Fact check – US Governmental Lies About Iran and The Sanction Regime — Rebel Voice

Originally posted on Rebel Voice: “Truth is the first casualty of war” – But sometimes truth becomes a victim before the war ever begins, as is the case in US depictions of events in both Venezuela and Iran at present. Today, there is a concerted campaign by forces within the US regime to misrepresent and…

via Fact check – US Governmental Lies About Iran and The Sanction Regime — Rebel Voice

How a Hidden Parliamentary Session Revealed Trump’s True Motives in Iraq

By Whitney Webb

Source

Since the U.S. killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis earlier this month, the official narrative has held that their deaths were necessary to prevent a vague, yet allegedly imminent, threat of violence towards Americans, though President Trump has since claimed whether or not Soleimani or his Iraqi allies posed an imminent threat “doesn’t really matter.”

While the situation between Iran, Iraq and the U.S. appears to have de-escalated substantially, at least for now, it is worth revisiting the lead-up to the recent U.S.-Iraq/Iran tensions up to the Trump-mandated killing of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in order to understand one of the most overlooked yet relevant drivers behind Trump’s current policy with respect to Iraq: preventing China from expanding its foothold in the Middle East. Indeed, it has been alleged that even the timing of Soleimani’s assassination was directly related to his diplomatic role in Iraq and his push to help Iraq secure its oil independence, beginning with the implementation of a new massive oil deal with China.

While recent rhetoric in the media has dwelled on the extent of Iran’s influence in Iraq, China’s recent dealings with Iraq — particularly in its oil sector — are to blame for much of what has transpired in Iraq in recent months, at least according to Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who is currently serving in a caretaker role. 

Much of the U.S. pressure exerted on Iraq’s government with respect to China has reportedly taken place covertly and behind closed doors, keeping the Trump administration’s concerns over China’s growing ties to Iraq largely out of public view, perhaps over concerns that a public scuffle could exacerbate the U.S.-China “trade war” and endanger efforts to resolve it. Yet, whatever the reasons may be, evidence strongly suggests that the U.S. is equally concerned about China’s presence in Iraq as it is with Iran’s. This is because China has the means and the ability to dramatically undermine not only the U.S.’ control over Iraq’s oil sector but the entire petrodollar system on which the U.S.’ status as both a financial and military superpower directly depends.

Behind the curtain, a different narrative for Iraq-US Tensions

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi gave a series of remarks on January 5, during a parliamentary session that received surprisingly little media attention. During the session, which also saw Iraq’s Parliament approve the removal of all foreign (including American) troops from the country, Abdul-Mahdi made a series of claims about the lead-up to the recent situation that placed Iraq at the heart of spiking U.S.-Iran tensions.

During that session, only part of Abdul-Mahdi’s statements were broadcast on television, after the Iraqi Speaker of the House — Mohammed Al-Halbousi, who has a close relationship with Washington — requested the video feed be cut. Al-Halbousi oddly attended the parliamentary session even though it was boycotted by his allied Sunni and Kurdish representatives.

Mike Pompeo Halbousi

After the feed was cut, MPs who were present wrote down Abdul-Mahdi’s remarks, which were then given to the Arabic news outlet Ida’atPer that transcript, Abdul-Mahdi stated that:

The Americans are the ones who destroyed the country and wreaked havoc on it. They have refused to finish building the electrical system and infrastructure projects. They have bargained for the reconstruction of Iraq in exchange for Iraq giving up 50% of oil imports. So, I refused and decided to go to China and concluded an important and strategic agreement with it. Today, Trump is trying to cancel this important agreement.”

Abdul-Mahdi continued his remarks, noting that pressure from the Trump administration over his negotiations and subsequent dealings with China grew substantially over time, even resulting in death threats to himself and his defense minister:

After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened [that there would be] massive demonstrations to topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, whereby a third party [presumed to be mercenaries or U.S. soldiers] would target both the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from atop the highest buildings and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement.”

“I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement. When the defense minister said that those killing the demonstrators was a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened myself and the defense minister in the event that there was more talk about this third party.”

Very few English language outlets reported on Abdul-Mahdi’s comments. Tom Luongo, a Florida-based Independent Analyst and publisher of The Gold Goats ‘n Guns Newsletter, told MintPress that the likely reasons for the “surprising” media silence over Abdul-Mahdi’s claims were because “It never really made it out into official channels…” due to the cutting of the video feed during Iraq’s Parliamentary session and due to the fact that “it’s very inconvenient and the media — since Trump is doing what they want him to do, be belligerent with Iran, protected Israel’s interests there.”

“They aren’t going to contradict him on that if he’s playing ball,” Luongo added, before continuing that the media would nonetheless “hold onto it for future reference….If this comes out for real, they’ll use it against him later if he tries to leave Iraq.” “Everything in Washington is used as leverage,” he added.

Given the lack of media coverage and the cutting of the video feed of Abdul-Mahdi’s full remarks, it is worth pointing out that the narrative he laid out in his censored speech not only fits with the timeline of recent events he discusses but also the tactics known to have been employed behind closed doors by the Trump administration, particularly after Mike Pompeo left the CIA to become Secretary of State.

For instance, Abdul-Mahdi’s delegation to China ended on September 24, with the protests against his government that Trump reportedly threatened to start on October 1. Reports of a “third side” firing on Iraqi protesters were picked up by major media outlets at the time, such as in this BBC report which stated:

Reports say the security forces opened fire, but another account says unknown gunmen were responsible….a source in Karbala told the BBC that one of the dead was a guard at a nearby Shia shrine who happened to be passing by. The source also said the origin of the gunfire was unknown and it had targeted both the protesters and security forces. (emphasis added)”

U.S.-backed protests in other countries, such as in Ukraine in 2014, also saw evidence of a “third side” shooting both protesters and security forces alike.

After six weeks of intense protests, Abdul-Mahdi submitted his resignation on November 29, just a few days after Iraq’s Foreign Minister praised the new deals, including the “oil for reconstruction” deal, that had been signed with China. Abdul-Mahdi has since stayed on as Prime Minister in a caretaker role until Parliament decides on his replacement.

Abdul-Mahdi’s claims of the covert pressure by the Trump administration are buttressed by the use of similar tactics against Ecuador, where, in July 2018, a U.S. delegation at the United Nations threatened the nation with punitive trade measures and the withdrawal of military aid if Ecuador moved forward with the introduction of  a UN resolution to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”

The New York Times reported at the time that the U.S. delegation was seeking to promote the interests of infant formula manufacturers. If the U.S. delegation is willing to use such pressure on nations for promoting breastfeeding over infant formula, it goes without saying that such behind-closed-doors pressure would be significantly more intense if a much more lucrative resource, e.g. oil, were involved.

Regarding Abdul-Mahdi’s claims, Luongo told MintPress that it is also worth considering that it could have been anyone in the Trump administration making threats to Abdul-Mahdi, not necessarily Trump himself. “What I won’t say directly is that I don’t know it was Trump at the other end of the phone calls. Mahdi, it is to his best advantage politically to blame everything on Trump. It could have been Mike Pompeo or Gina Haspel talking to Abdul-Mahdi… It could have been anyone, it most likely would be someone with plausible deniability….This [Mahdi’s claims] sounds credible… I firmly believe Trump is capable of making these threats but I don’t think Trump would make those threats directly like that, but it would absolutely be consistent with U.S. policy.”

