2020-01-03 SANKOFA THE FASCIST HATER
Three days into 2020 and I truly didn't believe this year could be anymore lit than it began. For example, on the first I arrived home at 6AM, which to many wouldn't be a big deal given it being New Years day and all - except that I have brown parents. And so, to arrive home when the birds are awake is not only shocking but somewhat dabbling with the tenuous balance of brown-parent-girl-child-relations. While my parents are no more unreasonable than the standard brown parents - you could imagine my surprise at a giggly reception from my mother in her nightie asking if #AfropunkJoburg was all I hoped it to be. My point is - that was a brazy move on my part and yet nothing went up in smoke. I also saw Solange perform - with my own two eyes and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition of the black yeehaw agenda, as well as her finger guns. Again nothing went up in smoke...
Until this morning.
I woke up to Twitter jokes about WW3 - and whilst Twitter humour is precarious and somewhat deliciously ghastly at times, this even seemed like somewhat of a reach for the twittersphere... until I did some more reading.
Where there's smoke - there's fire and this is not the relaxing smoke of a well rolled jay, this is the alarmist smoke of none other than the former apprentice host Donald Trump. 45th President of the United States of America and reigning misogynist at large, Trump will be refereed to as... well himself for the remainder of this article.
Trump... has potentially incited the third world war with Iran. Now to be clear, it is no secret that the US economy and much of it's cultural rhetoric is founded in the perils of war and war-time discourse. While the rest of the world yearns for a time when America relaxed in splendid isolation, it has been a long time since their military arsenal has been inactive and the discourse surrounding in and out groups silent. To wake up to this news has been nothing but alarming to say the least. As an African, the precariousness of national sovereignty is not lost on me - given Africans general sensitivity towards imperialism and the unwanted negation of geographical boundaries (cc: colonization). It is for this reason, that it would be intellectually apathetic and lazy to negate the problematics of US-Middle Eastern relations simply because South Africa is no longer embroiled in a proxy position - well at least not in the overtly militant way anymore (cc: Apartheid). As a global citizen however, we should all be wide awake to the horrors of the potential fall-out of a third world war. As a rookie (and I mean rookie) philosopher, having just completed my course on critical theory/The Frankfurt school, I am - in every sense of the word - horrified. Proffessor Du Toit, my wonderful philosophy lecturer, made a point of quoting Adorno saying " the fully enlightened Earth radiates disaster triumphant".
Disaster is currently radiating triumphant in the geo-political sphere and with it the illumination of this impending darkness waning by the second.
So what, in the actual fuck, has happened in the last like... 48hrs?
Well... yesterday the pentagon announced that it had ordered air-strikes in Iraq 'aimed at the direction of the President'. Yes they actually said that - aimed at the direction of the President. You're not an idiot and so, I'm not going to labour the problematics of one country trying to kill the head of another country despite the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of said President's office, or the behaviour of it's administration. What is interesting, is that a nation prone to assuming a position of calpable deniability despite routine acts of air-strike aggression, has taken responsibility for admittedly trying to destablizise a foreign military regime. Moreover, this was done without congressional consultation, attainment of NATO backing, consultation with the UN ( I know lol, like that would've made a difference) or any real foresight really.
Okay, so they have openly claimed having attempted to assassinate a foreign, middle-eastern President - so things are, suffice to say, bad. Except it got worse, because reports began to confirm that the air-strike, whilst aimed at the President of Iran, killed someone even more important.
Enter Major. General. Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s paramilitary forces.Suleimani was the long-standing head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF). The importance of which is this: Iran's internal military powers are somewhat weakened and in an attempt to further their international interests the capital, Tehran, often works through malitia groups, proxies and terrorist cells. All of which, were previously led by Suleimani - which essentially imbued Suleimani with the powers to execute military and political exploits on the Iranian governments behalf. Exploits which happened in Iran, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Afghanistan. Co-incidentally, or not, none of these names can be dislocated from US malitia.
