Al-Tanf: The Fragile Military Base

22.10.2021

By Al-Ahed News Staff

An infographics detailing information regarding the al-Tanf military base in Syria which accommodates American and British troops.

Al-Tanf: The Fragile Military Base

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Top Trump Security Adviser Contradicts “Imminent Attack” Claim Behind Soleimani Assassination

October 20, 2021

Top Trump Security Adviser Contradicts “Imminent Attack” Claim Behind Soleimani Assassination

By Staff, Agencies

A new book that hit shelves today by Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg reveals that the Trump administration planned the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani as part of a “disproportional” response to attacks on US troops in Iraq by Shiite resistance groups. Kellogg was then-Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser, and also served as executive secretary and chief of staff for the US National Security Council under Trump.

“We had always considered him a legitimate target because he was a sponsor for terrorism and was directly responsible for the deaths and maiming of hundreds of Americans,” Kellogg writes about Soleimani in “War by Other Means: A General in the Trump White House,” according to the UK Daily Mail, which received an advance copy of the book.

Solemani commanded the Quds Force, an elite formation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard [IRG], and commanded Iranian forces in Syria fighting against the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] and al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups before leading the Iranian and Iraqi fight to push Daesh out of Iraq.

Despite being sanctioned by the United States as a “terrorist”, Soleimani enjoyed enormous prestige across the Middle East as the “linchpin” who united resistance groups to halt Daesh’s advance toward Baghdad when the Americans would not commit to anything more than airstrikes against Daesh.

Because of the anti-Daesh war, Soleimani was closely linked with resistance groups in Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces [PMF], which opposed the continued US presence in Iraq. According to Kellogg’s book, an exchange of strikes in late December 2019 is what pushed the White House over line and decided to take Soleimani out.

On December 27, 2019, the Shiite resistance group Kataib Hezbollah attacked an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk where US forces were based, killing a US contractor and injuring four US service members, as well as two Iraqi service members. The next day, the US launched an airstrike on Kataib Hezbollah positions, and that evening, protests in Baghdad descended on the US embassy in the Green Zone and set fire to some of its outer structures.

Washington blamed Iran for both of those attacks, and Soleimani in particular, who they learned would be secretly traveling to Baghdad in just a few days.

“But our response had barely begun,” Kellogg wrote about the December 28 airstrikes. “We had highly reliable intelligence reports affirming that our chief enemy here was Soleimani.”

“’The Iranians had crossed our ‘red line’ by killing an American and reinforced their folly by attacking our embassy in Baghdad. We would respond. And this time our response would be disproportional,” Kellogg wrote. “We jumped up the escalation ladder. Our answer would be unambiguous. Our target would be Soleimani.”

The airstrike, carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper combat drone, hit a group of vehicles at Baghdad International Airport just after midnight on January 3, 2020, killing 10 people. Among them was Soleimani, as well as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataib Hezbollah and deputy commander of the PMF.

The fury over the US attack, which was carried out without consulting the Iraqi government, led to the country’s parliament voting to ask all US forces to leave the country. However, Trump threatened to freeze Iraqi oil assets in a Federal Reserve bank account if Baghdad followed through.

“Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him,” Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort the day after the attacks. He would later claim that Soleimani planned on targeting a US embassy, then later increased his claim to four embassies.

After other senior administration leaders, including then-War Secretary Mark Esper, clarified that there wasn’t actually intelligence pointing to a specific attack Soleimani was allegedly planning, Trump momentarily let the mask slip by tweeting on January 13 that “it doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!”

Then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo similarly claimed Soleimani was “actively plotting to “take big action” against the US. “There would have been many Muslims killed as well, Iraqis and people in other countries as well. It was a strike that was aimed at both disrupting that plot, deterring further aggression, [and] we hope, setting the conditions for de-escalation, as well,” he told Fox News on January 3.

However, Pompeo also soon said he had no specific intelligence on a specific threat posed by Soleimani, and also admitted within a week that “we don’t know precisely when – and we don’t know precisely where” the supposed attack was to have taken place.

However, by July of 2020, Pompeo had changed his tune again, aligning more closely with what Kellogg writes in his book. His response came after Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, submitted a report on Soleimani’s assassination finding it was an “arbitrary killing” that violated the United Nations charter.