Luongo also argued that the current tensions between U.S. and Iraqi leadership preceded the oil deal between Iraq and China by several weeks, “All of this starts with Prime Minister Mahdi starting the process of opening up the Iraq-Syria border crossing and that was announced in August. Then, the Israeli air attacks happened in September to try and stop that from happening, attacks on PMU forces on the border crossing along with the ammo dump attacks near Baghdad… This drew the Iraqis’ ire… Mahdi then tried to close the air space over Iraq, but how much of that he can enforce is a big question.”

As to why it would be to Mahdi’s advantage to blame Trump, Luongo stated that Mahdi “can make edicts all day long, but, in reality, how much can he actually restrain the U.S. or the Israelis from doing anything? Except for shame, diplomatic shame… To me, it [Mahdi’s claims] seems perfectly credible because, during all of this, Trump is probably or someone else is shaking him [Mahdi] down for the reconstruction of the oil fields [in Iraq]…Trump has explicitly stated “we want the oil.”’

As Luongo noted, Trump’s interest in the U.S. obtaining a significant share of Iraqi oil revenue is hardly a secret. Just last March, Trump asked Abdul-Mahdi “How about the oil?” at the end of a meeting at the White House, prompting Abdul-Mahdi to ask “What do you mean?” To which Trump responded “Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil,” which was widely interpreted as Trump asking for part of Iraq’s oil revenue in exchange for the steep costs of the U.S.’ continuing its now unwelcome military presence in Iraq.

With Abdul-Mahdi having rejected Trump’s “oil for reconstruction” proposal in favor of China’s, it seems likely that the Trump administration would default to so-called “gangster diplomacy” tactics to pressure Iraq’s government into accepting Trump’s deal, especially given the fact that China’s deal was a much better offer. While Trump demanded half of Iraq’s oil revenue in exchange for completing reconstruction projects (according to Abdul-Mahdi), the deal that was signed between Iraq and China would see around 20 percent of Iraq’s oil revenue go to China in exchange for reconstruction. Aside from the potential loss in Iraq’s oil revenue, there are many reasons for the Trump administration to feel threatened by China’s recent dealings in Iraq.

The Iraq-China oil deal – a prelude to something more?

When Abdul-Mahdi’s delegation traveled to Beijing last September, the “oil for reconstruction” deal was only one of eight total agreements that were established. These agreements cover a range of areas, including financial, commercial, security, reconstruction, communication, culture, education and foreign affairs in addition to oil. Yet, the oil deal is by far the most significant.

Per the agreement, Chinese firms will work on various reconstruction projects in exchange for roughly 20 percent of Iraq’s oil exports, approximately 100,00 barrels per day, for a period of 20 years. According to Al-Monitor, Abdul-Mahdi had the following to say about the deal: “We agreed [with Beijing] to set up a joint investment fund, which the oil money will finance,” adding that the agreement prohibits China from monopolizing projects inside Iraq, forcing Bejing to work in cooperation with international firms.

The agreement is similar to one negotiated between Iraq and China in 2015 when Abdul-Mahdi was serving as Iraq’s oil minister. That year, Iraq joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative in a deal that also involved exchanging oil for investment, development and construction projects and saw China awarded several projects as a result. In a notable similarity to recent events, that deal was put on hold due to “political and security tensions” caused by unrest and the surge of ISIS in Iraq, that is until Abdul-Mahdi saw Iraq rejoin the initiative again late last year through the agreements his government signed with China last September.

Notably, after recent tensions between the U.S. and Iraq over the assassination of Soleimani and the U.S.’ subsequent refusal to remove its troops from Iraq despite parliament’s demands, Iraq quietly announced that it would dramatically increase its oil exports to China to triple the amount established in the deal signed in September. Given Abdul-Mahdi’s recent claims about the true forces behind Iraq’s recent protests and Trump’s threats against him being directly related to his dealings with China, the move appears to be a not-so-veiled signal from Abdul-Mahdi to Washington that he plans to deepen Iraq’s partnership with China, at least for as long as he remains in his caretaker role.

Iraq’s decision to dramatically increase its oil exports to China came just one day after the U.S. government threatened to cut off Iraq’s access to its central bank account, currently held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an account that currently holds $35 billion in Iraqi oil revenue. The account was set up after the U.S. invaded and began occupying Iraq in 2003 and Iraq currently removes between $1-2 billion per month to cover essential government expenses. Losing access to its oil revenue stored in that account would lead to the “collapse” of Iraq’s government, according to Iraqi government officials who spoke to AFP.

Though Trump publicly promised to rebuke Iraq for the expulsion of U.S. troops via sanctions, the threat to cut off Iraq’s access to its account at the NY Federal Reserve Bank was delivered privately and directly to the Prime Minister, adding further credibility to Abdul-Mahdi’s claims that Trump’s most aggressive attempts at pressuring Iraq’s government are made in private and directed towards the country’s Prime Minister.

Though Trump’s push this time was about preventing the expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraq, his reasons for doing so may also be related to concerns about China’s growing foothold in the region. Indeed, while Trump has now lost his desired share of Iraqi oil revenue (50 percent) to China’s counteroffer of 20 percent, the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq may see American troops replaced with their Chinese counterparts as well, according to Tom Luongo.

“All of this is about the U.S. maintaining the fiction that it needs to stay in Iraq…So, China moving in there is the moment where they get their toe hold for the Belt and Road [Initiative],” Luongo argued. “That helps to strengthen the economic relationship between Iraq, Iran and China and obviating the need for the Americans to stay there. At some point, China will have assets on the ground that they are going to want to defend militarily in the event of any major crisis. This brings us to the next thing we know, that Mahdi and the Chinese ambassador discussed that very thing in the wake of the Soleimani killing.”

Indeed, according to news reports, Zhang Yao — China’s ambassador to Iraq — “conveyed Beijing’s readiness to provide military assistance” should Iraq’s government request it soon after Soleimani’s assassination. Yao made the offer a day after Iraq’s parliament voted to expel American troops from the country. Though it is currently unknown how Abdul-Mahdi responded to the offer, the timing likely caused no shortage of concern among the Trump administration about its rapidly waning influence in Iraq. “You can see what’s coming here,” Luongo told MintPress of the recent Chinese offer to Iraq, “China, Russia and Iran are trying to cleave Iraq away from the United States and the U.S. is feeling very threatened by this.”

Russia is also playing a role in the current scenario as Iraq initiated talks with Moscow regarding the possible purchase of one of its air defense systems last September, the same month that Iraq signed eight deals, including the oil deal with China. Then, in the wake of Soleimani’s death, Russia again offered the air defense systems to Iraq to allow them to better defend their air space. In the past, the U.S. has threatened allied countries with sanctions and other measures if they purchase Russian air defense systems as opposed to those manufactured by U.S. companies.