In April 2019, The Trump administration moved to designate the IRGC-QF as a terrorist group despite the group being a foreign-state actor and ultimately another nations military wing. However, as a matter of fact and not a matter of legitimization, the IRGC-QF has been in operation with fundamentalist pro-Palestinian groups such as the Islamic Jihad and Hamas (#FreePalestine). During combat between Pro-Iranian and US armed forces, IRGC-QF has killed approximately 200 Americans on Iranian soil. The death-toll of Iranian soilders is (thus far) unreported. It must also be noted that Iran holds a smaller millitary budget than Canada, despite being cited as a terrorist organization and posed no threat to the US (having never invaded them) - despite being surrounded by US military bases.
Having branded Suleimani as merely a terrorist is to operate with a mentality of negligence in an attempt to minimize the severity of the aggression displayed by this drone strike. Former Director of the CIA, David Petraeus, received the following text message (yeah I know even state-operated mercenaries use whatsapp, lol), reading:
The equivalent of this kind of military aggression can only be likened to the Vice-President of the United states being assassinated - and is likely to be responded to in the same vein by Iran. The IRGC-QF are responsible for some successful (and some not) terrorist attempts in Argentina, the US, Germany and India.
Iran's foreign minister, since the Pentagons bold declaration of responsibility of the air-strike and attempted assasination of the Iranian supreme leader, has since tweeted the following:
Interestingly, prior to election Trump tweeted the following:
and also this:
Subsequently, three days of mourning have been declared by Iranian's Supreme Leader, followed by retributive action.
SANKOFAS' TENTATIVE Analysis:
I am, despite the troublesome behaviour of the Trump administration thus far, completely shocked at the recklessness of the US administrations actions.
This is, undoubtedly, a provocation of war.
The US rhetoric surrounding war never ceases to amaze me - BRING HOME THE TROOPS... but ya'll sent them there? PROTECT DEMOCRACY? but ya'll are interfering in the democratic rights of others? PROTECT AMERICANS- a nation which has never been invaded? the painful ironies are endless - but what is more painful than the Republicans clownery is the backlash which this will cause. The magnitude of this kind of aggression is undeniably a brand of hostility which the world has not seen since the first and second world wars... and have now re-enacted, destroying an already fragile international and political relationship.
Political capital always comes at a high price, and the price which is to be payed currently are the lives of both American and Iraqi civilians and malitia. I say this, because I suspect that the reasoning for this bold provocation of war is three-fold:
- Trump would not have been re-elected. Assuming Americans have developed any kind of common sense since electing the islamaphobic, racist, sexist, bigoted orange Nick-Nack (read: Cheeto if you're not South African) of a president. Under this assumption, Trump would not have been re-elected - and this assumption holds true given Trump's pending impeachment. Historically speaking, Americans love nothing more than a war, both economically and culturally. Trump, would not be the first President to initiate a war to detract from their shocking polls and current track record. Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983. Both Bushes, Iraq. All whilst on the brink of losing an election or any political capital they had. As a nation, since this glorified jar of spray tan's election, America has further spiraled in international diplomacy and lost any of the little respect they had left. Initiating a war, is a genius political ploy if you're a genocidal, power hungry manic ruling over a nation which has not known peace since the 1920's - so in this sense Trump is in luck. The American cultural imaginary is largely comprised of polarizing narratives surrounding good and evil, cops and robbers, the heroes and the villains. In light of this, it is no surprise that Trump has been heralded as a hero, demonstrating fine American prowess in a bid to save the ever illusive democracy. Whilst most Iranian civilians disagree with the actions of their governments, the actions taken by the US are not warranted as legitimate as it interferes with sovereignty which secures the livelihood and international stability of all nations alike. Also let's be serious the US aren't an altruistic body desperately seeking the liberation of marginalized bodies oppressed by regimes ( see: Apartheid... see Apartheid-Palestine).
