Saudi Cupidity in Yemen’s Strategic Al-Mahrah Province

By U-Feed Center

Info-graphics designed by the Union Center for Researches and Development [U-Feed] on the Saudi cupidity in Yemen’s strategic Al-Mahrah Province:

Saudi Cupidity in Yemen’s Strategic Al-Mahrah Province

Twitter has been on a narrative-control rampage, removing or censoring legitimate accounts that are critical of US-led wars, propaganda and lies. Facebook and Instagram have increased their Big Brother policing, too.

anuary 17, 2020, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Twitter has been on a narrative-control rampage, removing or censoring legitimate accounts that are critical of US-led wars, propaganda and lies. Facebook and Instagram have increased their Big Brother policing, too.

Attempts by American-based social media behemoths to silence or censor voices critical of the establishment-approved narrative is nothing new, but this trend seems to have intensified lately. 

Just in the past several days, following the criminal US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Instagram and Facebook have been removing posts supportive of Soleimani, even profile photos honouring the general, allegedly to comply with US sanctions, a truly absurd explanation for the narrative control.

On January 7, it was reported that Twitter had suspended numerous Venezuelan accounts, including those of the central bank, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, public media, political leaders, the Finance & Oil ministries.

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*Tweet here

It returned to normal some days later but, at the start of January, the account was again no longer available. Admin used a backup account with a dramatically smaller following and, although after about a week—and many Twitter protests later—the account was again restored, it has not since tweeted and thus appears to be restricted.

In mid-2019, the account of the Russian embassy in Syria disappeared not long after tweeting about the White Helmets, terrorists, and war propaganda. This, again, begged the question of what ‘Twitter rules’ had been violated.

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*Tweet here

These aren’t some isolated incidents, they’re part of a systematic purging by the NATO-aligned social media corporations who bleat about alleged “Russian propaganda” but are themselves the (transparently poor) masters of propaganda.

Many anti-war voices have been scrubbed from Twitter and Facebook, including the prominent anti-war voice of Daniel McAdams – Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity– who was banned from Twitter for using the word “retarded” to describe a Fox News host, something I’m sure many people would think an insufficient and mild description of such corporate media entities…

Accounts Calling For Genocide A-Okay on Twitter

While accounts like McAdams’ are taken down allegedly for reasons of political correctness, other accounts can call for genocide and destruction with no repercussions.

Take the rather no-name lobbyist Jack Burkman, who, after the US assassination of Iran’s beloved General Soleimani, tweeted about the “need to burn every major Iranian city to the ground.” His tweet actually included “Load up the [chemical weapon] napalm.

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On several more occasions, Burkman tweeted about destroying Iran, including his tweet on the firebombing of Dresden and his desire to “replicate the campaign against Iran.” Some of those tweets have been removed, but his account remains active, without restrictions, as though he hadn’t violated Twitter rules on multiple occasions.

Then there is the President of the United States, who, after having General Soleimani illegally assassinated, went on to threaten to destroy 52 Iranian cultural sites. That tweet remains up on Twitter, in spite of surely violating rules on threatening violence (and not only against a person but a nation). I mean, most normal people consider threatening to destroy places somewhat violent.

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*Tweet here

On the other hand, allegations about genocide risk being censored, as happened to Mint Press News’ editor in chief, Mnar Muhawesh, whose video on the US-Saudi led war on Yemen was deemed “child nudity” by Facebook.

Muhawesh protested: “This is false. Images show skeleton, dying children wearing diapers.”mn

*Tweet here

Terrorist Accounts, Exploited Children, And More Twitter Restrictions

Accounts abound on Twitter and Facebook that are openly supportive of suicide bombers, ISIS and al-Qaeda.

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*Tweet here

I’ve found Western corporate journalists citing terrorist-supporting accounts as “media activists” in areas militarily surrounded by the Syrian army, as was the case when eastern Ghouta was being liberated, although the ‘activists’ allegiance to Jaysh al-Islam and al-Qaeda was easily identified.

[READ: ‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendo ]

And there are accounts representing the terrorists themselves, whose graphic content certainly ought to be deemed violations of Twitter’s rules, yet so many of these accounts remain intact.

Twitter serves as a platform for war propaganda, that’s fairly clear. But there’s a point that some people might not know about Twitter and Syria: Twitter doesn’t recognize the Syrian country code, thus you’d need a non-Syrian phone number to open an account.

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*Tweet here

So how do all these poster children like Bana al-Abed (one of the chief faces of war propaganda in the lead-up to the liberation of Aleppo in late 2016) and those which popped up later in eastern Ghouta and then in Idlib get accounts?

Keep that in mind when the war propaganda again resurges around Idlib and the children holding English posters and hashtagging #SaveIdlib pop into your feed. More exploitation of kids, and Twitter the perfect platform.

READ: Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

In researching for this piece last week, I came across a recent article announcing a new feature Twitter would test, in its valiant efforts to quash trolls: limiting who may reply to tweets before sending a tweet.