“The strike that killed General Soleimani was in response to an escalating series of armed attacks in preceding months by the Islamic Republic of Iran and ‘militias’ it supports on US forces and interests in the Middle East region,” Pompeo told Fox News on July 10. “It was conducted to deter Iran from launching or supporting further attacks against the United States or US interests, and to degrade the capabilities of the Quds Force.”

Colin Powell’s Death: Liar of the Century

19 Oct 2021

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Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Hussam AbdelKareem

Colin Powell was part of the Quartet (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Powell) of American officials who were responsible for the illegal, unethical, and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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Colin Powell passed away at the age of 84. In his eulogy, writers in the American press will certainly talk about the “brave soldier” who ascended the US army ranks to the “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” position and who eventually became the first African-American Secretary of State (he’s born to Jamaican parents). But in fact, he will be remembered for his role in Iraq’s invasion more than anything else in his career. Colin Powell was part of the Quartet (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Powell) of American officials who were responsible for the illegal, unethical, and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was Colin Powell who presented America’s case for the war on Iraq to the world in the famous UN Security Council session on Feb 5, 2003.

“Every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence”

– Colin Powell; Feb 5, 2003. 

During the UN Security Council session, Powell detailed the serious threats Iraq was posing to the world by its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) secret programs and its links with terrorism. He even went on to show a vial in his hand saying that it could be used to store Iraq’s Anthrax germs as part of biological warheads.  

Powell actually used that UN Security Council meeting as “show business”, using projectors and audio recordings to “prove” to the world that Iraq was an imminent threat and that the US has no other option but to go to war. Well, it was all lies, nothing but lies and fabrications. Powell was lying all-out when he talked about: 

– Iraq’s possession of mobile labs to produce WMD’s 

– Iraq’s links to Al-Qa’eda and Bin-Ladin.

– Iraq’s buying Uranium from Niger

– Iraq’s possession of long-range missiles (900 km)

All that was proven false. America failed to find any evidence to support those allegations even after years of extensive search operations all over Iraq after its invasion. 

Colin Powell was lying intentionally. He was not “mistaken”, he knew exactly what he was doing. His boss, Bush, tasked him with the dirty work of presenting a convincing “war case” to the world even if he needs to use lies, misleading information, and false evidence, and Powell accepted to do it. It’s as simple as that. It’s typical soldier behavior: obey the commander. He’s part of the crime and cannot distance himself from it as he tried to do at a later stage in his life. 

After he left office, Powell tried to blame others for what he said in the UN Security Council, portraying himself as “deceived” not as a liar. On Feb 16, 2011, The Guardian newspaper of the UK published an article titled “Former US secretary of state asks why CIA failed to warn him over Iraqi defector who has admitted fabricating WMD evidence”. Also in 2011, Powell told Al Jazeera News Channel that “I deeply regret some of the information I presented was wrong. It has blotted my record, but you know, there’s nothing I can do to change that blot”. And in 2017 Powell said in an interview on Bloomberg “I was more than embarrassed. I was mortified”.

Well, that can hardly be an apology. Talking about the CIA not informing him, his embarrassment, and the blot on his record is no more than an excuse and justification. 

Colin Powell died after he actively participated in destroying another country without any legal or moral basis. His name will remain in history’s list of invaders and barbarians.The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Abandoning Yemen? UNHRC Action Silences Yemeni Victims of Human Rights Abuses

October 16, 2021

Activists practice “physical distancing” at a Saturday morning vigil for Peace in Yemen, Union Square, NYC (Photo: Bill Ofenloch, Supplied)

By Kathy Kelly

Monday, October 11, marked the official closure of the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (also known as the Group of Experts or GEE). For nearly four years, this investigative group examined alleged human rights abuses suffered by Yemenis whose basic rights to food, shelter, safety, health care and education were horribly violated, all while they were bludgeoned by Saudi and US air strikes, drone attacks, and constant warfare since 2014.

“This is a major setback for all victims who have suffered serious violations during the armed conflict,” the GEE wrote in a statement the day after the UN Human Rights Council refused to extend a mandate for continuation of the group’s work. “The Council appears to be abandoning the people of Yemen,” the statement says, adding that “Victims of this tragic armed conflict should not be silenced by the decision of a few States.”