- Oil - because apparently the planet isn't fucked enough, we need to fight over fossil fuels, yay. This dearest followers, is America's typical tell and my-oh-my is this house of cards not about to come crumbling down. America loves only one thing more than war - and that's oil. Since the assassination (read: bombing of Baghdad International Airport), brent crude oil has jumped $3... convenient much? Take from this what you will - but it's not a cute look. What credibility do you have about this? Well none, so read https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/03/business/03reuters-global-oil.html if you doubt me.
- Nuclear Weapons. Since the Obama administration, the US has been involved in launching air-strikes against Iran in order to try deter the country from building their nuclear stations... for which they have now been given more impetus to complete than ever. Fear now exists that the building of the power plants will not only be completed with fevour but used in a hot war more terrifying than anything we have ever seen. Bio-chemical warfare on any scale reads a gruesome, reckless and a desperate abandonment of any post-humanist thought ever (see: Agent Orange - Vietnam).
Unlike the American cowboys- who remain unaided by the ever delightful NATO allies (thus far) and seem to be scrambling to achieve ally-ship for a seemingly impending war - Iran remains surrounded by allies. Interestingly enough, Trump's political ploy to rally domestic backing (because soilder's have to come from somewhere) and target a nation which has been rocked by some of it's most fearsome civilian protests ever - may just backfire. Despite being riddled by political unrest, nothing makes a nation unite like a common enemy - especially an enemy who just bombed their equivalent of a vice president. However, it seems unlikely that Iran would respond with a close-combat war as they are likely to loose which makes the response unpredictable. There are whispers of imminent cyber attacks or potentially a terrorist attack (read: counter-attack) - however, it is precisely the lack of intel gathering which has made the Trump administration look desperately unprepared and some might even say fickle. Nothing breeds mistakes quite like uncretainty, and having never attacked another nations VP prior to this... things seem quite uncertain for the Americans at present.
President Supreme of Iran has responded saying the following:
Ironically, prior to the politically well-timed attack of the Trump Administration, the giant cheeto said the following : “We’re getting out. Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand. The job of our military is not to police the world,” this was said in reference to his prior sentiment towards retracting military forces in the middle east.
A lack of preparation which is becoming glaringly apparent as US forces remain deployed in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan... all of which serve as potential allies for Iran. Troops which remain vulnerable to ISIS as well as other anti-American cells remain deployed in lands which are now potentially likely to receive Iranian Aid or vice versa. Moreover, the decision to potentially invade Iran reads as... well foolish. Iran is a difficult terrain to navigate not only due to it's sheer size but more-so due to it's sizes unresponsiveness towards foreign navigation. "As Stratfor, a private intelligence firm, has explained, 'Iran is a fortress. Surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the ocean, with a wasteland at its center, Iran is extremely difficult to conquer'.”If you have seen any American war movie ever, you'll know how much America loves tanks - but tanks are rendered useless in largely mountainous terrain. Terrain which is incredibly difficult to navigate as foreigners- a lesson you'd think America would've heeded in their highly embarrassing defeat in Vietnam... but you'd have thought wrong. Tanks don't work in landscapes with a vast amount of mountain ranges- America could just ask Russia (see: Russian- Afghanistani invasion) except that they hate each other.
Which is another thing you'd think America would take into consideration... Russia and Iran are allies. This is not to say that Russia would be easily plummeted into war, as even Putin seems to know that this act of aggression is a potential disaster. On a censored, "direct line" (read: imposed, censored broadcast) Putin said the following "“It would be a catastrophe, for the region at the very minimum, because it will lead to an increase of violence, and potential increase in refugees from the region...but also, for those who would attempt it, it could have possibly sad consequences.” Now you know everything is kind of fucked when Putin starts making sense.
So let us briefly halt the idea that Russia would partake in the war...