The U.S.’ efforts to curb China’s growing influence and presence in Iraq amid these new strategic partnerships and agreements are limited, however, as the U.S. is increasingly relying on China as part of its Iran policy, specifically in its goal of reducing Iranian oil export to zero. China remains Iran’s main crude oil and condensate importer, even after it reduced its imports of Iranian oil significantly following U.S. pressure last year. Yet, the U.S. is now attempting to pressure China to stop buying Iranian oil completely or face sanctions while also attempting to privately sabotage the China-Iraq oil deal. It is highly unlikely China will concede to the U.S. on both, if any, of those fronts, meaning the U.S. may be forced to choose which policy front (Iran “containment” vs. Iraq’s oil dealings with China) it values more in the coming weeks and months.

Furthermore, the recent signing of the “phase one” trade deal with China revealed another potential facet of the U.S.’ increasingly complicated relationship with Iraq’s oil sector given that the trade deal involves selling U.S. oil and gas to China at very low cost, suggesting that the Trump administration may also see the Iraq-China oil deal result in Iraq emerging as a potential competitor for the U.S. in selling cheap oil to China, the world’s top oil importer.

The Petrodollar and the Phantom of the Petroyuan

In his televised statements last week following Iran’s military response to the U.S. assassination of General Soleimani, Trump insisted that the U.S.’ Middle East policy is no longer being directed by America’s vast oil requirements. He stated specifically that:

Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before and America has achieved energy independence. These historic accomplishments changed our strategic priorities. These are accomplishments that nobody thought were possible. And options in the Middle East became available. We are now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent, and we do not need Middle East oil. (emphasis added)”

Yet, given the centrality of the recent Iraq-China oil deal in guiding some of the Trump administration’s recent Middle East policy moves, this appears not to be the case. The distinction may lie in the fact that, while the U.S. may now be less dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, it still very much needs to continue to dominate how oil is traded and sold on international markets in order to maintain its status as both a global military and financial superpower.

Indeed, even if the U.S. is importing less Middle Eastern oil, the petrodollar system — first forged in the 1970s — requires that the U.S. maintains enough control over the global oil trade so that the world’s largest oil exporters, Iraq among them, continue to sell their oil in dollars. Were Iraq to sell oil in another currency, or trade oil for services, as it plans to do with China per the recently inked deal, a significant portion of Iraqi oil would cease to generate a demand for dollars, violating the key tenet of the petrodollar system.

US China Iraq oil

As Kei Pritsker and Cale Holmes noted in an article last year for MintPress:

The takeaway from the petrodollar phenomenon is that as long as countries need oil, they will need the dollar. As long as countries demand dollars, the U.S. can continue to go into massive amounts of debt to fund its network of global military bases, Wall Street bailouts, nuclear missiles, and tax cuts for the rich.”

Thus, the use of the petrodollar has created a system whereby U.S. control of oil sales of the largest oil exporters is necessary, not just to buttress the dollar, but also to support its global military presence. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the issue of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and the issue of Iraq’s push for oil independence against U.S. wishes have become intertwined. Notably, one of the architects of the petrodollar system and the man who infamously described U.S. soldiers as “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy”, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, has been advising Trump and informing his China policy since 2016.

This take was also expressed by economist Michael Hudson, who recently noted that U.S. access to oil, dollarization and U.S. military strategy are intricately interwoven and that Trump’s recent Iraq policy is intended “to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control of the region’s oil reserves,” and, as Hudson says, “to back Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi troops (ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control of Near Eastern oil as a buttress of the U.S. dollar.”

Hudson further asserts that it was Qassem Soleimani’s efforts to promote Iraq’s oil independence at the expense of U.S. imperial ambitions that served one of the key motives behind his assassination.

America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad’s regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British “divide and conquer” ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got “out of line” meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing. (emphasis added)”

Hudson adds that “…U.S. neocons feared Suleimani’s plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi’s on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive.”

While other factors — such as pressure from U.S. allies such as Israel — also played a factor in the decision to kill Soleimani, the decision to assassinate him on Iraqi soil just hours before he was set to meet with Abdul-Mahdi in a diplomatic role suggests that the underlying tensions caused by Iraq’s push for oil independence and its oil deal with China did play a factor in the timing of his assassination. It also served as a threat to Abdul-Mahdi, who has claimed that the U.S. threatened to kill both him and his defense minister just weeks prior over tensions directly related to the push for independence of Iraq’s oil sector from the U.S.

It appears that the ever-present role of the petrodollar in guiding U.S. policy in the Middle East remains unchanged. The petrodollar has long been a driving factor behind the U.S.’ policy towards Iraq specifically, as one of the key triggers for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s decision to sell Iraqi oil in Euros opposed to dollars beginning in the year 2000. Just weeks before the invasion began, Hussein boasted that Iraq’s Euro-based oil revenue account was earning a higher interest rate than it would have been if it had continued to sell its oil in dollars, an apparent signal to other oil exporters that the petrodollar system was only really benefiting the United States at their own expense.

Beyond current efforts to stave off Iraq’s oil independence and keep its oil trade aligned with the U.S., the fact that the U.S. is now seeking to limit China’s ever-growing role in Iraq’s oil sector is also directly related to China’s publicly known efforts to create its own direct competitor to the petrodollar, the petroyuan.

Since 2017, China has made its plans for the petroyuan — a direct competitor to the petrodollar — no secret, particularly after China eclipsed the U.S. as the world’s largest importer of oil. As CNBC noted at the time:

The new strategy is to enlist the energy markets’ help: Beijing may introduce a new way to price oil in coming months — but unlike the contracts based on the U.S. dollar that currently dominate global markets, this benchmark would use China’s own currency. If there’s widespread adoption, as the Chinese hope, then that will mark a step toward challenging the greenback’s status as the world’s most powerful currency….The plan is to price oil in yuan using a gold-backed futures contract in Shanghai, but the road will be long and arduous.”

If the U.S. continues on its current path and pushes Iraq further into the arms of China and other U.S. rival states, it goes without saying that Iraq — now a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative — may soon favor a petroyuan system over a petrodollar system, particularly as the current U.S. administration threatens to hold Iraq’s central bank account hostage for pursuing policies Washington finds unfavorable.

It could also explain why President Trump is so concerned about China’s growing foothold in Iraq, since it risks causing not only the end of the U.S. military hegemony in the country but could also lead to major trouble for the petrodollar system and the U.S.’ position as a global financial power. Trump’s policy aimed at stopping China and Iraq’s growing ties is clearly having the opposite effect, showing that this administration’s “gangster diplomacy” only serves to make the alternatives offered by countries like China and Russia all the more attractive.

Trump – You Are Awesome, Nice, and Naughty

By Heba Mourad

Source

Donald J Trump 835c3

President Donald Trump,

I grew up on an American School campus, all I sang was “coming ‘round the mountain.” I played Basketball and being short and swift made me a good three pointer, playing most of the time as a pivot. When I learned American football I became quickly good at tackling but I always unintentionally hurt my friends so I stopped playing. My favorite food was McDonalds and Wendy’s and I was obsessed about cinnamon rolls and apple pies. As Cliché as it sounds, it’s what it was. We had classes on American Culture and others on World History; mainly from an “American” perspective. I was more American than Americans themselves. The Ideal place for me to live was on that spot of Earth, America. I loved English so much that I finally decided to major in translation studies. And as much as we were taught about the land of the free, I loved the idea of having this sort of ‘Utopian’ place be my home someday. But of course I grew up later to know there is no such American dream just like I realized there was no Santa Clause. Living in a neighboring country in West Asia, or what you insist to call the Middle East, we were always told that Iran was the bad guy. We heard all about the Iran-Iraq war and how dangerous Iran and its leaders are.