Prior to the vote, there were indications that Saudi Arabia and its allies, such as Bahrain (which sits on the UN Human Rights Council), had increased lobbying efforts worldwide in a bid to do away with the Group of Experts. Actions of the Saudi-led coalition waging war against Yemen had been examined and reported on by the Group of Experts. Last year, the Saudi bid for a seat on the Human Rights Council was rejected, but Bahrain serves as its proxy.

Bahrain is a notorious human rights violator and a staunch member of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-led coalition which buys billions of dollars worth of weaponry from the United States and other countries to bomb Yemen’s infrastructure, kill civilians, and displace millions of people.

The Group of Experts was mandated to investigate violations committed by all warring parties. So it’s possible that the Ansar Allah leadership, often known as the Houthis, also wished to avoid the group’s scrutiny. The Group of Experts’ mission has come to an end, but the fear and intimidation faced by Yemeni victims and witnesses continues.

Mwatana for Human Rights, an independent Yemeni organization established in 2007, advocates for human rights by reporting on issues such as the torture of detainees, grossly unfair trials, patterns of injustice, and starvation by warfare through the destruction of farms and water sources. Mwatana had hoped the UN Human Rights Council would grant the Group of Experts a multi-year extension. Members of Mwatana fear their voice will be silenced within the United Nations if the Human Rights Council’s decision is an indicator of how much the council cares about Yemenis.

“The GEE is the only independent and impartial mechanism working to deter war crimes and other violations by all parties to the conflict,” said Radhya Almutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights. She believes that doing away with this body will give a green light to continue violations that condemn millions in Yemen to “‘unremitting violence, death and constant fear.’”

The Yemen Data Project, founded in 2016, is an independent entity aiming to collect data on the conduct of the war in Yemen. Their most recent monthly report tallied the number of air raids in September, which had risen to the highest monthly rate since March.

Sirwah, a district in the Marib province, was—for the ninth consecutive month—the most heavily targeted district in Yemen, with twenty-nine air raids recorded throughout September. To get a sense of scale, imagine a district the size of three city neighborhoods being bombed twenty-nine times in one month.

Intensified fighting has led to large waves of displacement within the governorate, and sites populated by soaring numbers of refugees are routinely impacted by shelling and airstrikes. Pressing humanitarian needs include shelter, food, water, sanitation, hygiene, and medical care. Without reports from the Yemen Data Project, the causes of the dire conditions in Sirwah could be shrouded in secrecy. This is a time to increase, not abandon, attention to Yemenis trapped in war zones.

In early 1995, I was among a group of activists who formed a campaign called Voices in the Wilderness to publicly defy economic sanctions against Iraq. Some of us had been in Iraq during the 1991 US-led Operation Desert Storm invasion. The United Nations reported that hundreds of thousands of children under age five had already died and that the economic sanctions contributed to these deaths. We felt compelled to at least try to break the economic sanctions against Iraq by declaring our intent to bring medicines and medical relief supplies to Iraqi hospitals and families.

But to whom would we deliver these supplies?

Voices in the Wilderness founders agreed that we would start by contacting Iraqis in our neighborhoods and also try to connect with groups concerned with peace and justice in the Middle East. So I began asking Iraqi shopkeepers in my Chicago neighborhood for advice; they were understandably quite wary.

One day, as I walked away from a shopkeeper who had actually given me an extremely helpful phone number for a parish priest in Baghdad, I overheard another customer ask what that was all about. The shopkeeper replied: “Oh, they’re just a group of people trying to make a name for themselves.”

I felt crestfallen. Now, twenty-six years later, it’s easy for me to understand his reaction. Why should anyone trust people as strange as we must have seemed?

No wonder I’ve felt high regard for the UN Group of Experts who went to bat for human rights groups struggling for “street cred” regarding Yemen.

When Yemeni human rights advocates try to sound the alarm about terrible abuses, they don’t just face hurt feelings when met with antagonism. Yemeni human rights activists have been jailed, tortured, and disappeared. Yemen’s civil society activists do need to make a name for themselves.

On October 7, the day the UN Human Rights Council voted not to continue the role of the Group of Experts with regard to Yemen, the United Nations agreed to set up an investigative group to monitor the Taliban. However, the agreement assured the United States and NATO that abuses committed under their command would not be subject to investigation.

Politicizing UN agencies and procedures makes it all the more difficult for people making inquiries to establish trusting relationships with people whose rights should be upheld by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.

