Tell Bob you'll refund his subscription cost and go away.

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Interesting. The Russian arbitration courts have come a long way in terms of competence and assertiveness since I wrote a law review article sharply critical of them while living over there in the mid-to-late '90s. Appears our judicial systems are moving along roughly-opposite trajectories, sorry to say.

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Hey Ray Hope you are well. We are doing fine over at the Discord site. Haven't seen you there for a while.

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Apr 25·edited Apr 25

Thanks - Life has gotten busy for me, and my old computer died and I’m still transitioning.

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It is possible to change the order of comments already, options are: new first, top first, chronological, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Even if it is broke, but it's a low priority take care of higher priorities first !!!

Shooting down cheap drones and cruise missiles with high dollar air to air missiles is a bad idea, not only are the missiles expensive, but the fighter plane that launches them is quite expensive to operate per hour, the risk of the planes being targeted is considerable.

I wonder if the "geniuses" in that certain five sided building have ever considered developing various modules that would fit in our cargo aircraft that would allow masses of drones, cruise missiles and even ballistic missiles to be air launched? Would be very useful IMO, fixed silo launched ICBM's are almost worthless.

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I'm sure others have already said this. Why doesn't the US address our problems? You know, lack of good blue-collar jobs, the border, crime, homelessness, etc.

I know, I know. They couldn't care less about us.

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The American peasantry will never be a priority of the treasonous Ukraine flag wavers in DC. Like you said, they don't care, at all.

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However you order the comments is fine with me.

Regarding threatening other countries with sanctions, isn't there an expression "he went to the well once too often"? How does the nation think it can bully the rest of the world? Who died and appointed us boss?

Maybe we get Rick Moranis to make a movie sequel titled, "Honey, I shrunk the country." Our stature sure has diminished.

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When using my phone, i have the option of choosing to see comments chronologically or new first.

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I don’t read other substack so it doesn’t bother me

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Great posting.

The Neocon pivot back to Ukraine makes sense since Russia’s presence in Syria is the obstacle they need to remove to isolate Hezbollah. Expecting long rage attacks on the Crimean fleet.

Realistically the Neocon’s only option is to get Turkey to invoke the Montreux Convention and block the straights if it is officially at war.

Of course the question is what sort of connivances are going to use achieve it. Russia didn’t fall for the Karabakh ploy.

Comments good as is.

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Re Reader Survey: keep doing what you are doing. There is no problem that needs fixing, as far as I can see. Fantastic analysis is what I look forward to when opening your newsletter.

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Here goes Blinken again, slouching towards Beijing to scold the Chinese for —- what??? sending military aid to the Russians? Uh, Tony, have you checked how the Ruskies are doing on the battlefield lately? And in the skies? I think Mercouris makes a good point, that these sanctions had been prepped already, that they’re just dressed up in the latest lame excuse for more of our “blowback” foreign policy…and to think, Tony, that it’s our very own dimwitted and dangerous policies that have driven Russia and China closer…

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Death by a thousand cuts. The neocons can be hit at so many points. If it weren't so tragic, it would be funny watching Netanyahu and his bunch of crazies squirm. He turns towards Iran and is stiffed, then he tries it on with Hezbollah and is blocked, so it's back to the poor old defenceless Gazans. He probably won't win there either.

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Can’t win for losing, as they say.

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“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

— Bertrand Russell, “The Triumph of Stupidity”

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And that since EVE in THE GARDEN OF EDEN .... just saying!

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I can't believe someone using Substack hasn't mastered the comment section. Most Substacks are set to newest first. I change to best rated to see what comments are receiving traction. I'll often start at the top and work down away to get a sense of the response, liking along the way if appropriate. Chronological is worthless. Some famous Stacks use it, like Astral Codex, but I think that is feature not a bug, they don't want to say some comments are better rated than others.

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Why don't you organize the content the way you want to read it? The option is there for you. In this substack best rated = Top First. Most of the regular visitors prefer newest first so we set our view accordingly. Once set you must manually change it if you change your preference. I have to think you know that Richard.