Then one day I grew up, and traveled across the world to learn more and have my worldview reshaped, or better say reborn. Leaving romanticism behind, I wanted to venture and get acquainted with different cultures and peoples. It was not until I decided to live in Iran in 2014, the Islamic Republic that I could understand what a marvelous country it is. And it was not until you came to power that I saw your lies on Iran firsthand. No one told me stories this time.

To spice things up a bit, I will contextualize some word and their semantics the way that fits you. Your empty threats and silly tweets are so “awesome”.  Of course I mean “awesome” as interpreted before the 19th century; when originally awful and awesome were synonymous. You are also naughty in the sense adopted during the 1300s. In the 1300s, naughty people had naught (nothing); they were poor or needy and indeed you are poor; you lack so much information and intelligence to be recognized as a president of some state. Of course the semantics of it during the 1400s also fits you, during the time, the meaning shifted from having nothing to being worth nothing, being morally bad or wicked. You are also nice, in the context of the 1300s through 1600s when it meant silly, foolish, or ignorant. In Old English, “pretty” meant crafty and cunning, typically you. Today, during the 21st century, they call a person who sort of has all these traits a ‘Sly’ and this defines your ‘mental’ morphology. Of course American media has been describing you with a variety of adjectives and words, both simple and complex. Politico is one example describing you as: Real estate mogul, billionaire, reality show host, late-night show punch line, populist rabble rouser, norm-busting leader — impeached president.

In language, like everything else, change can be hard to accept, just like it is really hard for you to digest and accept that Iran has changed since 1979 and has chosen to be independent, sovereign and different.

You use the same old US rhetoric on freedom and human rights and dictate whom you see as subaltern. Before I begin though, let me tell you that of course most of the American people are not happy with what you do, people across the globe understand that. We all know now you would sell your own mother for oil and fortune. You have been milking your Saudi minions and you threaten Iraq that if it does not pay you the billions of dollars you want, you will not leave their country. You have military bases and constitute a threat to the entire region. I will not discuss your Trumpain policies of plundering the riches of the world now, or your issues with the Hispanics, Blacks, and Muslims. From North Korea to the Middle East to Venezuela, you are out of favor in almost all parts of the world, except Israel and Saudi Arabia.

I will stick to giving you some advice on the current matter of concern; Iran.

  • During the holidays at your Mar-a-Lago resort, you decided to assassinate Iran’s General of the Quds Brigades Qassem Suleimani thinking that would make you get away with impeachment and give you a better chance of becoming elected again as president. All that mattered to you was your image, but you got it tainted badly. You gave a chance to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has never launched war against one single state since 1979, to show you how invincible your army actually is. Iran had the right to retaliate to your act of war. Iran’s move was in self-defense. It is not the 19th or 20th century anymore. There is no room for your dictates and policies of supremacy at least with regional players like Iran, if not an international player within the new world context. Accept the new world order.
  • The military and anti-craft missile system in Iran being on a state of alert after the Ain al-Assad military base was hit, and American jets hovering around Iran, a human error caused the Ukraine flight 752 to crash. 176 people were killed. You rushed into mobilizing the Iranian people and the world against the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian government. You said they denied responsibility. It took them only 3 days to bravely say the truth and apologize, despite the fact that we know now that the transponder for some mysterious reason was not working for 30 seconds before the missile struck. Today, January 14, New York Times analysis of flight path information and video of the missile strike determined that the plane stopped transmitting its signal for between 20 seconds and 30 seconds before it was hit.

I think people on Twitter have already reminded you enough that in 1988, the US shot down Iran Air 655 and killed 290 Iranians. The Vice President of the United States at the time George Bush not only refused to apologize but also honored the people who carried out the act. You, like many other of your forerunners, hardly ever take the blame for anything — especially the things that are your fault. Today, Iran shows how a government can admit a mistake and take responsibility. Iran could have denied and you know well it has allies who could have supported it but honesty is the best policy, and that is something you know nothing about.

  • You threaten Iranians to hit their cultural sites, you upsurge sanctions, vow to crush the economy, and then call on the ‘brave’ people of Iran to revolt. Sarcastically, if Iran wanted to retaliate and hit cultural sites in the US it would not find any or maybe it would be Wendy’s they can target. Unlike your America, Iran is a country of successive ancient civilizations and a long history. Of course Iran would not hit anything other than military sites when at war. Iran could have killed many of the 5 thousand American soldiers in Ain al-Assad military base. Iran, despite having the capability to build nuclear warheads refuses to do so, it is forbidden in their religion which is Islam by the way. The basic teachings of Islam are based on ethics; and war ethics are part of that. This is why Iran, which you keep accusing of domination schemes has not attacked one single country for 40 years since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. By contextualizing sovereignty and intervention in the world system, you try to annihilate any sort of attempt of independence, in West Asia at least. This is not news. One variable in particular has changed a lot though, and that is Iran, it has become stronger, more independent and more resolute.
  • You create terrorist groups like ISIS (Daesh), support them along with your Israeli and regional allies, and then tell Iran that you have common interests in fighting terrorism in the region. Stop your orientalist and double-standard approach. Your Islamophobic interventionist policies in the West Asia are not acceptable anymore. Bernard Lewis, the notorious Islamophobe who spent a long life studying Islam in order to demonise Muslims and mobilise the mighty military of what he called “the West” against the Muslims, “the other”, represents you well. Go get some decent education on the region, its religions, and people to know better how to deal with things. Even when it comes to Soleimani you made a fool out of yourself, thinking he was chief of the Kurds rather than the Head of the Quds Brigades.
  • An advice to you as President of the US moving towards isolation; some say you are a pathological liar, others say you are a fantasist. Well, neither option is good. One day you want to start war with Iran, another day you want to put immense pressure to see what you call “regime change”, then you want unconditioned talks with the Iranians. You denied any injuries or deaths among US troops in Ain al-Assad military base. You said the damage was not of a great deal. Reports surfacing gradually reveal there are a ‘few’ injuries among US soldiers and more dimensions of the tremendous damage are surfacing. Oh and please don’t tweet later to say you need Middle East oil again, be a man and bear the consequences of your speech and decisions when you say “We do not need Middle East oil anymore”. Learn how to stick to your word. Fluctuations in the American administration have been also providing the world a favor: unilateralism and lies will not work in the future.
  • Social media is becoming an increasingly important force in society. A lot of news is driven by online communication, you hit the tweet button more than normal and your tweets are inconsistent. Your twitter threads and page have become a topic of interest to linguists. Geoffrey Pullum, a linguist at University of Edinburgh, argues that there’s more going on than just a conversational, I’ll-let-you-fill-in-the-gaps-style in your linguistic skills. He says your speech suggests a man with scattered thoughts, a short span of attention, and a lack of intellectual discipline and analytical skills. What also amazes many is not the form or the meaning of your language; it is rather the big fat lies. Of course the lies I mentioned on Iran is just a bit of the 13,435 “falsehoods” you have told between January 20, 2017, and October 9, 2019. Another linguist who analyzed Trumpian rhetoric says “taking the meaning of ‘Believe me’ literally, you skeptically think that Trump can’t be believable if he has to tell his listeners to believe him all the time.”
  • Iran has a population of roughly 85 million people if not more than that. I will discuss this using your democratic values. We may admit that 3 thousand people are taking part in the protests; majority wins. 77 million do not want to topple the government. Get over that. The discursive strategy that you like is exaggeration, and words and phrases such as ‘bigly’ ‘huuuuge’, ‘millions and millions’, and ‘a lot’ to impress people or have an impact on them.
  • For two years, you have exerted “maximum pressure” through sanctions and isolation, to force new concessions from Tehran. All my Iranian professors, classmates, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues are firm on the fact that Iran will no longer make concessions. This time you have to understand that your only way out is to withdraw your troops and save face before it is too late and you see the ‘horizontal’ or ‘vertical’ shipments of your troops going back home.

