John Bolton has gotten away with a dangerous deception. The national security adviser’s announcement Sunday that the Pentagon has deployed air and naval forces to the Middle East, which he combined with a threat to Iran, points to a new maneuver to prepare the ground for an incident that could justify a retaliatory attack against Iran.
Bolton presented his threat and the deployments as a response to alleged intelligence about a possible Iranian attack on U.S. targets in the Middle East. But what has emerged indicates that the alleged intelligence does not actually reflect any dramatic new information or analysis from the US intelligence community. Instead, it has all the hallmarks of a highly political case concocted by Bolton.
Further underscoring the deceptive character of Bolton’s maneuver is evidence that senior Israeli national security officials played a key role in creating the alleged intelligence rationale for the case.
The new initiative follows an audacious ruse carried out last fall by Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, detailed in Truthdig in February, to cast the firing of a few mortar rounds in the vicinity of the US Embassy and a consulate in Iraq as evidence of an effort by Tehran to harm US diplomats. Bolton exploited that opportunity to press Pentagon officials to provide retaliatory military options, which they did, reluctantly.
Bolton and Pompeo thus established a policy that the Trump administration would hold Iran responsible for any incident involving forces supported by Iran that could be portrayed as an attack on either US personnel or US“interests.”
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