for disaster and like so many other things, when it comes to Donald J. Trump, it can’t be ruled out.

October Surprise III 8.13.2020.jpg

Of course, there’s no way to know, but behind by double digits in most national polls and flanked by ultra-hawkish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump is a notoriously impetuous and erratic figure. In recent weeks, for instance, he didn’t hesitate to dispatch federal paramilitary forces to American cities run by Democratic mayors and his administration also seems to have launched a series of covert actions against Tehran that look increasingly overt and have Iran watchers concerned about whether an October surprise could be in the cards.

Much of that concern arises from the fact that, across Iran, things have been blowing up or catching fire in ways that have seemed both mysterious and threatening. Early last month, for instance, a suspicious explosion at an Iranian nuclear research facility at Natanz, which is also the site of its centrifuge production, briefly grabbed the headlines. Whether the site was severely damaged by a bomb smuggled into the building or some kind of airstrike remains unknown.

“A Middle Eastern intelligence official said Israel planted a bomb in a building where advanced centrifuges were being developed,” reported The New York Times. Similar fiery events have been plaguing the country for weeks. On June 26, for instance, there was “a huge explosion in the area of a major Iranian military and weapons development base east of Tehran.” On July 15, seven ships caught fire at an Iranian shipyard. Other mysterious fires and explosions have hit industrial facilities, a power plant, a missile production factory, a medical complex, a petrochemical plant, and other sites as well.

“Some officials say that a joint American-Israeli strategy is evolving—some might argue regressing—to a series of short-of-war clandestine strikes,” concluded another report in the Times.

Some of this sabotage has been conducted against the backdrop of a two-year-old “very aggressive” CIA action plan to engage in offensive cyber attacks against that country. As a Yahoo! News investigative report put it: “The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities, according to former US officials with direct knowledge of the matter… The finding has made it easier for the CIA to damage adversaries’ critical infrastructure, such as petrochemical plants.”

Meanwhile, on July 23, two US fighter jets buzzed an Iranian civilian airliner in Syrian airspace, causing its pilot to swerve and drop altitude suddenly, injuring a number of the plane’s passengers.

For many in Iran, the drone assassination of Soleimani—and the campaign of sabotage that followed—has amounted to a virtual declaration of war. The equivalent to the Iranian major general’s presidentially ordered murder, according to some analysts, would have been Iran assassinating Secretary of State Pompeo or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, although such analogies actually understate Soleimani’s stature in the Iranian firmament.

In its aftermath, Iran largely held its fire, its only response being a limited, telegraphed strike at a pair of American military bases in Iraq. If Soleimani’s murder was intended to draw Iran into a tit-for-tat military escalation in an election year, it failed. So perhaps the United States and Israel designed the drumbeat of attacks against critical Iranian targets this summer as escalating provocations meant to goad Iran into retaliating in ways that might provide an excuse for a far larger US response.

Over the past four decades, “October surprise” has evolved into a catch-all phrase meaning any unexpected action by a presidential campaign just before an election designed to give one of the candidates a surprise advantage. Ironically, its origins lay in Iran. In 1980, during the contest between President Jimmy Carter and former California governor Ronald Reagan, rumors surfaced that Carter might stage a raid to rescue scores of American diplomats then held captive in Tehran. (He didn’t.)