Photo Credit: Dominique A. Pineiro / US Dept. of Defense
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (next to former Defense Sec. Mattis) speaks with Indian officials in New Delhi, Sept. 6, 2018.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday announced he would use his upcoming talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and presumably later this week with India as well, to forge a “global coalition” against Iran, following the downing of a US drone a week ago.

Reportedly, the RQ-4 Global Hawk made by Northrop Grumman Corp cost more than the new F-35 stealth fighters: one Global Hawk unit costs roughly $123 million, while an F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter costs “only” $89 million.

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“We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo said his goal is to deny Iran “the resources to foment terror, to build out their nuclear weapon system, to build out their missile program.”

Meanwhile, according to the NY Times Monday, the US Cyber Command last week conducted cyber attacks against an Iranian intelligence unit affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The US believes this unit provided the data to help plan the attacks against four oil tankers off Iran’s shore in recent weeks. The cyber attack also targeted Iran’s missile launch systems.

The US intelligence and military have been ordered by the Trump administration to develop new attack options to deter Iran, stopping short of provoking a full-scale war in the gulf.

The NY Times also suggested on Monday that Secretary Pompeo has earned the spot nearest President Trump’s ear, despite the fact that the secretary’s hawkish inclinations are very different from Trump’s isolationist tendencies.

In response to all of the above, Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, the current head of an engineering firm controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who was deputy chief of staff of the army during the war with Iraq, on Sunday advised the US to “act responsibly” to spare the lives of its forces in the Middle East.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday said the US was the main cause of problems in the region. Speaking at a meeting with President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Gabriela Cuevas Barron in Tehran, Rouhani said, “The Iranian oil platforms, cargo ships and even passenger planes have sometimes in the past few years been attacked by the US warships and recently, their drone violated Iran’s airspace and the Iranian defense forces shot it down for ignoring several warnings.”

He described the US “interventionist military deployment” as being the root cause of all the problems in the region, and said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s unchanging approach entails decreasing tensions, preventing any clashes among the countries’ military forces and establishing peace and stability in the region and across the world.”

He really said that.

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