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The ‘Isfahan incident’: a nail in Israel’s coffin

Tel Aviv’s underwhelming military counter to Iran’s 13 April military strike has destroyed decades of Israel’s carefully cultivated deterrence posture.

Iran’s Operation True Promise strikes on 13 April have reopened the deep wounds Israel incurred during Hamas’ 7 October attack. While Operation Al-Aqsa Flood shook the occupation state’s security bubble at its core, a single night of Iranian rockets and drones left Israelis straggling to hold on to even a sliver of their famed deterrence posture.

As military spokesman for Hamas' Qassam Brigades Abu Obeida succinctly highlighted in his 23 April speech:

Iran’s response, in its size and nature, established new rules and confused the enemy’s calculations.

This is the region’s new status quo. And Israel’s mysterious ‘Isfahan attack’ has done nothing to shake Iran’s confidence. In short, the alleged Israeli counter has reaffirmed the regional view – militarily, at least – that Tehran has checkmated Tel Aviv and rewritten the rules of engagement.

After years of provocations, and for the first time in its history, Iran has launched a direct offensive against Israel, confidently claiming that it utilized only a fraction of its military capabilities – many of these “obsolete” missiles within its fast-evolving arsenal.

Iran targeted Israel’s key Nevatim and Ramon air bases precisely, despite the spectacular display of lights from intercepted decoy explosions that lit up the skies. Many, quick to judge, misinterpreted the massive salvo as a sign of a broader strategic offensive from the Unity of Fronts – the Resistance alliance that poses a multi-front dilemma for Tel Aviv – aimed at devastating Israel in one blow.

A slap in the face

In fact, Iran conducted the operation alone, which makes the seriousness of Iran’s “slap” all the more significant.

The night of the Iranian missile attack also demonstrated the limits of Iranian patience and Tehran’s strategic shift from caution to calculated aggression, necessitating the intervention of three western nuclear powers and the “Arab fig leaf,” Jordan, to counteract the assault.

The Iranians backed their military actions with public statements and shared images of their commanders orchestrating the operations. Conversely, Israel’s response to the events in Isfahan was ambiguous and poorly communicated, with only sporadic information leaking to the US and Israeli press in a feeble attempt to project resolve.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian mocked the Israeli response in an interview with NBC News, where he dismissed the Israeli drones as trivial, likening them to “toys that our children play with.”

Israel’s ‘ridiculous’ comeback

Israel’s military counter is now widely perceived as a dud, derided even within Israel itself by figures such as Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, who describes it as “ridiculous.”

Despite Tel Aviv’s formidable military arsenal, which includes undeclared nuclear weapons, and its historical posture as a reliable western ally in the region, the events of 13 April have exposed gaping vulnerabilities in its ability to respond to credible threats, especially from Iran.

This ineffectiveness was highlighted amidst the symbolism of Isfahan – home to Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility – where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long positioned himself as a stalwart against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, appeared uncharacteristically passive.

The Israeli PM’s lack of any tangible response was a departure from his usual hyperbole, painting a picture of Israel as unprepared and hesitant – retreating rather than confronting.

Furthermore, Iran’s nuclear program has paradoxically also emerged as a potent tool in Tehran’s strategic arsenal. The explicit warning from the Islamic Republic about possibly revising its nuclear doctrine in response to an escalated Israeli threat suggests a bold new stance, despite Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s fatwa (Islamic decree) against nuclear arms.

Is Israeli deterrence dead?

The Isfahan incident did little to bolster Israel’s deterrence posture, which has been eroding since Al-Aqsa Flood and further weakened by Hezbollah’s operations in the north and Iran’s True Promise. These events have deeply impacted the Israeli psyche, challenging the foundational sense of security that underpins the Zionist vision of a “secure Jewish state” established on the lands of Palestine.

Against this backdrop, the conventional rules of engagement that have long governed regional interactions are being re-evaluated. Iran’s bold moves – despite US and Israeli warnings – signal a recalibration of power dynamics, indicating a potentially transformative period in West Asian geopolitics.