This smacks not of cutting out trolls, but of making echo chambers more impenetrable, so war propagandists can back-slap one another without allowing intelligent voices to poke holes in their lies.

But in the end, perhaps even that doesn’t matter, because at any moment your account can be zapped. Nestled in Twitter’s terms of service is this line: “We may suspend or terminate your account…for any or no reason…” This means any protest over suspended accounts is thus a waste of time after all.

This is total narrative control, and it’s only getting worse.  

Syria Awards Lieutenant General Soleimani Top Military Medal

By Staff, Agencies

Syria awarded IRGC Quds Force Commander Martyr Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani its top military medal.

The medal, accompanied by a statement signed by Syrian Preside Bashar Assad, was delivered to the Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami on Monday in a meeting that he had with his Syrian counterpart General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub.

Relatively, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis unveiled the matter at a meeting with Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri in Tehran earlier on Monday.

“Awarding this medal reveals the Syrian president’s deep affection for General Soleimani and for his brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Khamis said.

Lt. General Soleimani, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi [PMU], and a number of their entourage were assassinated in a strike by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of January 3.

The popular Iranian commander played a prominent role in the fight against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Following the assassination, Syrian people took to the streets to condemn the terrorist attack on the Iranian commander and praise his efforts in the war against Daesh.

احذروا الفتنة القادمة.. فيلم مُسيء للصحابة

نور الدين أبو لحية

كاتب وأستاذ جامعي جزائري

يتم التحضير لفتنة جديدة خطيرة في بريطانيا، وتتجسّد بفيلم مسيء للصحابة، يستبسل دُعاة الفتنة في الدعوة إليه.

تظاهرة في لندن تندد بجرائم “الكراهية ضد الإسلام”

كما أفلح الغرب وعملاؤه في تشويه المدرسة السنّية عبر أولئك الذين امتلأوا بالعنف والتطرّف فإنه يسعى بكل جهده لتشويه المدرسة الشيعية عبر أدعياء التشيّع الذين لا يختلفون عن السلفيين في تطرّفهم وتشدّدهم وسوء أدبهم.

وقد اُستعمل ذلك سابقاً ـ وأفلح فيه للأسف ـ عندما أثار بعض دُعاة التشيّع البريطاني قضايا خطيرة تتعلّق بعرض رسول الله (ص)، والتي تصدم كل مؤمن محب لرسول الله سواء كان سنّياً أو شيعياً؛ فلا يمكن لمُحب لرسول الله أن يرضى بالإساءة إلى عرضه.

وعلى الرغم من كثرة الفتاوى من جميع مراجع الشيعة في العراق وإيران والبحرين وباكستان وأفغانستان والهند وغيرها من المناطق التي يتواجد فيها الشيعة، والذين ردّوا على أولئك المُنحَرفين عن التشيّع وأئمة أهل البيت في هذا الشأن وغيره، إلا أن كل ذلك لم يستطع ـ بفعل الآلة الإعلامية الشَرِسة ـ من محو آثار تلك الفتنة العريضة، والتي لا نزال نعيش آثارها إلى اليوم.

وعلى منوال تلك الفتنة، يتم التحضير لفتنة جديدة خطيرة في بريطانيا، وتتجسّد بفيلم مسيء للصحابة، يستبسل دُعاة الفتنة في الدعوة إليه.

وللأسف فإن الدعوة إلى هذا الفيلم تتم عبر قنوات يستضيفها (نايل سات)، المملوكة للشركة المصرية للأقمار الصناعية، والتي استطاعت السعودية وغيرها أن تجبرها على إزالة قناة المنار، وغيرها من قنوات المقاومة، في نفس الوقت الذي تترك فيه قنوات أخرى تسبّ الصحابة، وتُسيء إلى أمّهات المؤمنين.

ولكن لأن تلك القنوات تقف موقفاً سلبياً من إيران والمقاومة، بل تحكم بتكفيرهم، فهي لذلك لم تر بأساً في أن يسبّ الصحابة أو يتعرّض لأمّهات المؤمنين، وخاصة أن غلوّهم وانحرافهم يخدم أهدافهم في خدمة الفرقة والفتنة بين المسلمين.

ولهذا لا نجد في الواقع مَن يواجه هذا الفيلم (نتحفّظ على ذكر اسمه كيلا نروّج له)، ويفتي بتحريمه وتحريم دعمه سوى علماء الشيعة ومراجعهم الكبار، والذين أصدروا الفتاوى والبيانات في ذلك.

لكن للأسف لا يستمع إليهم أحد، حتى إذا جاء دور الفتنة وخرج الفيلم، حينها يصحو أولئك الذين يحضّرون للفتنة، لا لينشروا تلك الفتاوى والبيانات المُحذّرة، وليشكروا مَن قدَّمها، ويعتذروا من التقصير في تفعيلها، وإنما ليتّهموهم بأنهم هم مَن أنتج الفيلم وأن الشيعة جميعاً هم الذين أساؤوا إلى الصحابة، وليس أولئك النفر المحدودين الذين يموّنهم الحقد الغربي والعربي.

