Is Mike Pompeo Preparing an October Suprise?

With less than seven weeks left until the U.S. presidential elections, the faction within the Trump administration aligned with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to be preparing the ground for an October Surprise — a confrontation with Iran that will be cast as both defensive and lawful. The first direct clash may take place as early as this coming Monday.

Pompeo tweeted on August 27 that the 30 day period to snapback United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran comes to an end on September 20, 2020. The tweet was bizarre on several grounds. First, the entire U.N. Security Council (with the notable exception of the Dominican Republic) had made clear that the U.S. did not have standing to initiate the snapback mechanism contained within the Iran nuclear deal since the U.S. no longer was a party to the agreement. Pompeo’s tweet completely disregards the verdict of the vast majority of the Council and pretends as if the 30-day snapback clock had begun.

Second, and perhaps more problematic, Pompeo appeared to signal that he intends to enforce the non-existent U.N. sanctions at “midnight GMT on September 20.” Enforcement would entail U.S. warships attacking and confiscating Iranian cargo ships in international waters — as well as non-Iranian vessels suspected of carrying Iranian goods. Pompeo will contend that these measures are not only lawful but also necessary to uphold the (again, non-existent) ruling of the U.N. Security Council.

The vast majority of the international community, as well as the other states in the U.N. Security Council, will forcefully reject the notion that the United States is acting on behalf of the Council and will regard U.S. conduct as unlawful acts of aggression.

But that won’t stop Pompeo. The U.S. has already seized four oil tankers, allegedly carrying Iranian gasoline from the Persian Gulf to Caracas. Julian Lee of Bloomberg News aptly called it “state-sponsored piracy.”

However, these ships were seized in the Atlantic Ocean and the Arabian Sea, in order to minimize the risk of a military clash. If the Trump administration starts targeting Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf or near the Strait of Hormuz, the risk of a confrontation with Iranian naval forces will not be insignificant. And even if the United States, at Pompeo’s direction, decides to stay clear of the waters near Iran, Tehran may still retaliate against U.S. ships or those of its Arab security partners in the Persian Gulf.

If or when Iran retaliates, Pompeo will get his October Surprise. Iran’s actions will be cast as an act of aggression that necessitates a firm and decisive response. (The Trump administration’s escalation that preceded the Iranian response was, after all, enforcing the U.N. Security Council’s decision, Pompeo will argue.)

Suddenly, less than six weeks before the crucial November elections, the United States will be in a new war. The timing could not be more convenient.

Of course, going to war is a risky political move. Though the public tends to rally around the sitting president initially, the effect can be short-lived if questions arise about the defensive nature of the fighting. The more Iran is seen as the aggressor, the more people will rally around Trump, and the more he will benefit electorally.

The conditioning of the American public that Iran is the aggressor that the U.S. needs to “fight back” against may already have begun. That may have been the intent of the bizarre leak about an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the U.S. ambassador to South Africa in retaliation for the Trump’s assassination of General Qassem Soleimani earlier this year.

Politico broke the news of this alleged plot, which U.S. intelligence reportedly had picked up. But the story was met with significant skepticism, mainly because of the Trump administration’s lack of credibility and the curious timing of the report. Indeed, though Iran has a history of assassinations on foreign soil, aspects of the story made little sense.

For instance, the idea that a largely unknown businesswoman-turned-ambassador would be the appropriate target to avenge Iran’s foremost general is unconvincing. That it would be conducted in South Africa, a country with warm relations with Iran and whose political support Iran needs, also seems unlikely.

But perhaps most importantly, the Trump administration’s own conduct raises the most serious red flags. First of all, the South African police announced the day after the Politico report that they had become aware of the alleged plot that same day, meaning, the Trump administration had received intelligence that its ambassador was the subject of an assassination plot, and instead of immediately notifying the South African police to ensure her safety and protection, Trump officials leaked the plot to the media.

Second, Trump tweeted about the story 24 hours after it broke, issuing a stern threat against Iran. But instead of referencing U.S. intelligence regarding the plot, he cited “press reports,” suggesting that he may have heard about the story through the media and not his intelligence briefings. If so, that may indicate that there was no intelligence, or perhaps more plausibly, the intelligence had not been vetted and was not considered reliable.

Reliable or not, leaking the alleged plot does secure headlines of pending Iranian aggression against the United States. Which conditions the American public for the need to “strike back” —and sets the stage for Pompeo’s October Surprise.

Source: Responsible Statecraft

  1. says

    This FAT LYING BASTARD is a REAL THREAT to every America. Rapture BOY lying Pompous like Epstein GUILTY Trump serve the interests of 911 MURDERING / Epstein RAPING BLACKMAILING / ISIS TERRORIST / USS LIBERTY MURDERING / Beruit NUKING / PARASITE SCUMBAG zioNUT IsraHELL. NOT US! Get it?

  2. thomas malthaus says
  3. cechas vodobenikov says

    amerikans have transformed their rotting empire into culture less plywood villages. Johan Galtung predicts that the US empire will collapse in less than 10 years

  4. L Garou says

    I wish these bums would address the real problem in America and that’s the Leftists and their racist, arsonist, murderous hordes of miscreants, cretins and goblins incubated in every single Democrat big city metropolis across the looted plain. The ripened fruits of LBJ’s (not so) Great Society.

