Barry Webb, retired NSA Arabist, author and senior fellow at AIR on Iran today

For the entire transcript of this interview, please continue reading

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Barry Webb former Arabist and translator

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for the NSA thank you very much for this

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week’s edition of news as as extracted

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from Arabic media and I think the big

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subject right now this several really

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but I think the one that’s most urgent

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might be Iran since it does look like

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something’s coming up there’s a lot of

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reports of of ships which have

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mysterious giant holes cut in the halls

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rumor has it that Iran’s claiming

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responsibility for that I’m gonna let

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you take it away and tell us what we

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need to know or what we’re not otherwise

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being told about this current situation

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with Iran in the United States okay Joe

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orient the audience first of all over

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the weekend there were four oil tankers

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that were less than the attacked off the

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coast of Fujairah which is one of the

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main point point palm ports for the UAE

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United Arab Republic and its port

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through which a good chunk of the

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world’s oil you know it is gathered and

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then is transferred to these oil tankers

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and noticing on the math is just it’s

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just barely outside of the Strait of

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Hormuz now the Strait of Hormuz is very

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important because if you look at it and

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looking at the map and look at the

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various items there and how narrow it is

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theoretically Iran could shut off all

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transport to and from the other Gulf

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states you know Bahrain and and these

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are part of Saudi Arabia UAE etc Kuwait

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by sinking two chips two or three ships

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in the Strait of Hormuz yeah and nobody

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can get through so that’s been a big

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fear by everybody that you know if there

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is a war or and to do that and of course

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Iran has threatened to do that now when

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this happened off the coast of Ruggiero

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which is not really in the Strait of

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Hormuz but close to it it kind of got

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everybody all riled up

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based on the the pics that I’ve seen on

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ya the Arabic TV channels only one ship

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was noticeably damaged that wasn’t our

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Weejun ship so basically you have four

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ships that were targeted but there were

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no casualties and none of the ships were

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sunk there wasn’t even a drop of oil

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that leaked out so is to me a look like

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a very amateurish job and immediately if

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it happened the UAE which is online to

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Saudi Arabia and very much in the camp

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of enemy you versus versus Iran the UAE

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immediately begins saying that the our

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demand that the international community

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had to put a stop to this in order to

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make the sea passage is safe and away

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and that immediately made me think of

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the Tonkin Gulf incident the Protestant

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of Vietnam War and remember the main

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which brought us into the

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spanish-american war and so my first

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impression was that this was not the

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state actor that did this as this job is

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so half-assed amateurish that it was

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either a lone wolf acting on behalf of

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Isis or it was the Houthi group which is

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you know based in Yemen and fighting

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against the Saudis and the Emiratis

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and I kind of held that view until this

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morning I saw some reports for Iran had

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the headlines screamed that Iran had

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claimed this attacked but as a turn out

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that’s not really true what happened was

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that a news newspaper a news site

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Iranian news site which is very closely

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related to the Iranian Republican Guards

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argc which we have just declared as a

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terrorist organization it was that

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organization at that the paper that new

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site that had made the call

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that Iran had done it and they

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exaggerated the damage they said the

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porch area was all in flames which

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wasn’t and they also claimed the port of

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Yanbu which is in northwest Saudi Arabia

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as having been also hit and you haven’t

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gone up in flames which was not true

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what did happen there is that the Saudis

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are building out a huge pipeline from

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their Eastern oil fields to this port on

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the west coast in Yanbu as insurance in

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the case of you know the Iranian Tara

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closing out the Straits of Hormuz and we

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still have a way to get oil out to the

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world and the Houthis had actually

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managed to to hit that pipeline with a

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drone and I’m not sure of the damage yet

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the Saudis closed down the pipeline and

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closed down additional we have

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construction until they investigate to

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see what the damage was so not sure how

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much damage was done there but it

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certainly didn’t yeah you know and yeah

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cause the whole city of the M booty

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would go up into flames so you have this

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this new site making these exaggerated

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claims that turned out to be not true

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and just recently a few hours ago the

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Iranian Republic I mean certainly the

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Iranian government came up publicly and

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said that we didn’t do it okay so I

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think this is to deflate some of the war

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a more wondering that’s been going on

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warfare that’s been going on throughout

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the Middle East and over here of course

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in the States but of course Trump has

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this aircraft carrier on the way is that

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I supposed to started there he’s already

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say any sense and b-2 bombers over there

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now I don’t know why sent the b-2

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bombers because they can they can lift

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off from wom and bomb Iran’s is easy

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that yes you know by placing them on

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tatra they become a potential target

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from rainy missiles but

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way to look at some of the other factors

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some of the geopolitical factors that

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might be you know behind this escalation

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thing we look at our brand I’ve recently

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come across a report saying that mosque

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attendance in Iran is only is only 3%