ومن باب إقامة الحجّة على المسارعين للفتن قامت وكالة (فارس) الإيرانية ببحث حول آراء علماء الشيعة ومراجعهم الكبار حول الموقف من الفيلم، وقد خلصت من خلال بحثها إلى أن “مراجع الشيعة أفتوا وبشكل قاطع بضرورة التنبّه له، بل أجمع العلماء لا سيما مراجع الحوزة الدينية في قم المُقدّسة، أن أية مساعدة أو إبداء أيّ اهتمام أو مُشاهَدة للفيلم هو أمر حرام ومُخالِف للشرع”.

ومن الفتاوى والبيانات التي نقلتها في ذلك فتوى المرجع الديني آية الله ناصر مكارم شيرازي، ومما جاء فيها: “مما لا شك فيه أن أولئك الذين يساهمون في إعداد ونشر هذا الفيلم أو مشاهدته يرتكبون كبائر الذنوب خاصة في الظرف الحالي الذي يصب فيه أيّ خلاف بين المسلمين، في صالح الأعداء ويعتبر نصراً لهم.. والقيام بمثل هذه الأمور يحمل في طيّاته مسؤولية شرعية جسيمة، وهناك احتمال قوي بأن يكون للأعداء يد في ذلك وأنهم خطّطوا لإثارة مثل هذه الموضوعات.. وكل مَن يساهم في ذلك يُعتبر شريكاً في الدماء التي قد تُراق بسببه.. ولا بد من أن تقول للجميع أن مَن يبحث عن مثل هذه البرامج المُثيرة للخلافات، ليس منا”.

ومنها فتوى آية الله نوري همداني، والتي جاء فيها: “نحن ضد هذه الأنشطة ولا نعتبرها أبداً لصالح الإسلام، ونرى في أية مساعدة أو إبداء أي اهتمام أو مُشاهَدة للفيلم، حراماً وخلافاً للشرع”.

ومنها فتوى آية الله جعفر سبحاني، ومما جاء فيها: “في الظروف التي تعيشها البلدان الإسلامية في الوقت الحاضر والفتنة الكبرى التي أثارها الأجانب والتي أدَّت إلى تقاتُل المسلمين وتشريد الملايين من العراقيين والسوريين من منازلهم وأوطانهم ليلجأوا إلى الغرب، فإن إنتاج هكذا فيلم لا يُحقّق إلا مطالب الأعداء، وهو بعيد كل البُعد عن العقل والتقوى، وعلى هذا فإن إنتاجه حرام وأية مساعدة مالية له، تعاون على الإثم”.

ومنها فتوى آية الله صافي كلبايكاني، ومما جاء فيها: “لقد قلنا مراراً وتكراراً إن الشيعة ومُحبي أهل البيت يجب أن يكونوا دائماً حذرين وأن يحرصوا على نشر المعارف القرآنية والعترة النبوية وأن يتجنّبوا القيام بأيّ عمل قد يؤدّي الى الإساءة للإسلام والمذهب”.

وقبل ذلك فتوى وبيان السيّد علي الخامنئي، والتي أصدرها لا باعتباره مرجعاً فقط، وإنما باعتباره الوليّ الفقيه، والذي يعتبر الموالون له طاعته واجبة شرعياً، فقد سُئِل هذا السؤال: “ما هو رأي سماحتكم في ما يُطرَح في بعض وسائل الإعلام من فضائيات وإنترنت من قِبَل بعض المُنتسبين إلى العِلم من إهانة صريحة وتحقير بكلمات بذيئة ومُسيئة لزوج الرسول أمّ المؤمنين السيّدة عائشة واتهامها بما يخلّ بالشرف والكرامة لأزواج النبي أمّهات المؤمنين رضوان الله تعالى عليهن”.

فأجاب بقوله: “يُحرَّم النيل من رموز إخواننا السنّة فضلاً عن اتهام زوج النبي بما يخلّ بشرفها، بل هذا الأمر ممتنع على نساء الأنبياء، وخصوصاً سيّدهم الرسول الأعظم (ص)”.

ولم يكتف بذلك، بل هو يشير في خطبه كل حين إلى حرمة ذلك، وينبّه إلى أنه دسائس أجنبية، ويُسمّي التشيّع المرتبط بمثل هذا “تشيّعاً بريطانياً”، وليس تشيّعاً علوياً مثلما يُسمّى التسنّن الداعي إلى الفتنة “تسنّناً أميركياً” لا تسنّناً نبوياً.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراًالمصدر : الميادين نت

Comrades in Battle: Soleimani’s Journey of Resistance Narrated by a Hezbollah Commander

Fatima Deeb Hamzeh

The night was coming to an end when the curtains were brought down on his last journeys of jihad in Syria. The final scene was at Imam Hussein’s Iraq, the way Hajj Qassem wanted it to be and always asked for in his prayers. It was loud. It happened on the battlefield of jihad alongside his comrades in arm and peace, the people he loved. And for the story in his prayers to be completed, the villain was the most wretched of villains. Cowardice was the credibility of their claim. They were not able to get him except by assassination.