The crisis of the United States’ post–Cold War foreign policy has been a long time in the making. After all the mess you have created for your country, it is time to think of a new concept. The United States should accept a more modest role in world affairs and understand that the era of colonialism and post-colonialism has reached zero hour at least for Iran and its allies. Whether you like it or not, your troops will be forced out of West Asia. Until then, you can either keep playing golf for long hours to distract yourself or you can freeze in fear every time a rocket hits a US military base.

Nadia Murad – US Assassinated Your Savior from ISIS Sex-Slavery. Why Are You Silent?

By Julia Kassem

Source

Nadia Murad Abu Mahdi al Muhandis 91a05

On Friday, January 10th, the U.S. State Department released a statement signaling their position to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the long standing Iraqi demands requesting the removal of the illegal U.S. occupation. This came seven days after the U.S.’s assassination of the Commander of the Al-Quds brigaide of the IRGC, Qassem Soleimani, and his close friend and comrade in struggle, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The U.S.’s action in assassinating the two most powerful fighters of Daesh in Iraq highlighted the stubbornness of the U.S. as asserting its position as an occupying power in Iraq.

Jamal Ja’far Muhammad Ali Al Ibrahim, better known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was born in Basra, southern Iraq in 1954 to an Iranian mother and an Iraqi father. His nom-de-guerre is a combination of “Abu Mahdi,” or “Father of Mahdi,” a traditional Arab title referring to the name of his eldest child, and “al-Muhandis,” a nickname literally meaning “the engineer,” stemming from his graduation from engineering school in 1977. Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, al-Muhandis fled to the newly Islamic Republic during Saddam Hussein’s rise to power. Hussein also waged a heavy crackdown of the mainly Shiite Islamic Da’wa party, of which the young al-Muhandis was a member.

Over the years, a-Muhandis would perfect his expertise in organized resistance and take it home to Iraq as a part of the Badr Corps. He was key in his involvement and leadership in fighting the U.S. occupation following the 2003 American invasion and destabilization of Iraq. He was a founding leader of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, which was a main faction in fighting against the U.S. armed forces’ presence in Iraq post-2006.

In 2009, U.S. Executive Orders (E.O.) 13438 and 13224 placed sanctions on al-Muhandis for his leadership in resistance against the U.S. invasion, claiming to target him for “threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the Government of Iraq.” The U.S. that day also placed Kata’ib Hezbollah in the designation as a foreign terrorist organization, which at that point would mark the group a target and threat to the U.S.’s interests in occupying and looting the country.

A little known member of Iraqi parliament post 2005, al-Muhandis largely ignored the public limelight characteristic of political life, instead remaining committed towards armed struggle. The late al-Muhandis in his position, under the command of the Iraqi Prime Minister, would be integral helping facilitate and vouch for the integration of the PMU into the Iraqi national armed forces.

Al-Muhandis would assemble a coalition from the nearly 60 different paramilitary militias in Iraq he worked with, organizing and consolidating their efforts under the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) or Hashd al-Shaabi.

When the PMU assembled in 2014, under the directive of Iraqi Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Al-Muhandis primarily was the one to coordinate and bring the efforts of Iraq’s many resistance militas, many of whom previously fought off the American occupation, many under Kata’ib Hezbollah, to the fight against Daesh.

Thus, the integration of the PMU into the Iraqi army beginning in 2017 after Daesh’s defeat represented another step at bringing together different armed factions in Iraq to eliminate the terror group. Yet it would also help eclipse the U.S.’s presence in controlling the Iraqi army–the objective and practice of the post-2003 U.S. invasion.

This was also an important step in strengthening the power and capacity of the nationwide resistance against terrorism. Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr paramilitary Organization and who worked closely alongside al-Muhandis, would refer to the decision as instrumental in “encouraging others to join” the coalition fighting Daesh terror, building a large and strong organization from out of disjointed groups that were small in number and relatively weak in isolation.

Under Al-Muhandis’s directive as Deputy Commander, the PMU was–and still is–the prime force in orchestrating Daesh’s defeat. Al-Muhandis led and commanded a fighting force of 30,000 soldiers under Kata’ib Hezbollah alone, which had grown from having a couple thousand members before the Daesh invasion.

The Kata’ib Hezbollah had been responsible in 2007 of attacking and removing the American occupation from Iraqi soil. And again, the organization remains the same existential threat to the prolongation of American hegemony in Iraq–despite the Kata’ib, and its larger coalition group, the PMU, playing primary roles in defeating Daesh.

The American attacks on PMU and Kata’ib Hezbollah bases lately represent the U.S.’s ambitions to retain its occupation of Iraq and thwart resistance that would challenge its presence and/or embolden Iraq’s alliance with Iran, the U.S.’s political nemesis. The recent U.S. attacks, building up in the months before the January 3rd assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and al-Muhandis, were also preceeded by Israeli attacks in coordination with the U.S. against the PMU at locations near the Syrian border in late August.

By December 2017, the PMU had waged and completed a full-scale operation against Daesh, clearing the terror group out from Sinjar, Kirkuk, Mosul, and many other areas held by Daesh for the past three years.  This showed how effective the PMU was in their support of the Iraqi Security Forces, (ISF) who alone or alongside the U.S. Army, was relatively weak and ineffective in fighting Daesh.

The U.S.’s attacks on the PMU, clearly a service to Daesh, go back years. It is well known that the U.S. regularly attacks the PMU and has supported Daesh in Iraq in Syria with air cover, airstriking “Iranian-allied” opposition to Daesh, and, consequently, using Daesh’s emboldened presence after a virtual defeat by the PMU to justify the re-occupation in Iraq.