When I was approaching shopkeepers for ideas about people we might contact in Iraq, I was just beginning to grapple with Professor Noam Chomsky’s essays about “worthy victims” and “unworthy victims.”

That second phrase seemed to me a terrible oxymoron. How could a victim of torture, bereavement, hunger, displacement, or disappearance be an “unworthy victim?” Over the next thirty years, I grew to understand the cruel distinction between worthy and unworthy victims.

A powerful country or group can use the plight of “worthy victims” to build support for war or military intervention. The “unworthy victims” also suffer, but because their stories could lead people to question the wisdom of a powerful country’s attacks on civilians, stories about those victims are likely to fade away.

Consider, in Afghanistan, the plight of those who survived an August 29 US drone attack against the family of Zamari Ahmadi. Ten members of the family were killed. Seven were children. As of October 13, the family had not yet heard anything from the United States.

I greatly hope Mwatana, The Yemen Data Project, The Yemen Foundation, and all of the journalists and human rights activists passionately involved in opposing the war that rages in Yemen are recognized and become names that occasion respect, gratitude, and support. I hope they’ll continue documenting violations and abuse. But I know their work on the ground in Yemen will now be even more dangerous.

Meanwhile, the lobbyists who’ve served the Saudi government so well have certainly made a name for themselves in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

Grassroots activists committed to ending human rights abuses must uphold solidarity with civil society groups defending human rights in Yemen and Afghanistan. Governments waging war and protecting human rights abusers must immediately end their pernicious practices.

In the United States, peace activists must tell the military contractors, lobbyists, and elected representatives: “Not in our name!” With no strings attached, the US government should be proactive and end war forever.

– Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. This article first appeared in The Progressive magazine and was contributed to The Palestine Chronicle

Muqtada The Conqueror gains ground in Iraqi poll

October 12, 2021

In recent elections, Muqtada al-Sadr’s popularity was confirmed, but the infighting in Iraq is just starting

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Muqtada The Conqueror gains ground in Iraqi poll

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It would be tempting to picture the Iraqi parliamentary elections last Sunday as a geopolitical game-changer. Well, it’s complicated – in more ways than one.

Let’s start with the abstention rate. Of the 22 million eligible voters able to choose 329 members of Parliament from 3,227 candidates and 167 parties, only 41% chose to cast their ballots, according to the Iraq High Electoral Commission (IHEC)

Then there’s the notorious fragmentation of the Iraqi political chessboard. Initial results offer a fascinating glimpse. Of the 329 seats, the Sadrists – led by Muqtada al-Sadr – captured 73, a Sunni coalition has 43, a Shi’ite coalition – led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki – has 41 and the Kurd faction led by Barzani has 32.

In the current electoral setup, apart from Shi’ite coalitions, Sunnis have two main blocks and the Kurds have two main parties ruling autonomous Kurdistan: the Barzani gang – which do an array of shady deals with the Turks – and the Talabani clan, which is not much cleaner.

What happens next are extremely protracted negotiations, not to mention infighting. Once the results are certified, President Barham Saleh, in theory, has 15 days to choose the next Parliament speaker, and Parliament has one month to choose a President. Yet the whole process could last months.

The question is already in everyone’s minds in Baghdad: true to most forecasts, the Sadrists may eventually come up with the largest number of seats in Parliament. But will they be able to strike a solid alliance to nominate the next prime minister?

Then there’s the strong possibility they may actually prefer to remain in the background, considering the next few years will be extremely challenging for Iraq all across the spectrum: on the security and counter-terrorism front; on the ghastly economic front; on the corruption and abysmal management front; and last but not least, on what exactly the expected US troop withdrawal really means.

The takeover of nearly one-third of Iraqi territory by Daesh from 2014 to 2017 may be a distant memory by now, but the fact remains that out of 40 million Iraqis, untold numbers have to deal on a daily basis with rampant unemployment, no healthcare, meager education opportunities and even no electricity.

The American “withdrawal” in December is a euphemism: 2,500 combat troops will actually be repositioned into unspecified “non-combat” roles. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis – Sunni and Shi’ite – won’t accept it. A solid intel source – Western, not West Asian – assured me assorted Shi’ite outfits have the capability to overrun all American assets in Iraq in only six days, the Green Zone included.