Hajj Sadiq tells us: He was the clearest example of leadership in Islam.

He spent twenty years and more working for the Palestinian cause. He knew the mission and the goal when he was appointed the commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in 1998. Everyone who knew him well acknowledges that he was a man who was tireless and uncompromising in his pursuit. He, too, was one of those who believed in the certainty of achieving the goals set on the path of the divine promise.

He had many traits. Others surrender to his attractive but simple characteristics. The region’s recent events and developments were the gateway to this “jihadi by nature”.

From Palestine, to Lebanon, to Syria and Iraq and farther away, the martyred lieutenant general went on a jihad streak helping the oppressed against the oppressor and the weak against the arrogant.

But how was he present, how did he fight, lead battles, negotiate, raise morale and bring together the alliances and the axis? How was he killed? And what comes after him?

To answer all these questions, Al-Ahed news website conducted an exclusive interview with Hajj Sadiq, a field commander in the Islamic Resistance who accompanied martyr Qassem Soleimani on his jihadi rounds.

Hajj Sadiq begins talking about Soleimani, “In the name of Allah, He who Smites the Necks of the Cruel (qasim al-jabarin). It is impossible to summarize this leader’s career or his jihad.”

Calmly and with great accuracy, Hajj Sadiq reveals to us some of Hajj Qassem’s qualities.

“Work wise, he was the clearest and most recent example of the concept of leadership in Islam. Because I know him and have accompanied him, I believe that theories of leadership, management as well as military and field control need to be reviewed looking back at this person’s role, impact and behavior.”

The Islamic Resistance field commander adds, “Through his positions and words, he – Hajj Qassem – expressed the concept of the Imamate in Islam whereby the minds are attracted to him without will or effort.”

What jihad legacy did he leave behind?

“It is enough that he was practically the one who created what is now called the axis of resistance. He was at the forefront of establishing it after it was just a mere idea spoken about behind the scenes,” Hajj Sadiq replies quickly. “Martyr Soleimani was able to translate this idea into practice, accurately and with unimaginable craftsmanship.”

He adds, “In his jihadist thought, he wanted to go beyond the idea of the axis. And those who know the literature of the Islamic Revolution, know who Soleimani was, what he gave, and what he left behind.”

Hajj Sadiq, one of the people who knew martyr Soleimani, repeats that talking about him is not for the sake of writing about Soleimani’s personality after his martyrdom. Rather, to reveal possible aspects of “this leader, whose services for the Islamic causes were not confined to a place or time. On the contrary, his military, administrative and diplomatic vision, activities and movements tightly linked the organizations and countries of the [resistance] axis together.”

Hajj Sadiq does not hide Soleimani’s great, influential and pivotal role in confronting the Zionist and American projects in our region.

“Soleimani was a supporter of the resistance in Lebanon. He was present alongside the resistance during the July 2006 war. He was also in Iraq from the start of Daesh’s invasion until the announcement of their end as a danger to the state and the people. He was also in Syria. He was not only a military leader but also a clever diplomat and administrator.”

How Soleimani saw us and how we saw him

Hajj Sadiq talks more about the military commander who was close to the arenas of jihadi and mujahideen, saying “He was keen on the subject of advice. It was one of his well-known practices, and it was not a formal behavior. Rather, it was realistic and practical. He practiced it with conviction as well as action. He was always on the fields and at the forefront. He always sought to involve field leaders in decision-making. He always reminded us that our weapon, which is directed at our most powerful enemy, is our morale.”

Hajj Sadiq stresses, “Hajj Qassem’s physical presence cannot be compensated. However, the model of a moral jihadist and leadership school that he established will make up for his absence. This will be reflected in the price his murderers will pay as they will be expelled from the whole region.”

The martyred commander’s companion tries to convey to us the image of the relationship that Soleimani was most keen to weave with the mujahideen.

“He was concerned with the mujahideen’s most accurate daily and combat details, including their sleeping accommodations, their sustenance, their psychological and spiritual conditions, their communication with their families and everything that could make them feel secure and belong to this holy jihadist line. He was even concerned with the conditions of ordinary citizens who support the organizations that were fighting us and made sure not to harm them.”

“Killing him this way, during this time, with his companions, is a juncture in the struggle with our enemy. Soleimani succeeded in breaking the prestige and power of the American giant in the region. He paved the way for us to get rid of it. He showed us the shortest way to expel it humiliated. He was, without a doubt, the largest nail in the coffin of the Americans in our region. And the coming days will bear witness to this,” Hajj Sadiq concludes his talk about martyred leader Soleimani. “I am happy for him for attaining this great martyrdom and this end. We, who remained after him, will continue his path and work to achieve his goals and carry his banner in all arenas. Taking just retribution on the killers of the mujahideen will be the responsibility of all the resistance fighters.”