The U.S. attacks against the PMU weren’t limited to military attacks alone. The Western mainstream media constantly downplayed Al-Muhandis’s and the PMU’s role in defending Iraqis, defeating Daesh, and rebuilding Iraq’s broken defense apparatus. Many attacks on Daesh and its affiliates or even liberation of territory would attract reports of human-rights violations charges from the likes of Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and mainstream media. For example, the July 2016 liberation of Fallujah by the PMU was followed by a Reuters “massacre” report detailing human rights abuses scolding the “detainment and torture” of those with suspect links to Daesh.

Senator Rubio Press

@SenRubioPress

Sen Rubio met with Nobel Peace Prize recipient @NadiaMuradBasee to discuss the future of Iraq’s religious minorities & the importance of ensuring they are able to return home to rebuild their lives. They also discussed the need for justice & accountability for ISIS war crimes.

View image on Twitter

One significant example can be found in that of Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Yazidi former sex-slave victim who recently met with Republican Senator Marco Rubio. During a July 2019 visit to the White House with 27 other refugees, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed an aloof reaction to her pleas to the U.S. to “do something.”

Following the U.S.’s theatrics in “killing” Baghdadi, Murad would post a tweet thanking the U.S. for their action. However, Murad expressed no words following the U.S.’s murder of Al-Muhandis, who was instrumental in liberating her village of Kojo, in the Sinjar region in 2017, which had been under Daesh occupation since 2014.

Nadia Murad

@NadiaMuradBasee

Thank you to all involved in taking down . Indeed he died a coward not a hero. https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1188483085840584711 

The White House

@WhiteHouse

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was violently eliminated last night. He will never again harm another innocent man, woman, or child.

The world is now a much safer place.

Embedded video

In a 2017 video, Murad is seen alongside PMU forces following the liberation of her hometown, in tears, thanking the Iraqi resistance and the PMU.

“Thank you to all that liberated our land across Iraq and Syria,” she says in the clip. “It is why we are free today and just for that we are thankful.”

Murad is also seen sitting with Al-Muhandis as he expresses his sympathies and condolences to her.

Despite Al-Muhandis’s clear service to minorities in Iraq, Murad has shown little dignity or respect following his assassination.

Western media narrative framed the PMU, under the command of Muhandis, in its image as a conglomerate of rogue “Shiite militias,” ready to turn on their Sunni counterparts should the U.S. pull out of Iraq. This narrative was supported by ridiculous claims such as these militias’ propensity for “revenge killings” and reducing al-Muhandis’ role in national and regional liberation as being little more than an agent for Iran.

In reality, in bringing together different aspects of Iraqi armed groups, in collusion with the Iraqi army, al-Muhandis helped cement a resistance force that transcended sect and ethnicity. The PMU includes many Yazidi, Christian, and Sunni units and all worked towards the same goal of defending their land, communities, and sovereignty. More than 45,000 Sunni Arabs fought under the PMU umbrella by 2017, and the PMU had won the support of an estimated 65% of Sunnis in Iraq that year.

In November 2017, the PMU had facilitated the liberation of Qaim from Daesh, coordinating with the Iraqi army, in just four days. It was the last stronghold of the terror group. Qaim also hosts an important border crossing between Syria and Iraq, with its jeapordization holding heavy economic as well as geostrategic implications for the region.

The Qaim border crossing between Iraq and Syria was officially opened in September 2019.

The U.S.’s December 29 killing of over 30 PMU forces in Qaim along the Syrian border was the final straw that roused the anti-imperialist sentiment of the New Year’s Eve mass demonstrations at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The embassy demonstrations drew many parallels on social media to the 1979 student-led demonstrations against the former U.S. embassy in Tehran that revealed the center as a spy den, which only accelerated the threatened response to target Al-Muhandis.

It is also clear that the U.S.’s attacks on the PMU and subsequent killing of al-Muhandis, both a literal murder and a figurative assassination of character, emerge from the U.S.’s dissatisfaction with losing ground and control over Iraq. It was primarily Al-Muhandis’s history of organizing and resisting to undermine and thwart U.S. influence in both Iraq and Iran had long put him in the crosshairs of Empire. This plan, which began with American support to Saddam Hussein against the newly pro-Palestine and sovereign Iran, had evolved into the U.S. attempts to fan the flames of Daesh in Iraq, even if it meant killing the very leader that had organized its downfall.

Iran Jet Disaster Setup – Who Is the Mysterious Videographer?

By Suraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Co-author: Finian Cunningham

Source

Iran Jet Disaster 6d63b

The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism.

Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit.

The newspaper ran the splash story on January 9, the day after a Ukrainian airliner was brought down near Tehran. It was headlined: ‘Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran’. All 176 people onboard were killed. Two days later, the Iranian military admitted that one of its air defense units had fired at the plane in the mistaken belief that it was an incoming enemy cruise missile.

“A smoking gun” was how NY Times’ journalist Christiaan Triebert described the video in a tweet. Triebert works in the visual investigations team at the paper. In the same tweet, he thanked – “a very big shout out” – to an Iranian national by the name of Nariman Gharib “who provided it [the video] to the NY Times, and the videographer, who would like to remain anonymous”.

🤖Nariman

@NarimanGharib

The footage i’ve got from a source – the moment the missile hit the . I can’t verify the video yet! but please let me know if you find anything. I’m in contact with the person who send this video to see if I can get a version of video which has a meta data on it

Embedded video

The anonymous videographer is the person who caught the 19-second clip which shows a missile striking Flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomenei airport at around 6.15 am. This person, who remains silent during the filming while smoking a cigarette (the smoke briefly wafts over the screen), is standing in the suburb of Parand looking northwest. His location was verified by the NY Times using satellite data. The rapid way the newspaper’s technical resources were marshaled raises a curious question about how a seemingly random video submission was afforded such punctilious attention.

But the big question which many people on social media are asking is: why was this “videographer” standing in a derelict industrial area outside Tehran at around six o’clock in the morning with a mobile phone camera training on a fixed angle to the darkened sky? The airliner is barely visible, yet the sky-watching person has the camera pointed and ready to film a most dramatic event, seconds before it happened. That strongly suggests, foreknowledge.

Given that something awful has just been witnessed it is all the more strange that the person holding the camera remains calm and unshaken. There is no audible expression of shock or even the slightest disquiet.

Turns out that Nariman Gharib, the guy who received the video and credited by the NY Times for submitting it, is a vociferous anti-Iranian government dissident who does not live in Iran. He ardently promotes regime change in his social media posts.

Christiaan Triebert, the NY Times’ video expert, who collaborated closely with Gharib to get the story out within hours of the incident, previously worked as a senior investigator at Bellingcat. Bellingcat calls itself an independent online investigative journalism project, but numerous critics accuse it of being a media adjunct to Western military intelligence. Bellingcat has been a big proponent of media narratives smearing the Russian and Syrian governments over the MH17 shoot-down in Ukraine in 2014 and chemical weapons attacks.

In the latest shoot-down of the airliner above Tehran, the tight liaison between a suspiciously placed anonymous videographer on the ground and an expatriate Iranian dissident who then gets the prompt and generous technical attention of the NY Times suggests a level of orchestration, not, as we are led to believe, a random happenstance submission. More sinisterly, the fateful incident was a setup.