Sistani rules

To paint the main players in the Iraqi political scene as merely a “Shi’ite Islamist-dominated ruling elite” is crass Orientalism. They are not “Islamist” – in a Salafi-jihadi sense.

Neither they have set up a political coalition “tied to militias backed by Iran”: that’s a crass reductionism. These “militias” are in fact the People’s Mobilization Units (PMUs), which were encouraged from the start by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to defend the nation against takfiris and Salafi-jihadis of the Daesh kind, and are legally incorporated into the Ministry of Defense.

What is definitely correct is that Muqtada al-Sadr is in a direct clash with the main Shi’ite political parties – and especially those members involved in massive corruption.

Muqtada is a very complex character. He’s essentially an Iraqi nationalist. He’s opposed to any form of foreign interference, especially any lingering American troop presence – in whatever shape or form. As a Shi’ite, he has to be an enemy of politicized, corrupt Shi’ite profiteers.

Elijah Magnier has done a sterling job focusing on the importance of a new fatwa on the elections issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani, even more important than the “Fatwa of Reform and Changes” which addressed the occupation of northern Iraq by Daesh in 2014 and led to the creation of the PMUs.

In this new fatwa Sistani, based in the holy city of Najaf, compels voters to search for an “honest candidate” capable of “bringing about real change” and removing “old and habitually corrupt candidates.” Sistani believes “the path of reform is possible” and “hope … must be exploited to remove the incompetent” from ruling Iraq.

The conclusion is inescapable: vast swathes of the dispossessed in Iraq chose to identify this “honest candidate” as Muqtada al-Sadr.

That’s hardly surprising. Muqtada is the youngest son of the late, immensely respected Marja’, Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who was assassinated by the Saddam Hussein apparatus. Muqtada’s immensely popular base, inherited from his father, congregates the poor and the downtrodden, as I saw for myself numerous times, especially in Sadr City in Baghdad and in Najaf and Karbala.

During the Petraeus surge in 2007, I was received with open arms in Sadr City, talked to quite a few Sadrist politicians, saw how the Mahdi army operates both in the military and social realm and observed on the spot many of the Sadrist social projects.

In the Shi’ite collective unconscious Muqtada, at the time based in Najaf, made his mark in early 2004 as the first prominent Shi’ite religious leader cum politician to confront the US occupation head-on, and tell them to leave. The CIA put a price on his head. The Pentagon wanted to whack him – in Najaf. Grand Ayatollah Sistani – and his tens of millions of followers – supported him.

Afterward, he spent a long time perfecting his theological chops in Qom – while remaining in the background, always extremely popular and learning a thing or two about becoming politically savvy. That’s reflected in his current positioning: always opposed to the US occupation forces, but willing to work with Washington to expedite their departure.

Old (imperial) habits die hard. Out of his status of sworn enemy, routinely dismissed as a “volatile cleric” by Western media, at least now Muqtada is recognized in Washington as a key player and even an interlocutor.

Yet that’s not the case of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq group, which was born of the Sadrist base. The Americans still don’t understand that this is not a militia but a party: they are branded by the US as a terrorist organization.

US occupation actors also conveniently forget that the way Iraq’s “dysfunctional” Parliament is configured, along confessional lines, is inextricably linked to the project of Western liberal democracy being bombed into Iraq.

Geopolitically, looking ahead, Iraq’s future in West Asia from now on will be inextricably linked to Eurasian integration. Not surprisingly, Iran and Russia were among the first actors to officially congratulate Baghdad for running a smooth election.

Muqtada and the Sadrists will be very much aware that the Axis of Resistance – Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah in Lebanon – is strengthening by the minute. And that is directly linked to the Iran-Russia-China partnership strengthening Eurasia integration. But first things first:  let’s get an “honest” prime minister and Parliament in place.

Iraq Elects 2021: The People’s Decision in The Spotlight!

October 10 2021

Iraq Elects 2021: The People’s Decision in The Spotlight!

By Mohammed Sleem

The 10th of October 2021 is the day of Iraq’s parliamentary elections. The world is watching the democratic operation as the Iraqis are on spot to elect the best choice for their country, amid severe crises on several levels, especially the economic and political ones.