Also read it in Arabic

IRAQ IS THE NEXT BATTLEGROUND.

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

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By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Well-informed and established sources at Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi’s office in Baghdad believe “the US is unwilling to listen to reason, to the Iraqi government or the parliament. It has the intention of bringing war upon itself and transforming Iraq into a battlefield, by refusing to respect the law and withdraw its forces. The US will be faced with strong and legitimate popular armed resistance, even if some Iraqis (in Kurdistan) will break the law and will accept the US presence in their region, though without a heavy price.”

Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi suggested to the parliament to agree on a new law asking the US to leave the country. The parliament listened to Mr Abdel Mahdi and agreed on a new law terminating the contract between Iraq and the US forces and asked the government to implement it. Mr Abdel Mahdi, in a phone conversation with US Secretary Mike Pompeo, demanded the presence of a delegation to organise the total withdrawal of all US forces from the country. The answer did not have to wait for long: “The US shall not withdraw from Iraq but respects its sovereignty and decisions,” said Secretary Pompeo. The US official failed to explain how Washington can reject the Iraqi sovereign decision asking for the withdrawal of the US troops and yet respect it at the same time.

President Donald Trump took a harsh position asking the Iraqis to pay billions of dollars for the development of the Iraqi bases his forces are hosted in. Otherwise, he threatened to “charge the Iraqi with sanctions like they’ve never seen before” and “it’s Central Bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with $35 billion could be shut down”.

US Ambassador to Iraq Mathew Tueller delivered to Iraqi officials – including PM Abdel Mahdi, who has asked for the US forces removal of Iraq — a copy of all the possible US sanctions Iraq could from if the government insists on the total withdrawal of all US forces. This has triggered an immediate reaction from Iraqi groups willing to fight the US forces once declared an occupation force by Iraq.

Iraqi groups who fought against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq visited the newly appointed Iranian General head of the IRGC-Quds brigade Ismail Qaani who replaced Sardar Qassem Soleimani. They asked for military and financial support to fight the new “occupation forces”. The Iranian General promised to assist in implementing the parliament, government and people’s decision to fight the US occupation forces. Qaani is expected to visit Iraq, where over 100 Iranian advisors work in Baghdad security and command Control Base along with Syrian and Russian counterparts to fight ISIS.

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Trump’s decision to take control of Iraq’s oil revenue account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York could create a devaluation of the local currency and a crash in the financial system. There is also an implicit threat in Trump’s words, to confiscate Iraq’s national gold reserves, held at the New York Fed.

Clearly, the US administration could not care less about the stability of Iraq and consequences for the nearby European continent, which could suffer the most from Iraqi migration and increased instability in the Middle East.

Secretary Pompeo wrongly claimed the Iraqi parliament’s decision is non-binding. What grounds would a US official have, to consider an Iraqi political decision void?

When the US assassinated Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and other officers in their company, the Iraqi Prime Minister asked for the revocation of the US-Iraq agreement signed in 2014 that regulated the US forces’ presence in Iraq.

The original agreement was terminated in 2011 when all US forces pulled out of Iraq. In 2014, the deal was re-activated by the government to join forces in the fight against the “Islamic State” (ISIS).

In its Preamble, the agreement states that the US will support Iraq against “threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity and against its democratic, federal and constitutional system.”

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The US is violating the agreement by using its land and airspace – as stated by Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi – without asking Baghdad’s permission. The US forces are allowing Israel to assassinate Iraqi commanders and attack Iraqi warehouses – as the US ambassador to Iraq informed Mr Abdel Mahdi. By killing Iraqi and Iranian commanders at Baghdad’s airport, US forces are causing the termination of the agreement by non-respect, in accordance with its articles 2 and 3.

The US government is further violating Iraq’s sovereignty by ignoring the Iraqi parliament’s resolution and refusing to schedule the withdrawal of all forces. Not only this: President Trump has openly threatened to break the Iraqi economy by disregarding the UN and international law, thereby imposing his “law of the jungle.”

At the Iraqi parliament, 173 MPs out of 328 voted for the withdrawal of the US forces. The suggestion of the caretaker Prime Minister is not binding. The government can only suggest and offer its opinion. The legislative decision goes back to the parliament, and its decision is a binding law applied to the present and future government (unless a new parliament revokes decisions of the previous one).

Even if all Kurds and most Sunni MPs (3 were present) were absent, the Constitution doesn’t rely on the presence of religions or ethnicities, the vote and the source of law are based on the majority (half plus one). This is how the Speaker, the President and the Prime Minister are elected, always by the most significant political coalition group.