    1. says

      It was LBJ who put this country under ISRAELI SERVITUDE! USS LIBERTY? And Trump continues that just as HOMOBAMA did.

      1. L Garou says
        1. says

          ???? Huh?

  5. nick1111 says

    Pompeo is a bloody war criminal and so is Trump

    1. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

      So are almost all democrats. I think YOU are a little ass hole BIG CORPORATE PARTY TROLL. FUCK YOU.


      1. says


        1. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

          ^Big Party Moron

          1. says

            ???? huh?

      2. Lamumba says

        We, the world, do not give a flying fluk about your internal politics. Republican or Democrat, you’re two sides of the same miserable and genocidal coin. The sooner you destroy yourself the more peaceful and a beautiful the world may become. Your ugliness casts a blight on this world.

        1. Saint Jimmy (Russian American) says

          How funny. You’re preaching to the wrong choir, ass hole.

  6. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

    The “largely unknown businesswoman-turned-ambassador” becomes apocryphal in this article.

  7. mijj says

    in this video Trump and Pompeo sing: I Love China. So a surprise may indeed be forthcoming ..
    (perhaps they ought to consider lowering their LSD dosage)

  8. Jihadi Colin says

    There is zero per cent chance that the Imperialist States of Amerikastan will take on Iran. Even interception of Iranian oil just grew harder as Russian media reports that Venezuela’s biggest supertanker now flies the Russian flag. Only such spineless slaves as the gibbering globetrotting genocidal Gujarati gangster government of Narendrabhai Damodardasbhai Modi in India are likely to go along with anything Pompom says.

    1. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

      Why should anyone go along with anything that Pompeo says after his admission that he is proud of being a liar?

  9. Séamus Ó Néill says

    The American “empire” is playing out its final days.One of these days the morons in charge of America will get the war they so desire, but the theatre will not be of their choosing.The war will be brought to the North American mainland and the braindead American populace will not know what hit them, cities will be devastated and the havoc they have wreaked worldwide will finally visit them…..and sympathy for their plight will be minimal, karma and all that !

    1. James Willy says

      The whole planet will rejoice IF this ever does happen. Aint holding my breath waiting. I just hope it happens like Putin said it will. Like you just said it will. Many here will certainly help any forces from China when they get here. Millions are already here waiting waiting to help destroy yankees. Hope it starts today. yankees need to be demolished.

      1. Séamus Ó Néill says

        Putin/Russia has already stated that even a cruise missile entering Russian airspace will be treated as a nuclear attack and the source of the attack will be targeted…If an American missile is fired from Poland say, both America and Poland will be targeted !

        1. Mary E says

          As they should be! Poland begged for years to ‘host’ the American military, in fact saying it will name that post fort trump! How juvenile that thought is. So, the US will get what it has been deserving of for decades…war on its own soil. Maybe that will be the final lesson to the war hawks and hegemonists of Washington.

        2. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

          How would Poland become America as the source of an attack?

          1. James Willy says

            Sounds like poland is an example. Could be any of the poodle countries that launch it. Unless gringo launches one from the homeland. Then maybe just the homeland would be hit. Hope it happens soon to the gringos.

          2. Séamus Ó Néill says

            Poland is begging America for missiles and troops. If a missile was to be launched from Polant heading for Russia, both countries are accountable and liable !

            1. disqus_3BrONUAJno says

              Poland should be getting its missiles from NATO and its troops from its own population. How would Russia be liable for anything that Poland or NATO might do?

        3. James Willy says

          Question is will they FINALLY retaliate and fire back? The track record is not good in this regard. All the Russians and Lybians and others these yankees have killed without ANY retaliation. So what is going to make this upcoming event any different? There still aint been any good bombings for mainland gringostan.

          1. Séamus Ó Néill says

            Both Russia and China are acutely aware of the need to avoid nuclear annihilation. The mentally retarded Zionists running the asylum (America and Israel) are consummed by some fairy tale of a very partisan “God” choosing a certain Satanic people as somehow “special” and in an armageddon bringing rapture for these “chosen” half-wits. War, if possible, must be avoided at all costs, or all of mankind perishes !

            1. thomas malthaus says

              The US tact is to secure other foreign government leaders and their legislatures before whatever passes for a monetary reset occurs.

              Some would term it the decades-long culmination of one-world government aspirations.

              Unless someone can provide documentation that Russia and China are joining that movement, I beg to disagree.

          2. Mary E says

            t will be different….very different! The world has had enough of the US posturing and invading and …economic warring.
            It is time to teach them a lesson they will not forget. It will be different!

            1. Séamus Ó Néill says

              That lesson, Mary, I believe will be the crushing of the dollar’s power and the ability of America to wage war. Russia and China are already a generation ahead militarily and light years ahead mentally. Decoupling the dollar from, both oil and financial reserve status will bring the bully to heel very quickly,… Israel, without its military backer will soon fade into oblivion.

            2. says

              Sadly they will try to take everybody else WITH THEM

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