The Israeli response, both present and future, must now consider the possibility of a united front from the Axis of Resistance if it chooses to escalate further. This adds a layer of complexity to any military planning against Iran, likely prompting Israel to revert to its characteristic approach of covert operations. These may involve sabotage or targeted assassinations attributed to local agents rather than direct military strikes.

Meanwhile, the US, amid its own internal political issues and upcoming elections in November, is likely to play a dual role. It will monitor its ally’s actions closely while trying to moderate the regional tensions to prevent any significant escalation that could destabilize its broader strategic interests.

A point of no return

Today, it is Iran – not the US, not Israel, and certainly not the Isfahan attack – which has restabilized the regional balance, even temporarily, pending the crystallization of the new rules of engagement.

Tel Aviv’s counterstrike tried hard to mitigate the possibility of any further Iranian retaliation – especially as Tehran’s next move would likely come without warning, involve Iran’s superior missiles, and potentially the mobilization of Iranian allies toward Israel's borders.

The Axis of Resistance was happy to allow their Iranian ally to take center stage on 13 April and exact revenge for Israel’s miscalculated 1 April bombing of Iran’s diplomatic mission in Damascus. Any further bold moves from Tel Aviv would ensure that the Axis would activate on every front to swarm Israel.

So, for the moment, Tel Aviv does not dare to compromise Iran’s security directly, instead turning their impotent rage toward vulnerable Rafah, where over a million Palestinian civilians are stranded without food, shelter, and water.

The Hebrew media is already spinning for all its worth, promoting Tel Aviv’s “gains” from demonstrating restraint against Iran – whether from last week’s UN Security Council veto of a Palestinian state or the new $26 billion aid package the US Congress just approved for Israel, or obtaining White House support for the occupation army’s Rafah invasion.

Dr Hussein al-Musawi, the spokesman for the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba, tells The Cradle that Israel has, in effect, received a blank check for bad behavior from Washington:

It is not surprising that the US supports and defends Israel, regardless of its violation of international norms, and this undoubtedly embarrasses the Iraqi government, which seeks to take a clear position on the US military presence in Iraq.

For these and many other reasons, Israeli leaders are now acutely aware that any overtly aggressive action will not go unnoticed in the current geopolitical climate. The region is embroiled in what could be described as a 'mini-international-regional war,' characterized by intermittent flare-ups and periods of relative calm.

True Promise, much like Al-Aqsa Flood before it, is poised to be recorded in history as a pivotal, perhaps even terminal, moment for the brief history of the Israeli occupation state, which now finds itself more isolated than ever and facing an increasingly uncertain future.

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Two points re your very thorough comment--which mirrors the view that Alastair Crooke holds, that many in the West are failing to appreciate the radical shift that we just witnessed.

1. "the foundational sense of security that underpins the Zionist vision of a “secure Jewish state” established on the lands of Palestine."

Quite a few years ago I told a well known Jewish internet personality that the State of Israel was just a really bad idea--bad for Jews in the long run. The response I got was that Jews needed a redoubt of last resort in case American Gentiles turned genocidal against Jews. The long run has arrived, and it's Zionism that brought it about. The idea of a Fortress Israel was always unrealistic but was buttressed by an irrational and hubristic belief that Jews could enforce their will by force indefinitely--over a subject population equal to their own and over a vast region. Now we're seeing in America something similar playing out--the notion that Zionists can tell the vast numbers of people who are just saying No to genocide: Shut up!


2. Re an Israeli pivot to Rafah, I have to wonder whether Hezbollah's actions today may have been a warning to Israel of what could happen if Israel attacks Rafah's refugee population. It may also have been a warning to the US about it's continuing actions in the region. The USG wanted the Iranian response to be 'one and done' but I would not count on that. The potential for major escalation is present.

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My substack phone app allows me to order the comments myself. Default is top, but can choose newest or oldest.

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