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The parliament will meet again to read the resolution for the second time, ask all MPs to sign the document, and agree upon a deadline for the US withdrawal. The agreement doesn’t require the signature of the President in this case, as declared by the Speaker Mohamad al-Halbousi, but requires Halbousi’s presence, which is the case.

President Trump asked Iraq to pay him “billions of dollars” for the expansion of military bases to suit the US forces. Again, the US deliberately ignored article 5 of the agreement that all “Iraq owns all buildings, non-relocated structures… including those that are used, constructed, altered or improved by the US. Upon their withdrawal, the US shall return to the government of Iraq all the facilities free of any debts and financial burdens…The US shall bear the costs of construction, alterations, or improvements in the agreed facilities and areas provided for its exclusive use.”

Article 24 also states that the “US recognises the sovereign right of the government of Iraq to request the departure of the US forces from Iraq any time.” Trump disregards this treaty obligation, and instead says: “Iraqi will pay if they want us out.” It shows the US administration’s intention to remain in oil-rich Iraq for a long time.

Thus, following the assassination of the generals, there is little doubt 2020 will be a hot year in Iraq and hard on US forces if their President continues to ignore Iraq’s sovereignty and constitutional decisions. The US forces will now be considered a force of occupation, legitimising armed resistance against it. Iraq is back to 2003 when George W. Bush declared the country occupied. This was when the resistance took off. Trump’s last year of his first term will not likely bring any stability to the Middle East, and will certainly be very dangerous for US service personnel deployed in the region.

Proofread by  C.G.B and Maurice Brasher

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America, An Empire on its Last Leg: To be Kicked Out from the Middle East?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, January 07, 2020

America’s hegemonic military agenda in the Middle East has reached a dangerous threshold.

The assassination of  IRGC General Soleimani ordered by the President of the United States on January 3, 2020 is tantamount to an Act of War against Iran.

President Donald Trump accused Soleimani  of “plotting imminent and sinister attacks”: “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war…. we caught him in the act and terminated him.”

US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper described it as a “decisive defensive action” while confirming that the operation ordered by POTUS had been carried out by the Pentagon. “The game has changed” said Esper.  

What the media has failed to acknowledge is General Soleimani’s central role in countering ISIS-Daesh and Al Qaeda terrorists in both Iraq and Syria. 

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC) under the helm of General Soleimani consisted in waging a real counter-terrorism campaign against ISIS-Daesh mercenaries, who from the outset were funded, trained and recruited by the US and its allies.

Trump’s action plan to “stop a war” consists in “protecting” America’s ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliated foot-soldiers.

US Extrajudicial Assassinations

While the assassination of General Soleimani constitutes a criminal act on the part of President Trump,  the US practice of extrajudicial assassinations of foreign politicians has a long history.

What distinguishes the assassination of General Soleimani from previous extrajudicial killings, is that the president of the US has formally announced that he gave the order.

This sets a dangerous precedent. It was “overt” rather than “covert”, i.e. a covert operation by the CIA or by a US sponsored Al Qaeda affiliate acting on behalf of Washington.

It is important to note that it was not Trump but in fact Obama who formalized (“legalized”) the practice of extra-judicial assassination (ordered by the president):

And if the president [Obama] can kill anyone, including US citizens, without judicial review, what power does he not have? Any but the most formal distinction between democracy and presidential dictatorship is swept away. (Joseph Kishore, wsws.org, October 31, 2012)

Trump’s Response: More Troops to the Middle East

While the Pentagon announced that it is “sending thousands of additional troops to the Middle East”, a unanimous vote in Iraq’s parliament was reached demanding the immediate withdrawal of all US forces.

The legislation requires the Iraqi government to “end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil and prevent the use of Iraqi airspace, soil and water for any reason”.

Note: Death to  America: refers to the US Government, Not the American People

Backflash: A Digression. The Obama Air Raids (2014-2017)

Concurrently the Iraqi parliament suspended the corrupt 2014 agreement with the Obama administration which invited the US to lead a fake counterterrorism operation directed against the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh), made up of mercenaries who are funded, trained and recruited by US-NATO, with the support of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The decision of the Iraqi parliament is in this regard fundamental. This operation was used by the Obama administration as a pretext to justify a third phase of the Iraq War (1991, 2003, 2014). Initiated in June 2014 by Obama under the disguise of a counterterrorism operation, a new phase of killing and destruction was launched.

Why was the US Air Force unable to wipe out the Islamic State which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks?

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From the very outset, Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama’s air campaign was NOT directed at ISIS.  The evidence confirms that the Islamic State was not the target. Quite the opposite. The air raids were intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria.

Look at the following image which describes the Islamic State convoy of pickup trucks entering Iraq fromn Syria and crossing a 200 km span of open desert which separates the two countries.

This convoy entered Iraq in June 2014.

What would have been required from a military standpoint to wipe out an ISIS convoy with no effective anti-aircraft capabilities?

Without an understanding of military issues, common sense prevails. 

If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June 2014. 