Among the external ambitions, the western countries are willing to put their hands on the Iraqi territories, especially the American and British ones; and with the several pluralism views and parties taking action on the political arena, the people’s decision is the most important to set a whole new perspective, orientation, and goals for Iraq itself.

Since 2003 the country has been lacking stabilization. On the economic level, corruption is one of the main factors the people were suffering from, as they have been struggling to find different income resources for the goal of living, and of course the mismanagement of the available minerals and natural resources made things harsher; not to forget the plundering taking place by the hands of external armies who are absurdly executing the plans of the American administration and the British ones also.

Besides, the security challenges represent a vital issue to any new government emerging to power since the bombings and the impact of the terrorist organizations are still in place, leading to a huge number of casualties and financial losses.

On the elections side, several coalitions are heading towards the political process, each has their own strategy to cure what was considered a total mess.

The electoral programs are the main concern every party is looking to deliver and implement, presenting the reform plans that suit every coalition on a side and securing its strategic choices in addition.

The Popular Mobilization Units, better known by the Arabic name of al-Hashd al-Shaabi, are one of the most essential sides that several sides are looking to dissolve, since protecting Iraq from the external ambitions doesn’t match the plans of the Americans and their partners. Sheikh Qais al-Khazaali, the Secretary General of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement stated earlier that “The United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and ‘Israel’ want to dissolve the Popular Mobilization Units.” He added during his meeting with sheikhs and elders of the Rumaitha clans in Muthanna that “hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to weaken the front that adopts the defense of the Popular Mobilization,” describing the demand for its dissolution as “catastrophic.”

Earlier, al-Khazaali stressed that “the dimensions of the upcoming elections include key issues, such as the future of the Popular Mobilization and the fate of the Chinese agreement, and addressing the issue of energy,” adding that “external intentions are struggling and trying to outweigh cuffs on it.”

The parties backing the PMU are looking forward to protect the strategy that proved its success earlier against the takfiri groups especially when Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’ terrorist group] took over the third of the Iraqi lands back in 2015, to prevent any approaches to bring back the external ambitions, through destroying the Iraqi capabilities as a united country against all the external proxies and tools.

A recent tool the western countries are backing and depending on to implement their policies is represented by the NGOs that were active in 2019 demonstrations against the government corruption, and funded by the American administration in order to mix the papers in, and make a new ambiance to control the people’s minds and decisions.

Meanwhile, there are several parties that are calling to protect the PMU, the most important are The Fatah Alliance, which was formed in 2018 under the chairmanship of Hadi al-Ameri, the Secretary General of the Badr Organization, and which includes political wings of a number of armed factions, parties and movements, the most important of which is the Badr Organization, the Sindh rally headed by MP Ahmed al-Assadi, leader of the Popular Mobilization, and the “Sadiqoun” movement headed by Qais al-Khazaali, the Secretary General of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq movement.

The coalition, which is running with 73 candidates, also includes the Supreme Islamic Council headed by former MP Hammam Hammoudi, the Islamic Action Organization, the Jihad and Construction Movement headed by the PMU leader Hassan al-Sari and the “Sayyid al-Shuhada” Brigades.

To sum up, the Iraqi situation almost looks like the Lebanese one, external interventions, plans and ambitions facing the people of the land, and in order to prevent all what’s mentioned, the people themselves must take the decision, which should be brave enough to stand against such schemes.

العروض الإيرانية بالليرة اللبنانية فمن ينافس؟

أكتوبر/ 8 تشرين الأول 2021

 دعم إيراني متجدّد للبنان: عرض مُغرٍ لقطاع الطاقة
ناصر قنديل

لا يحتاج الأمر إلى تحليل ونقاش لاستنتاج محورية قطاع الكهرباء في أزمة لبنان المالية، فأزمة المازوت هي فرع من أزمة الكهرباء، ومتى توافرت الكهرباء تراجعت الحاجة للمازوت إلى أقل من الربع، وتأمين الكهرباء يستدعي زيادة الإنتاج، وهذا يتطلب تمويلاً لإنشاء المعامل ومثله لتشغيلها، ومن دون زيادة الإنتاج فإن تشغيل المعامل القائمة يستدعي توفير الوقود اللازم، وهذا يحتاج للتمويل، والتمويل بالعملات الصعبة، والدولة ومصرفها المركزي لم يعد لديهما القدرة على تأمين هذا التمويل، وشراء العملات الصعبة من السوق سيرفع سعر الصرف ويدفع بالدولار إلى أسعار مقلقة تعني مزيداً من الانهيار، والذهاب لتمويل عبر القروض بلا أفق، لأنه تراكم لديون لا يملك لبنان جواباً عن كيفية سدادها، وعندما يجري البحث بتمويل معامل جديدة من قروض خارجية سواء عبر صندوق النقد الدولي أو سواه، مهما كانت ميسرة ومؤخرة، تبقى كلفة التشغيل بقروض كمثل قرض البنك الدولي المفترض لتمويل استجرار الغاز المصري وشراء الكهرباء من الأردن، وهي قروض قد تتوافر لجزء من الحاجة وجزء من الوقت، لكنها لن تتوافر لكل الحاجة وكل الوقت.