Assuming that even Americans aren't stupid enough to use a nuclear weapon and they have to leave their tanks at home - now what?
Submarines? Well that's a bust given the degree of precision needed for an amphibious attack- on a foreign land. See, Iran has been preparing for... well ever for the potential of an amphibious attack. In 2012, the US's center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments conducted a study on how Iran would use the coast-line in an A2/AD (access to/access-denied) stratergy and found the following :
"“Iran… is developing an asymmetric strategy to counter U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf. This strategy may blend irregular tactics and improvised weapons with technologically advanced capabilities to deny or limit the U.S. military’s access to close-in bases and restrict its freedom of maneuver through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s ‘hybrid’ A2/AD strategy could exploit the geographic and political features of the Persian Gulf region to reduce the effectiveness of U.S. military operations. Such an approach may not, in itself, be a war-winning strategy for Iran. Significantly raising the costs or extending the timelines of a U.S. military intervention may, however, create a window of opportunity for Iran to conduct acts of aggression or coercion.”
This, on top of the fact that geographically speaking all of their major cities are located far north of the coastline. Have I mentioned that Iran is the 17th largest country in the world? So how far North would that be? How much would the Army need to spend?
Land Invasion? Well where would they come from? A neighbouring country... maybe where they already have troops located in Afghanistan? unless of course that reads as a potential threat to Russian soverginty... Three potential allies against one foreign enemy - fun. But even if that wasn't the case, the surrounding Afghan border which the US military would hope to cross in order to bolster their presence is covered by two desert like regions : Dasht-e Lut and Dasht-e Kavir. The later described by Straford as the following “The Dasht-e Kavir consists of a layer of salt covering thick mud, and it is easy to break through the salt layer and drown in the mud. It is one of the most miserable places on earth". Even if America were to make it this far... there would be no possibility of utilizing heavily armoured machinery. So that's a bust.
Okay, I've got it - Drones. Americans LOVE drones- probably more than tanks... Except their love for drones may be outmatched by experience. Iran was the second country to utilize drone-warefare after its developers in Israel. Which means Iran used drones for an entire decade longer than the US. Now, I don't know much about drones - but what I do know is that doesn't bode well for the US. Especially when Iran was the first nation to begin to use drones offensively, for anything more than spying. Meaning, they have more experience in combat with drones than Americans.
Since we're in the airspace what about planes? Except that planes can be shot out the sky... by submarines.
Prior war history?
Welp, Suddam Hussein couldn't defeat the Iranians in a decade long war whilst receiving backing from the French and the Soviets. A defeat achieved whilst being backed by... well no one.
Let me say it again for the people at the back - UNPREPARED.
So three days into 2020 and ummm...
That aged well.
So, before the world implodes into another blood bath caused by a power-hungry, reckless, sadochistic white man... I'm just going to tag some links to jokes about this on Twitter below because there's really nothing else to do but laugh at the sheer lunacy of it all. (p.s. I am in no way minimizing the gravity of the potential harm which will, in all likelihood, be brought upon undeserving Iranian citizens)
And that's what you missed on Glee.
Bro if you're gonna start world war 3 at least get a higher-res jpeg you fucking fascist. https://t.co/XxZBxHA98F
— Harley? (@_HarleyEdwards) January 3, 2020
— mike (@mchrs_96) January 3, 2020
— 6 TIMES (@UefaBlicence89) January 3, 2020
— EscaRAW (@kamuikilla15) January 3, 2020
Me seeing my hommie on the battlefield during World War 3 pic.twitter.com/dAIsf1Glzp
— Mr Wil (@Engr_Wil) January 3, 2020
Me telling my grand kids what i did in world war 3 pic.twitter.com/Bx8fsKBaOB
— AM9 (@Dr3w_CP) January 3, 2020
“you’ve been draf....” pic.twitter.com/AEMwYvzQkN
— Hanif (@ChiefHanif) January 3, 2020