The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map right). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, F16) it would have been  –from a military standpoint–  “a piece of cake”, a rapid and expedient surgical operation, which would have decimated the Islamic State convoys in a matter of hours.

But if that had happened, they would not have been able to implement their “Responsibility to Protect” (P2R) bombing campaign over a three year period (2014-2017).

Instead what we witnessed were drawn out relentless air raids and bombings which culminated with the so-called liberation of Mosul (February 2017) and Raqqa (October 2017) by the US led coalition.

And we were led to believe that the Islamic State had the upper hand and could not be defeated by a powerful US led military coalition of 19 countries.

The people of Iraq and Syria were the targets. Obama’s bombing raids were intent upon destroying the civilian infrastructure of Iraq and Syria.

ISIS-Daesh were never the target of US aggression. Quite the opposite. They were protected by the Western military alliance.

US Troop Withdrawal: Yankee Go Home (2020)

While a major US troop withdrawal is unlikely in the foreseeable future,  “America’s War on Terrorism” is in jeopardy. Nobody believes that America is going after the terrorists.

In Iraq and Syria, everybody knows that all Al Qaeda, ISIS-Daesh affiliated entities are supported by US-NATO.A Major Conventional War Against Iran Is an Impossibility. Crisis within the US Command Structure

The “Yankee Go Home” process has commenced.  The US is not only being ousted from Iraq and Syria, its strategic presence in the broader Middle East is also threatened. And these two processes are intimately related.

In turn, several of America’s former allies including Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Egypt have normalized their relations with Iran.

Trump’s Punitive Bombings. Will They be Carried Out?

In recent developments, Trump has warned that if Tehran responds to the assassination of General Soleimani, he will “target 52 Iranian sites” intimating that they would be “HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

Donald Trump wants to hit back. But he has a serious logistical problem on his hands of which he may not even be aware of.

Normally a punitive operation of this nature directed against Iran would be entrusted to USCENTCOM’s forward headquarters in the Middle East located at the Al Udeid Air Force base in Qatar.

“CENTCOM controls US forces based across the Middle East and some of Central Asia – in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s main headquarters are located in Tampa Florida but it runs its daily combat operations from Al-Udeid air base 

With 11,000 US military personnel, the al-Udeid Air Force base close to Doha is “one of the U.S. military’s most enduring and most strategically positioned operations on the planet”   (Washington Times). It has led and coordinated several major Middle East war theaters including Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003). It was also involved in Syria.

But there is a problem: The forward base of USCENTCOM at the al-Udeid Air Force base is in Qatar. And since June 2017 Qatar has been “sleeping with the enemy”. Qatar has become a staunch ally of Iran.

What both the media, as well as foreign policy and military analysts fail to acknowledge is that US CENTCOM’s Forward Base headquarters at the al-Udeid military base de facto “lies in enemy territory”And it would seem that POTUS is totally unaware of this situation.

Barely a few months ago, (October 2019), The Pentagon took the decision NOT to move USCENTCOM’s forward base at Al Udeid to another location in the Middle East.

“Qatar has always been an exceptional partner, and this base from which we are operating is a great base, and CENTCOM has no intention of moving anywhere,” said CENTCOM’s deputy commander, Chance Saltzman.

Sloppy intelligence, flawed military planning? Qatar is not an “exceptional partner”. Since June 2017 Qatar has become a de facto ally of Iran.

More recently, they have been discussing the establishment of Iran-Qatar bilateral military ties.

Having decided that Al Udeid (located in enemy territory) could not be moved to another location in the Middle East, the Pentagon then envisaged a scenario of moving Al Udeid air and space operations to South Carolina: “to 7,000 miles away in South Carolina”. It was a simulation. “The temporary switch” lasted only 24 hours.

Lessons Learnt: You cannot effectively “wage war” in the Middle East without a “Forward Base” in the Middle East. This “South Carolina Test” borders on ridicule.

Are US military planners desperate?

Since May 2017, following the break up of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) the Pentagon has NOT BEEN ABLE TO MOVE USCENTCOM FORWARD BASE (including its air force striking capabilities) OUT OF ENEMY TERRITORY (QATAR) to a “friendly location” (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Israel) in the broader Middle East region.

Military analysts now admit that in the case of a conflict with Iran, Al-Udeid would be an immediate target. “The base’s defence system is said to be ill-equipped to defend itself against the low-flying cruise missiles and drones…”

Mr. President: How on earth can you launch your punitive bombings on Iran from the territory of a close ally of Iran? 

From a strategic point of view it does not make sense. And this is but the tip of the iceberg.