It seems reasonable to speculate that in the early hours of January 8 a calamitous incident was contrived to happen. The shoot-down occurred only four hours after Iran attacked two US military bases in Iraq. Those attacks were in revenge for the American drone assassination on January 3 of Iran’s top military commander, Maj. General Qassem Soleimani.

Subsequently, Iranian air-defense systems were on high alert for a possible counter-strike by US forces. Several reports indicate that the Iranian defense radars were detecting warnings of incoming enemy warplanes and cruise missiles on the morning of 8 January. It does seem odd why the Iranian authorities did not cancel all commercial flights out of Tehran during that period. Perhaps because civilian airliners can normally be differentiated by radar and other signals from military objects.

However, with the electronic warfare (EW) technology that the United States has developed in recent years it is entirely feasible for enemy military radars to be “spoofed” by phantom objects. One such EW developed by the Pentagon is Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) which can create deceptive signals on enemy radar systems of incoming warheads.

What we contend therefore is this: the Americans exploited a brink-of-war scenario in which they anticipated Iranian air-defense systems to be on a hair-trigger. Add to this tension an assault by electronic warfare on Iranian military radars in which it would be technically feasible to distort a civilian airliner’s data as an offensive target. The Iranian military has claimed this was the nature of the shoot-down error. It seems plausible given the existing electronic warfare used by the Pentagon.

It’s a fair, albeit nefarious, bet that the flight paths out of Tehran were deliberately put in an extremely dangerous position by the malicious assault from American electronic warfare. A guy placed on the ground scoping the outward flight paths – times known by publicly available schedules – would be thus on hand to catch the provoked errant missile shot.

The shoot-down setup would explain why Western intelligence were so quick to confidently assert what happened, contradicting Iran’s initial claims of a technical onboard plane failure.

The disaster has gravely undermined the Iranian government, both at home and around the world. Protests have erupted in Iran denouncing the authorities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp for “lying” about the crash. Most of the 176 victims were Iranian nationals. The anger on the streets is being fueled by the public comments of Western leaders like Donald Trump, who no doubt see the clamor and recriminations as an opportunity to push harder for regime change in Iran.

What’s Behind The West’s Hatred of Iran?

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Mohammad Mosaddegh 82014

Nobody saw that coming. Trump ordering Soleimani’s execution, I mean.

Nobody thought even he was quite so stupid.

It follows his last year’s caper when the “cocked and loaded” drama-queen ordered military strikes against Iran’s radar and missile batteries in retaliation for their shootdown of a US spy drone. He changed his mind with only minutes to spare on account of a reminder that such lunacy might actually cost human lives.

Plus the fact that the drone was eight miles from the coast, well inside the 12 nautical miles considered to be Iran’s territorial waters under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and it clearly represented a military threat and provocation. So he had no lawful claim of self-defense that would justify a military attack.  The United Nations Charter only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval. So his proposed action would have been illegal as well as unwise, but none of that seemed to enter into his calculations then, or now.

Before that we had Trump’s executive order in August 2018 reimposing a wide range of sanctions against Iran after pulling the US out of the seven-party nuclear deal for no good reason, a spiteful move that annoyed the EU and caused  all sorts of problems for other nations. And he was going to impose extra sanctions aimed mainly at Iran’s oil industry and foreign financial institutions.

“If the ayatollahs want to get out from under the squeeze,” warned US national security adviser John Bolton, “they should come and sit down. The pressure will not relent while the negotiations go on.” To which Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani responded: “If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.”

United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy described the sanctions as “unjust and harmful…. The reimposition of sanctions against Iran after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, which had been unanimously adopted by the Security Council with the support of the US itself, lays bare the illegitimacy of this action.”

The other countries party to the nuclear deal – Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK and the EU – vowed to stick with it and continue trading with Iran, some EU foreign ministers saying Iran was abiding by the agreement and delivering on its goal when Trump withdrew and they deeply regretted the new sanctions. Trump in turn called Iran “a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence and chaos.”  The irony of such a remark was, of course, completely lost on him.

I read today that the EU “will spare no efforts” to keep the nuclear deal with Iran alive though I doubt if Boris Johnson, passionate Zionist that he is, will be among them.

When it comes to aggression and dishonesty the US has form, and lots of it. Who can forget during the Iran-Iraq war the cruiser USS Vincennes, well inside Iran’s territorial waters, blowing Iran Air Flight 655 to smithereens and killing all 290 passengers and crew on board? The excuse, which didn’t bear examination afterwards, was that they mistook the Airbus A300 for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat manoeuvring to attack.

George H. W. Bush commented on a separate occasion: “I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.” Trump seems to have caught the same disease. And, from the outside, the White House itself seems home to the the sort of “murderous dictatorship” he describes.

The need to continually demonize Iran

When I say the West’s hatred of Iran, I mean primarily the US-UK-Israel Axis.  Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary filling in for Boris Johnson who had absented himself, has told Parliament: “In recent times, Iran has felt its intentions are best served through… the use of subversion as a foreign policy tool. It has also shown a total disregard for human rights.” This is amusing coming from the British government and especially a Conservative one which adores Israel, the world’s foremost disregarder of human rights and international law.

Britain and America would like everyone to believe that hostilities with Iran began with the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But you have to go back to the early 1950s for the root cause in America’s case, while Iranians have had to endure a whole century of British exploitation and bad behaviour. And the Axis want to keep this important slice of history from becoming part of public discourse. Here’s why.

In 1901 William Knox D’Arcy obtained from the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar a 60-year oil concession to three-quarters of the country. The Persian government would receive 16% of the oil company’s annual profits, a rotten deal as the Persians would soon realise.

D’Arcy, with financial support from Glasgow-based Burmah Oil, formed a company and sent an exploration team. Drilling failed to find oil in commercial quantities and by 1908 D’Arcy was almost bankrupt and on the point of giving up when they finally struck it big.  The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was up and running and in 1911 completed a pipeline from the oilfield to its new refinery at Abadan.

Just before the outbreak of World War 1 Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, wished to convert the British fleet from coal. To secure a reliable oil source the British Government took a major shareholding in Anglo-Persian.

In the 1920s and 1930s the company profited hugely from paying the Persians a miserly 16% and refusing to renegotiate terms. An angry Persia eventually cancelled the D’Arcy agreement and the matter ended up at the Court of International Justice in The Hague. A new agreement in 1933 provided Anglo-Persian with a fresh 60-year concession but on a smaller area. The terms were an improvement but still didn’t amount to a square deal for the Persians.

In 1935 Persia became known internationally by its other name, Iran, and Anglo-Persian changed to Anglo-Iranian Oil. By 1950 Abadan was the biggest oil refinery in the world and the British government, with its 51% holding, had affectively colonised part of southern Iran.

Iran’s tiny share of the profits had long soured relations and so did the company’s treatment of its oil workers. 6,000 went on strike in 1946 and the dispute was violently put down with 200 dead or injured. In 1951 while Aramco was sharing profits with the Saudis on a 50/50 basis Anglo-Iranian declared £40 million profit after tax and handed Iran only £7 million.

