The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has stated 52 Iranian sites will be hit if Iran strikes any American or American assets while Iran’s parliament opened to chantings of “death to America.”
Two British navy ships are headed to the region. The five eyes will probably stand as one, but the British foreign secretary has urged Iran to get to the table.
There’s a diplomatic route out of this, he said, the door is opened to Iran through the Macron initiative. Back in September, NYT reported:
“The telephone line had been secretly set up. President Trump waited on the other end. All President Hassan Rouhani of Iran had to do was come out of his hotel suite and walk into a secure room where Mr. Trump’s voice would be piped in via speaker.
Mr. Rouhani and his aides were blindsided by the offer, presented to them by President Emmanuel Macron of France…
In the end, Mr. Rouhani refused even to come out of his room. Mr. Macron left empty-handed and Mr. Trump was left hanging.”
There will be a debate between hardliners and moderates in Iran, the foreign secretary said. Meaning it’s Iran’s choice: peace or war.
British media is reporting Iran has raised the flag of war. “A rocket has fallen near the US embassy in Iraq hours after a funeral for a top Iranian general killed in a US airstrike was held in the country,” says the Evening Standard, adding:
“Another two Katyusha rockets hit Iraq’s Balad air base which houses US forces.”
The mood was sombre on Andrew Marr’s political show this morning where the most senior correspondents from CNN and BBC led the papers review.
The foreign secretary is to meet the US counterpart on Thursday. Macron is in diplomatic frenzy. Russia seems silent.
Al-Shabab attacked a military base used by U.S. troops in Kenya early Sunday. That’s one of a few attacks where no westerners were harmed.
Yet it does raise the question whether Iran does actually intend to retaliate, instead of that being just rhetoric.
If they do, it is difficult to see their calculation as America is edging. They obviously presumably know they can’t win a war, yet perhaps they think they have no choice even though the door is open for talks.
Trump himself said Iran has never won a war – presumably referring to the clash between Persia and ancient Greece – but has never lost a negotiation, he said, which obviously is an invitation to get to the table.
Yet Iran maybe thinks a war is inevitable, or in the tense situation there’s some accidental miscalculation. What happens in that case is a very big question.
A senior British figure told The Times : “We have a plan A and a plan B and a ‘break the glass’ plan if it all kicks off.”
“Our forces in the region have been told to reorientate towards force protection,” he said.
What plan A is or plan B or what break the glass means, is not clear. Learning from Iraq, however, presumably they’d quick strike take the government out, and then leave the rest intact.
The Iranian government shot at its own people recently. It increased its religious police after some defiance by women in regards to wearing the hijab. It has seen its money crash in value. Its allies in Lebanon have seen a protest calling for non-secterian democracy. And overall, the economy is doing pretty badly.
So a downfall of the theocracy perhaps would be welcomed by many Iranians within the country and outside of it.
That would bring peace to Yemen perhaps, and the region perhaps would go back to just a normal area instead of a constant war zone.
The American public obviously does not want war and is naturally divided on whether there should be one or not, but if there is one, you’d think they’d stand as one.
Presuming an orderly war, a bit like the bombing of Yugoslavia, this could turn a bit different from Iraq.
Different because arguably it was Iran that turned Iraq into a war zone of sorts, fueling sectarianism and the like.
Russia could play the same role in Iran if it comes to war, but arguably they don’t have as much interest in Iran as Iran did in Iraq or as Russia did in Syria.
So Russia might just stay out of it, aware perhaps of their own problems that were previously fueled by that region, like in Chechnya.
Meaning this could be the war to end wars, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking. Perhaps instead America has learned nothing. Maybe Russia chooses to be stupid. Maybe the Iranians are not too unhappy with the theocracy. And ultimately, wars are by nature unpredictable.
Seeing one of the most dangerous moment in Iranian history, peace could be in two ways. The people rise to take down the theocracy, or the moderates in the theocracy win the debate and the Iranian president picks up that phone.
The question then is what does Trump want Iran to do or should want. Presumably stopping rebel funding in Yemen. Ending interference in Iraq. Ending alleged funding of mercenaries, and basically stop hostilities.
The problem is they dislike America so much that they chant in parliament all sorts of things. Yet they might also think perhaps they’ve gone too far, in striking oil fields within Saudi Arabia according to US, for example, or in orchestrating the storming of the US embassy, again according to US with Iran denying both.
So they might back down, they might pick the phone and get to the table.
Yet it isn’t too clear what exactly is going on or who wants war and who wants peace, with escalations between Iran and US ratcheting up for months to the point now war has never been closer.
Bitcoin has turned upwards as the Middle East braces for a potential war which might be a quick one or might descend into a prolonged proxy war.
In both cases, financially it will be costly and that will probably be paid by the regressive taxation of money printing.
Two trillion, or about 10% of the GDP, appears roughly right for how much it might cost. Meaning the dollar and the pound as well as perhaps some other regional money, might devalue by 10%.
As a hard money, bitcoin should by itself reflect this potential devaluation, in addition to actual rising demand to escape the potential significant inflation of regional money.
The rich there especially, but also the middle class, might perhaps think they need to prepare to move quickly if needed.
In that case, bitcoin is obviously an easy way to transport funds as a private key can even be memorized or the seed can be hidden in plain sight.
That obviously goes for Iran, but also more widely depending on whether tensions reach the point of war and, in that case, depending on how it develops.
Pricing that in, isn’t easy, but trading volumes are seemingly rising so the $10k line might perhaps be on the cards.