While the bombing and missile attacks can be dispatched from other US military bases in the Middle East (see diagram below) as well as from Diego Garcia, US aircraft carriers, submarines, etc, the regional USCENTCOM Forward Base at Al-Udeid, Qatar, plays a key role in the command structure in liaison with USCENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) at the Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Source: Statista 

While Qatar and the US have a longstanding bilateral cooperation agreement pertaining to the al-Udeid Air Force base, Qatar has military cooperation agreements not only with Iran but also with Hamas and Hezbollah, all of which are “enemies” of the USA:

The challenge for Washington is that while Qatar hosts al-Udeid, it’s also friendly with the Gaza-based Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), it is close to the Hezbollah’s leadership … [Qatar also] has cozy relations with Iran. Indeed, if Qatar didn’t host America’s largest air base in the Middle East, it would be under pressure from the U.S. to cease much of this behavior.”

And to top it off, Qatar is also friends with Russia. A military technical cooperation agreement pertaining  to air defense was signed with Moscow, immediately following Qatar’s rift with Saudi Arabia in June 2017.

Turkey’s Incirlik Air Force Base 

“A sleeping with the enemy situation” also prevails with regard to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Force base which was established in the 1950s by the US Air Force. Incirlik has played a strategic role in all US-NATO led operations in the Middle East.

With about five thousand airmen, the US Air Force is now hosted in a country (aka Turkey) which is an ally of both Russia and Iran. Turkey and Iran are neighbouring states with friendly relations. In contrast, US and Turkish supported rebels are fighting one another in Northern Syria.

In mid-December 2019, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu  dropped a bombshell, intimating  “that the United States could be barred from using two strategic air bases [Incirlik and Kurecik] in retaliation to possible US sanctions against his country” regarding Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system.

America’s Conventional Warfare Capabilities

For several reasons, US hegemony in the Middle East has been weakened in part as a result of the evolving structure of military alliances.

America’s command capabilities have been weakened. Two of the region’s largest strategic Air Forces bases, namely Incirlik (Turkey) and Al-Udeid (Qatar) are no longer under the control of the Pentagon.

While war against Iran remains on the drawing board of the Pentagon, under present conditions, an all out Blitzkrieg (conventional theater war) involving the simultaneous deployment of ground, air and naval  forces is an impossibility.

While the US does not have the ability to carry out such a project, various forms of “limited warfare” have been contemplated including targeted missile attacks, so-called “bloody nose operations” (including the use of tactical nuclear weapons), as well as acts of political destabilization and color revolutions (which are already ongoing) as well as economic sanctions, manipulations of financial markets and neoliberal macroeconomic reforms (imposed via the IMF and the World Bank(.

The Nuclear Option against Iran

And it is precisely because of US weaknesses in the realm of conventional warfare that a nuclear option could be envisaged.  Such an option would inevitably lead to escalation.

Ignorance and stupidity are factors in the decision making process. According to foreign policy analyst Edward Curtin “Crazy people do crazy things”. 

Who are the crazy people in key decision-making positions?

Trump foreign policy advisers: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Brian Hook, (Special Representative for Iran and Advisor to Pompeo), could “advise” President Trump to authorize  a “bloody nose operation” against Iran using tactical (B61 bunker buster) nuclear weapons, which the Pentagon has categorized as “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”.

The bloody nose operation” as designated by the Pentagon, conveys the idea of a military op (using a low yield “more usable” tactical nuclear weapon) which allegedly “creates minimum damage”. It’s a lie: the tactical nuclear weapon has an explosive capacity between one third and 12 times a Hiroshima bomb.

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (July 2019):

Tensions between the United States and Iran are spiraling toward a military confrontation that carries a real possibility that the United States will use nuclear weapons. Iran’s assortment of asymmetrical capabilities—all constructed to be effective against the United States—nearly assures such a confrontation. The current US nuclear posture leaves the Trump administration at least open to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in conventional theaters. Some in the current administration may well think it to be in the best interest of the United States to seek a quick and decisive victory in the oil hub of the Persian Gulf—and to do so by using its nuclear arsenal.

We believe there is a heightened possibility of a US-Iran war triggering a US nuclear strike…

Of significance, the use of tactical nukes does not require the authorization of the Commander in Chief. That authorization pertains solely to so-called strategic nuclear weapons.

Despite the warnings of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, present circumstances do not favor the conduct of a  US “bloody nose” tactical nuclear weapons’ operation.

The US Air Force’s tactical nuclear weapons arsenal is stored and deployed in five non-nuclear European countries including Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Turkey at military bases under national command.  

According to Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 2019 report), the US possesses an estimated 230 tactical nuclear weapons of which 180 are deployed in the five non-nuclear European countries. Some 50 B61 bunker buster bombs with nuclear warheads (gravity bombs) are stored and deployed at the Incirlik air force base which is under Turkey’s jurisdiction. (see table above)

Conclusion:

  • A US president committed to war crimes.
  • A failing  “War on Terrorism” narrative,
  • Weakened military command structures,
  • Failing alliances,
  • Sleeping with the enemy,
  • Unpredictable foreign policy analysts,
  • Deception and mistakes.

At this juncture: The US’ most powerful weapon remains dollarization, neoliberal economic reforms and the ability to manipulate financial markets.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

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