Iran by now wanted economic and political independence and an end to poverty. Calls for nationalisation could not be ignored. In March 1951 the Majlis and Senate voted to nationalise Anglo-Iranian, which had controlled Iran’s oil industry since 1913 under terms frankly unfavourable to the host country. Social reformer Dr Mohammad Mossadeq was named prime minister by a 79 to 12 majority and promptly carried out his government’s wishes, cancelling Anglo-Iranian’s oil concession and expropriating its assets.

His explanation was perfectly reasonable…

“Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.” (M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran, p. 525)

For this he would be removed in a coup by MI5 and the CIA, imprisoned for 3 years then put under house arrest until his death.

Britain was determined to bring about regime change so orchestrated a world-wide boycott of Iranian oil, froze Iran’s sterling assets and threatened legal action against anyone purchasing oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries. The Iranian economy was soon in ruins…. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

America was reluctant at first to join Britain’s destructive game but Churchill (prime minister at this time) let it be known that Mossadeq was turning communist and pushing Iran into Russia’s arms at a time when Cold War anxiety was high. That was enough to bring America’s new president, Eisenhower, on board and plotting with Britain to bring Mossadeq down.

Chief of the CIA’s Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt Jr, played the lead in a nasty game of provocation, mayhem and deception. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi signed two decrees, one dismissing Mossadeq and the other nominating the CIA’s choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as prime minister. These decrees were written as dictated by the CIA.

In August 1953, when it was judged safe for him to do so, the Shah returned to take over. Mossadeq was arrested, tried, and convicted of treason by the Shah’s military court. He remarked: “My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire… I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.”

His supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. Zahedi’s new government reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium to restore the flow of Iranian oil, awarding the US and Great Britain the lion’s share – 40% going to Anglo-Iranian. The consortium agreed to split profits on a 50-50 basis with Iran but refused to open its books to Iranian auditors or allow Iranians to sit on the board.

The US massively funded the Shah’s government, including his army and his hated secret police force, SAVAK. Anglo-Iranian changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954. Mossadeq died on 5 March 1967.

The CIA-engineered coup that toppled Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and let the American oil companies in, was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission.

Smoldering resentment for at least 70 years

And all this happened before the Iran-Iraq war when the West, especially the US, helped Iraq develop its armed forces and chemical weapons arsenal which were used against Iran.  The US, and eventually Britain, leaned strongly towards Saddam in that conflict and the alliance enabled Saddam to more easily acquire or develop forbidden chemical and biological weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians fell victim to them.

This is how John King writing in 2003 summed it up…

“The United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam’s army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The US supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was know that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked UN censure of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology.”

And while Iranian casualties were at their highest as a result of US chemical and biological war crimes what was Mr Trump doing? He was busy acquiring the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Trump Castle, his Taj-Mahal casino, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan…. oh, and he was refitting his super-yacht Trump Princess. What does he know, understand or care about Iran and the Iranian people today?

On the British side our prime minister, Boris Johnson, was at Oxford carousing with fellow Etonians at the Bullingdon Club. What does he know or care?

The present Iranian regime, like many others, may not be entirely to the West’s liking but neither was Dr Mossadeq’s fledgeling democracy nearly 70 years ago. If Britain and America had played fair and allowed the Iranians to determine their own future instead of using economic terrorism to bring the country to its knees Iran might have been “the only democracy in the Middle East” today.

So hush! Don’t even mention the M-word: MOSSADEQ.

Impeach Trump for Acts of War on Iraq, Iran and Elsewhere

By Stephen Lendman

Source

No War with Iran 7333b

Trump’s legal team reportedly prepared their strategy to challenge articles of impeachment by House Dems — yet to be sent to the GOP-controlled Senate for trial.

According to Law Professor Jonathan Turley, “(b)y rushing the impeachment and forcing a vote before Christmas, the House gave up control over an incomplete and insufficient case for removal,” adding:

“It gave up that control to a chamber controlled by the opposing party.”

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to game the system has not achieved any concession from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

“Few of us believed it would. Now the House will proceed on the thinnest record ever presented in a modern presidential impeachment trial.”

Clearly it’s going nowhere, likely to help Trump’s reelection, not undermine it.

Articles of impeachment by House Dems against Trump with no legitimate standing seek political advantage in November’s presidential and congressional elections.

That’s what this is all about, ignoring serious Trump wrongdoing, just cause for impeachment and removal from office. More on this below.

Under the Constitution’s Article II, Section 4, impeachment and conviction require proving “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

No legitimacy exists to impeach Trump for abuse of power on grounds of seeking interference from Ukraine to aid his 2020 presidential reelection and obstruction of Congress for defying House subpoenas.

Clear just cause exists to impeach and remove him from office for crimes of war, against humanity, and betraying the public trust by serving monied interests exclusively at the expense of ordinary people he greatly harmed at home and abroad.

Breaching virtually every positive promise made to the American people proved he can never be trusted and no longer has justification to serve.

Abroad, he escalated crimes of war and against humanity against Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

He supports aggression in Libya, Donbass, Ukraine, and Occupied Palestine.

He’s waging economic terrorism on Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and other countries.

He supports international terrorism while pretending to combat it.

As US president and commander-in-chief, he’s responsible for high crimes at home and abroad, legitimate impeachable offenses.

He committed acts of war against Iraq and Iran by terror-bombing Iraqi territory, killing deputy PMU leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and others, along with assassinating IRGC Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

All of the above are high crimes, just cause to impeach and remove him from office, what Dems and Republicans should support.

Clearly they won’t because they share guilt. The vast majority of Washington’s political class is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors — by supporting aggression, state terrorism, and other hostile actions

In response to Trump’s threat to target dozens of Iranian sites, including cultural ones, President Rouhani warned him “never (to) threaten the Iranian nation.”

In solidarity against imperial USA for assassinating General Soleimani, millions of Iranians took to the streets over the weekend and Monday to honor him and symbolically stand against the scourge America represents.

As a nation mourns the loss of its revered Quds Force commander, his assassination an act of war by any standard, Iran’s parliament discussed an appropriate response, the body’s spokesman Asadollah Abbasi saying:

“In reaction to the recent terrorist and cowardly assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his companions by the US and as decided by the presiding board, the triple-urgency motion will be put on the agenda of the parliament’s open session,” adding:

“The latest US action is viewed as ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ not only by the parliament’s presiding board but also by most world countries, and the ratification of the triple-urgency motion lends legal credit to this issue.”

On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif denounced the US for its “blatant disregard for the jus cogens in international law as well as for universally-recognized rights and immunities,” adding:

“This is the same schizophrenic approach that repugnantly threatens, in contravention of international law, to strike Iran’s cultural sites which are part of the shared human cultural and civilizational heritage.”

Killing Soleimani, a “voice of independence-seeking struggles” in the war-torn Middle East, was a “cowardly” attack on him and the Iranian nation, “a strategic blunder.”

The only way forward for restoration of regional peace and stability is “expulsion of the US from West Asia.”

Zarif stressed that Iran remains “the anchor of peace and security” in the Middle East, along with its development.

Peace and stability defeat US imperial aims. Endless wars and other hostile actions serve it — what its imperial scourge is all about.

%d bloggers like this: