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February 29, 2024





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The fact that even the mention that U.S. military is exploring a plan to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran intensify was for the most part deliberate. This information of course, was leaked for a number of reasons.

This week’s sudden revelation that the Pentagon was all of a sudden working on a plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East produced a reaction from those in the media and others who were caught off guard. But what is really at play and what is actually going on? At the same time, let’s understand what is at stake and what has been previously been ongoing with regard to Iran and the region by the Trump administration. Also understand once again, as I have previous discussed, the Trump Doctrine and national security strategy.

Primary is that President Trump holds decisions and intentions close to the vest. At the same time he is a master of the message, deception and what he is thinking. At the same time he both speaks his mind and is unfiltered.

So let’s look at what is playing out in the last 2-3 days —

1. First, it’s both an intended and a follow-up step of the overall Strategic Influence; PSYOP message and Deception to again send a clear warning to Iran as part of the recently received critical intelligence of a potential pending Iranian threat to U.S. forces in the region, as well address the sabotage of a number of tankers in the Gulf. As a result we saw the announcement of the USS Abraham Lincoln, the Patriot missile battery, and four B-52 deployments — all part of the initial warning. This was all briefed to POTUS last week, and goes without saying, since it is the President who authorizes such deployments.

2. At the same time, from the standpoint of the mainstream media, the NYTs is always ready and ever willing, as part of ‘its’ strategy; get the leaked story out with the intent to blame the neo-cons in the administration for planning a war. Again obvious reason – so that President Trump gets the blame for wanting to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East to start a conflict. So we have that narrative to contend with and which affects Americans and other’s thinking and mindset.

As a note, with regard to the referenced 120,000 troops — understand that a large contingent of 82nd Airborne troops departed Ft. Bragg, NC in mid-April for already pre-determined deployments around the world for training, exercises, and scheduled rotational deployments.

As always, in opposition to anything the President Trump and his administration does, the NYT, once again, is suddenly trying rile-up people and cause those on the fence, the NeverTrumpers, and the weak-kneed ‘ready-to-be Trump walkaways — who are always looking for a justifiable reason to dump Trump to get spun up. This time, by getting them to believe Trump is a warmonger, and that John Bolton, as well as the Washington neocons inside and outside of government have taken control of the White House, is certainly one of them. Unfortunately, most, along with their followers don’t understand the real role of the National Security Advisor, the NSC’s role and responsibilities, nor that of the NSC Principles Committee — but to them, it doesn’t matter. I know there are heads spinning and exploding and knee-jerking right now…over the headlines…my recommendation, first calm down. What needs to be understood that the NSC authority does not ride with the National Security Advisor, but with “the Principles” (Secretaries of Defense, State, National Intelligence, Treasury, Energy, the Chairman) and ultimately the POTUS – who gets the final say.

Again, the whole plan and strategy was briefed to the President last week…it’s very likely and quite obvious this was a controlled leak to ensure the intended strategic message was sent to Iran and the region, and the world for that matter.

Understand National Security includes and its first order of business is “Deterrence”…make the enemy think twice that there’s no option but to back down.

Bottom line; Iran gets the warning, message delivered; that “we’re planning”, we’re serious, don’t screw with us … Deterrence is the desired ‘mission accomplished…’

Another concern and consideration that must be addressed are the effects and implications of strong U.S. strategic deterrence. As I call ‘second, third, and fourth order effects’ on the regime in Tehran. 

Understand, while the Trump administration is in no way interested in direct involvement of regime change or going through with any such operations. Nevertheless, the Iranian regime needs to come down⏤it must go. The people of Iran, those who are tired of the dictatorial ways of the Ayatollahs are prone to revolt heard this loud and clear. I would not be surprised at all if there were more demonstrations soon.

Economically and financially, Iran cannot afford to fund a war. The regime is already on the ropes financially. Further, a war would cause mass misery on the population. And they already know the cause and source of their misery originates from the theocrats in Tehran.

So in the likelihood that demonstrations and protests start, the Iranian military will be forced to protect the regime from angry Iranians. Iran’s leaders are in a bad situation. And of course, it’s of their own making. Their never ending effort to develop and obtain nuclear weapons capability over rules and surpasses any effort to provide the necessary governmental services

Further, should there an opportunity for the population to rise up as we witnessed 10-years ago, but subsequently fizzed much to the dismay and detriment to the people of Iran – costly too with numerous Iranians jailed, beaten down and murdered by hardline government forces. Reason, when the opportunity to come to the aid and support of those opposing the tyranny of the radical regime, the Obama administration abandoned and ignored the 2009 uprising, by design.

Unsaid rational, in order to strengthen the Tehran regimes legitimacy, while fostering regime change in pro-U.S. countries.

That said, while we are not going to war with Iran, imagine what a Middle East would look like without radical Iranian Theocrats ruling in Tehran. To understand that, we’d have to go back to the early 70’s when most of the region was relatively calm. The only conflict having been that between the Arab Nationalist nations (Egypt, Jordan, Syria) had tried multiple times prior over run Israel from 1948-73. With the exception of the PLO which formed in 1964, there was no Hamas (1987), Hezbollah (1985), or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (1980).

But how does this happen? 

Expansion and acceleration of protests in Iran constitutes a crisis and an opportunity to use the resentment of the people as leverage against Tehran. This ongoing crisis is an opportunity to stand on the side of the Iranian people as they seek to change their regime. People on the outside can make their revolution happen, and they need political-technological support. Consider these three ways for Iranians to effect peaceful regime change:

First, demonstrations began in December 2017 and peaked during January. They were followed by a rising tide of protests, which were largely unreported. They resemble the 1979 in size and scope and it was those protests that which led to the Islamic Revolution. Protests gradually rise, and hence are overlooked.

Second, current demonstrations indicate that Iranian protesters have turned the tide against Tehran. In Every War Must End, Fred Ikle explains that wars end because one side emerges victoriously over the other, or both sides are exhausted from fighting.

Third, dictatorships fall: either all appear successful over others or are tired of struggling. Iranians hold Iran in contempt.

Rulers pay attention to a coalition of oppositionists, e.g., National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), about twice as much as to all other dissidents combined. Thus, I have compiled some policy recommendations.

So consider this, and I’m not advocating regime change, certainly not orchestrated by the U.S. or a U.S.-back coalition. But realize that Iran has the potential to become the “Switzerland” of the mid-East. It has an industrial base supported by a university system that would be able to become a viable partner in the global supply chain. Likewise, Tehran in particular has the potential for being a cultural center for arts and entertainment, as well as s tourism haven that northwest part of the region. And the Iranian countryside has a wealth of ancient towns and archeological sites that would make tourist exploration one the best experiences in the world. Combine that with a friendly and open people, and Iran would be a rich gem in the Middle East. The problem is the government and its crushing repression of the Iranian people.

So what does the ‘way forward’ look like?

First, it’s critical to find a way to facilitate regime change by conducted internally by Iranians. This means massive effort by the population exerting maximum pressure on the regime in Tehran. Additionally, by implementing and providing the Iranian people with secure access to the Internet, and reaching out to them and the NCRI.

Despite what we are not seeing in the international media, particularly the mainstream media, since 2018, protests are mounting, and Tehran is paying increased attention to its alternative, NCRI, which plays a major role in facilitating and organizing protesters through its main member organization inside Iran. The effort is to now reach out to as many Iranian dissidents as possible.

Secondly, be aware the concern by the regime is mounting and the impact of the opposition is having an impact. So much so that a Tehran-directed terror plot against the 2018 Grand gathering in Paris is evidence of the regime’s fear of NCRI, as it sees this coalition as the viable alternative to its rule.

Further, Tehran has also attempted a similar retribution and even a bombing plot over the past year to target some three thousand members of the dissidents in Albania when they were celebrating the Iranian new year – Nowruz. Fortunately, that plot was foiled by the Albanian government when they arrested two Iranian agents tied to a planned truck bomb of the event.

Understand the impact and the effect this is having — why go to the length to target this movement, if it is not having an impact in light of high political costs? Similarly, understand this, why would the regime target the NCRI in Europe when Tehran needs it most? Why would Iran risk, getting its “diplomats” caught with evidence of transferring explosives?

Tehran worries about demonstrators backed by the NCRI, and uses violence against them. But they confront the regime, with peaceful protests, without such fears.

Therefore, the new U.S. policy on Iran declared in twelve points by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May 2018 must be implemented for inclusion in a new nuclear treaty with Iran. Note: the conditions, listed by Pompeo were made during a speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, will require Iran, in his words, to implement and carry out the following:

Declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.

Stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing, including closing its heavy water reactor.

Provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.

End its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.

Release all U.S. citizens as well as citizens of U.S. partners and allies.

End support to Middle East “terrorist” groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization and reintegration of Shia militias.

End its military support for the pro-Iranian Houthi rebels and work towards a peaceful, political settlement in Yemen.

Withdraw all forces under Iran’s command throughout the entirety of Syria.

End support for the Taliban and other “terrorists” in Afghanistan and the region and cease harboring senior al-Qaeda leaders.

End the Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps-linked Quds Force’s support for “terrorists” and “militant” partners around the world.

End its threatening behavior against its neighbors, many of whom are U.S. allies, including its threats to destroy Israel and its firing of missiles at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and threats to international shipping and destructive cyberattacks.

Finally, Tehran has already rejected President Trump’s offer for meeting as it knows this is the first step to Iran’s change of behavior. This is the time for President of the United States to stand with oppositionists and build a stronger relationship with them. Similarly, the anti-regime Iranians need help to finish the job, which includes escalating, expanding, and the ability and resources for continuous protests that call for and demand a “Free Iran.”

  • Col. Jim Waurishuk

    Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force and international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism. Waurishuk is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and served as Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Hillsborough County (FL) Republican Executive Committee and Party and serves on the Executive Board of the Republican Party of Florida.


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