General says outcome ‘would be very horrific for all’
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(July 19, 2019) — There is constant talk of a US war with Iran, and constant escalations in rhetoric. But Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) sees the war as something nobody wants and that he doesn’t believe Iran, China, or Russia wants to see a war started.
Lt. Gen. Ashley has been pressed on the possible war several times, based around public narratives that such a war is only a matter of time. He says, however, that “the outcome would be very horrific for all” and everyone knows it’s best to avoid it.
That’s certainly in keeping with the official stance of President Trump, at least most of the time. While the president will occasionally promise destruction like none have ever seen in human history, in general he’s said the US doesn’t seek a war with Iran, and doesn’t want such a war.
If the DIA chief, the top intelligence official at the Pentagon, is right about his part of this, that Iran, China, and Russia don’t want war either, this would be a very encouraging sign, as this is clearly a war of choice for all involved, and if no one wants to choose to start it, presumably it won’t be started.
There is, of course, always the danger of blundering into a war through mistakes, and with a number of US hawks that are still hoping to see such a war, the risks are higher than normal. There remains hope, particularly with the Pentagon saying it’s not a war Iran wants, that cooler heads can ultimately prevail.
Iran Says Video Proves US Did Not Down its Drone
(July 19, 2019) — US claims from Thursday that the USS Boxer shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz are facing growing doubts on Friday, as Iranian state media has released a video which shows what they say is the putative drone leaving the area unharmed.
Iran had already said that the claim of a drone having being shot down was false, and a top military spokesman confirmed that all of Iran’s drones were accounted for, and not destroyed.
Iran’s since-released video shows a surveillance drone flying around near the USS Boxer, tracking it through the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday. The drone follows the ship through the entire trip through the Strait, and returns to base without being attacked at all.
Iranian Foreign Ministry officials even jokingly suggested that the explanation for all of this could be that the USS Boxer had shot and destroyed its own ship-board drone by mistake.
The USS Boxer isn’t usually shipped out with drones at any rate, and US officials didn’t address this. President Trump, however, said he has “no doubt” that the Iranian drone was shot down, despite the video clearly showing it not shot down.
Iran Releases Video It Says Proves US Did Not Destroy Drone
Iran’s state TV broadcasts video shortly after Donald Trump says there was ‘no doubt’ the US Navy downed the drone.
Iran’s state television on Friday broadcast a video, provided by the country’s Revolutionary Guard, showing aerial views of ships which it said refuted the US assertion.
The television station said a drone captured the footage and that timing notations indicated the pilotless aircraft was still filming after Washington said it had been downed.
The video came shortly after US President Donald Trump said there was “no doubt” the US Navy had brought down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday.
“No doubt about it, no. We shot it down,” Trump told reporters in the White House on Friday.
Trump said the US hopes “for their sake they don’t do anything foolish. If they do they will pay a price like nobody has ever paid a price.”
Earlier on Friday, a senior Trump administration official said Washington would destroy any drones that fly too close to its ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
“If they fly too close to our ships, they’ll continue to be shot down,” the official told reporters at a briefing.
Tehran categorically denied US claims that a drone was brought down, saying all its craft were accounted for and jesting that American forces may have destroyed their own aircraft by mistake.
Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, said the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division described the footage as “hard evidence”.
“The footage appears to show this drone in the Strait of Hormuz … they monitored [the ship] for three hours,” she said.
“We can see that they managed to get pretty close to the warship, and they said that at no point was there any confrontation between the drone and the USS Boxer … What happened after their surveillance mission was complete was that this drone returned to its base and there was no incident,” Jabbari added.
According to her, Iranian authorities saw the accusation as a “repeat of a type of behaviour towards Iran carried out by the US government”.
“The Revolutionary Guards say the Americans are continuously trying to get the Iranians to react to their provocation,” she said.
On Thursday, Trump accused Iran of “hostile actions” against vessels operating in international waters, saying the US reserves thIn response, Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister, dismissed the claim in a Twitter post.
“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] by mistake!” he wrote on Friday.
Tensions in the Gulf are high, with fears that the US and Iran could stumble into outright military conflict.
Washington has blamed Tehran for a series of attacks since mid-May on shipping around the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil artery. Tehran rejects the allegations.
In June, Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile. Iran said the drone was in its airspace, but Washington said it was in international skies.
At the time, Trump said he called off a retaliatory military attack on Iran at the last moment.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated since last year when Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Since then, the US has reinstated sanctions, saying it wants to renegotiate the accord and hold talks on Iran’s ballistic missiles programme and support for armed groups in the Middle East.
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