US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis has refuted claims that the US is preparing for war on Iran after US Ambassador to the UN, Nikkie Haley led a bizarre press conference in which she stated that Iran has armed Houthi fighters in Yemen and thus violating the terms of the JCPOA (aka Iran nuclear deal). Haley did not provide any evidence to substantiate her claims, claims which are logistically impossible given the Saudi led blockade of Yemen which predates the JCPOA by nearly four months.
As I wrote at the time
“Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, has given an extraordinary “press conference”, even by her habitually outrageous standards.
First all, it was hardly a “press conference” as Haley did not answer any of the questions posed to her. Instead, she merely assured journalist that she has evidence to back her up position, although it is not clear what this evidence might look like.
Haley’s position is that since the outbreak of the current crisis in Yemen, beginning in March of 2015, Iran has been supplying Yemen’s Ansar Allah Movement, more commonly known as the Houthis, with the missiles they have sporadically used to target Saudi Arabia and allegedly the UAE.
There is a fatal flaw in this line of thinking however. Saudi Arabia has, since the beginning of the conflict, controlled all air and sea traffic coming into Yemen, while monitoring the region with the latest US made technology.
Yemen has subsequently been surrounded by a Saudi Naval blockade, Saudi borders through which nothing can pass and Omani borders through which there is no evidence of anything passing and which in any case, border areas which do not belong to Houthi fighters, but instead have fluctuated between the Hadi government based in Aden, al-Qaeda terrorists and ISIS terrorists.
Not only has the Saudi blockade caused a man made famine which itself has resulted in a mass outbreak of the disease Cholera, but even the UN has found it difficult to convince the Saudis to allow basic medicine, bottled water and dried foods into the always poor and now starving nation.
But for Nikki Haley, who gave her press conference standing in front of what appeared to be a rusty missile casing–it all makes perfect sense. In Haley’s parallel universe, an aid ship with UN flags cannot bring bottles of water and jars of medical pills to Yemenis, but somehow Iranian ships bearing humongous missiles have easily passed through the Saudi blockade undetected.
Even a journalist at Haley’s “press conference” asked how the US can verify the provenance of the missiles and in particular when they were sent to Yemen. She had no answer apart from effectively saying ‘trust us–we know’.
The fact, as the Houthis themselves have always maintained, is that the missiles which they occasionally launch are taken from Yemeni military bases which Houthis have controlled for approximately two years. Video footage of the missile strikes is consistent with these statements.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has Tweeted the following photo, comparing Haley’s accusations against Iran to Colin Powell’s infamous accusations against Iraq, saying that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which he did not possess.https://twitter.com/JZarif/status/941375706226929665In reality, Haley’s statement is even more ludicrous as there is physically no way for Iran to transport missiles or anything else for that matter, to Yemen without being seen and almost certainly stopped by the Saudi blockade, a blockade which started in March of 2015, nearly four months before the JCPOA even came into effect.
This last point is crucial as Haley’s allegations rest on the fact that in delivering missiles to the Houthis, Iran is in violation of the terms of the JCPOA, a longstanding US allegation that has been rejected by the EU as a whole, as well as individual parties to the agreement: Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the United Nations.
Haley of course repeated what for most American neo-cons is a standard line that Iran sponsors terrorism and is “behaving badly” in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. If fighting groups like ISIS(Daesh) and al-Qaeda is bad behaviour, the mind simply boggles. The closet Iran is to terrorism is fighting terrorism on the field of battle and advising Iraqi and Syrian partners on how better to do such.
Nikki Haley has proved once again that her aptitude is low, her ethics are non existent and her intelligence is a void.
The fact that she is an Ambassador to the UN but acts increasingly like a hybrid of a Secretary of State combined with a Defense Secretary, is a deeply worrying prospect for all those concerned with global peace and stability”.
While James “Mad Dog” Mattis has not refuted Haley’s ridiculous claims, he did say that the US is not going to take military action against Iran.
Mattis further explained,
“It’s the reason Ambassador Haley was there and not one of our generals. This is a diplomatically-led effort to expose to the world what Iran is up to”.
While Haley continues to lead an irrational and dangerous charge against Iran, many cooler heads in the Pentagon are well away that such a mission would end in untold disaster for the US.
This is the primary reason why the US has decided to fight Iran via proxy conflicts against Iranian allies and partners, rather than engage in a direct war against Iranian forces on Iranian soil.