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now in other words the Iranians are so

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sick and tired of this fundamentalist

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Islamist regime that they’re voting with

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their feet staying away from the mosque

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but even more than that is it they’re no

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longer newborn children that you look at

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the dish their names that are being

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giving them given out to newborn

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children they’re no longer giving their

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kids Islamic names they’re going back

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into ancient Persian pre-islamic person

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history is that fantastic news yes so

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now in terms of around ability or desire

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to wage war there’s two schools of

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thought one is that they would like

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confrontation with the US as a last-gasp

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attempt to unite the public behind them

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but the other side of the coin is that

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Iran is so fractured and there’s so

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little public support for the regime

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that you know something like that could

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actually could bring them down so it’s

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risky for them put it that way so in

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essence if I if I’m understanding you’re

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saying that the damage done to these

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ships was deliberate but it was by a

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Muslim Brotherhood front group er well I

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think probably the Houthis who are you

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know basically radient proxy though yes

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there are Iranian practicing they were

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probably a branding equipment but the

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Chavez so amateurish because it didn’t

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do any serious damage other than they

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did you know poke poke a hole that one

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shit anybody who’d like to know what the

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Houthi are about Google the Houthi motto

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and have a

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on Wikipedia it is a pretty blood

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chillingly awful little slogan to live

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by and I’ll leave it up to people to do

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it but it’s the Houthi motto or slogan

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and whenever they’re doing any kind of

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demo you can see half of them are

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carrying signs with this slogan so it’s

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not like they don’t mean it they

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regurgitate the rainiest Logan death to

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America death to Israel also yes what

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that tell us where they’re at and they

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these are the guys that are hurling

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missiles at the Saudis every day yes and

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that have taken over again yeah so in a

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way it really was arranged that did this

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because I can’t imagine that they would

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do this kind of damage to these these

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ships without yeah yeah very won’t be

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true like a state into a pretty good job

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of it so so here we are now so what did

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we do now do we take vengeance against

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the movies or take offenses against the

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Iranians I mean I think they still owe

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them for one was the Revolution 79 I

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said yeah big job yes absolutely and a

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bunch of other things and another

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meeting with the parking heads and those

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Jazeera were saying immediately after

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this you know after the news came out

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about the the you know these the attacks

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off of from Jarrah

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as they were thinking that it was one of

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the three countries that are trying to

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draw the United States into a war with

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Iran and these three countries would be

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the UAE itself

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Wasabi’s and Israel and well no cutter

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or never let me get it I’ll get it to

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cut it but let me get back on this now

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this makes the mood you know certain

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mental sense so these these three

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countries you are a Saudi Arabia and

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Israel have the capability of course to

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sink all those ships that they wanted to

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but what if they just you know

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had this incident to damage some of them

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to get news in order to touch off this

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confrontation because they would like

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nothing better they’d had the United

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States you know go into Iran and take

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down the regime now this is what Talking

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Heads on al Jazeera are saying and I

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just wondered because the UAE was so

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fast in demanding that the international

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community you know do something about

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this right away that was almost like

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they were begging the United States to

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come in and kick some ass so that’s one

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possibility but you know going back to

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your other question your other comment

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is I agree that even if Iran didn’t do

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it you know the world cannot sit by and

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let them get nukes and they’re kind of

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getting nukes unless we take them down

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so maybe it might be worthwhile to do it

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but it’s going to take more than one

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aircraft carrier and more than 120,000

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troops that that the demonstration is

0:12:09.579,0:12:16.959
planning along the United States was

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able to obliterate Iran’s ability to

0:12:16.959,0:12:21.940
make war set them back 20 or 30 years

0:12:20.560,0:12:25.120
that would be a really worthwhile

0:12:21.940,0:12:26.980
project yeah I could see them doing that

0:12:25.120,0:12:30.130
maybe taking out their entire Navy and

0:12:26.980,0:12:31.779
then their airfields and whatever

0:12:30.130,0:12:33.730
airplanes they can see on the ground and

0:12:31.779,0:12:35.730
their centrifuge their ability their

0:12:33.730,0:12:38.079
centrifuge

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Gary Webb thank you very much for that

0:12:38.079,0:12:44.230
I’m not sure if we should be relieved or

0:12:40.240,0:12:45.880
concerned I feel like in some ways the

0:12:44.230,0:12:46.839
needle stayed at the same place but we

0:12:45.880,0:12:48.970
have more information

0:12:46.839,0:12:50.800
yeah at that situation with Iran keeps

0:12:48.970,0:12:52.720
changing every hour or so just don’t

0:12:50.800,0:12:54.880
keep watch on the news see what happens

0:12:52.720,0:12:58.199
keep watch the news if you want to know

0:12:54.880,0:12:58.199
what isn’t going on

0:13:29.780,0:13:32.870
[Music]

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