أمام لبنان طريق وحيد لتفادي السقوط، وهو أن يحصل على وقود التشغيل بطريق يشبه المساعدة العراقية، ولا يبدو أن الحكومات العربية الأخرى التي تملك قدرات نفطية جاهزة للسير على خطى العراق، لكن إيران سبقت الجميع وقالت بلسان مسؤوليها مراراً، وكرر الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله التأكيد على جاهزية إيران لتأمين المحروقات التي يحتاجها لبنان، بما فيها وقود تشغيل معامل الكهرباء بالليرة اللبنانية، وهذا العرض الذي لم يلق الاهتمام اللازم تحول إلى مبادرة مباشرة من حزب الله بجلب سفن كسر الحصار، التي قدمت حلاً لجانب من أزمة فقدان المازوت من الأسواق، وأصابت سلم تسعير الاحتكارات التي فرضت معادلات تتحكم بموجبها بالتسعير والسوق، وإذا كانت معامل توليد الكهرباء التي يسعى لبنان لتأمينها تحت شعار زيادة التغذية ثم زيادة التعرفة، لوضع حد لخسائر كهرباء لبنان، فهذا يستدعي ربط التعرفة الجديدة للكهرباء بسعر الدولار، الذي سيضرب سقوفاً قياسية إذا بقي تأمين الوقود اللازم للتشغيل مرتبطاً بتمويل يعتمد على شراء الدولارات من السوق، وهذا يعني الانتقال “من تحت الدلف لتحت المزراب”.

خيار لبنان الوحيد الإنقاذي الذي ربما لا ينتبه له المسؤولون، أو يخافون أن ينتبهوا له، هو أن يكون لدى لبنان من يزوده بالوقود اللازم لتشغيل معامل الكهرباء بالليرة اللبنانية، فذلك هو الطريق الوحيد الذي يمنع إسهام الطلب على الدولارات اللازمة لشراء الوقود في التسبب برفع متواصل لسعر الصرف وبالتالي سعر التعرفة، وصولاً لحد الانفجار، وتأمين الوقود بالليرة اللبنانية يقع في صلب العروض الإيرانية المتكررة، والعرض الذي أعاد تقديمه وزير الخارجية الإيراني حول بناء معامل الكهرباء يستحق من يناقش تفاصيله مع الجانب الإيراني، لأن لا نقاش حول الجوانب التقنية وأهلية الشركات الإيرانية وقد قامت بإنهاض قطاع الكهرباء في بلادها، وصولاً لتحقيق فائض تبيعه إيران لباكستان والعراق وعدد من دول آسيا الوسطى، وحالياً لأفغانستان وفقاً للتفاهم الجديد بين الحكومتين الإيرانية والأفغانية، ومسؤولية الحكومة اللبنانية كبيرة اليوم في أن تحمل العرض الإيراني بمضمونه التفصيلي لجهة الاعتماد على تمويل بالليرة اللبنانية، وأن تذهب للمعترضين داخلياً وخارجياً وتقول إنه الحل الوحيد الذي يناسب لبنان، وعلى من يعترض أو يرفض أو يهدد بعقوبات أن يقول لا تشتروا من إيران فنحن جاهزون لتزويدكم بالمثل بذات الشروط والأسعار وبالتسعير بالليرة اللبنانية، وما لم نحصل على مثيل فالأمر يستحق المخاطرة بالتعرض للعقوبات، لأنه طريق وحيد لعدم الانهيار، فما نفع الموت وأنت غير معاقب طالما أمامك فرصة العيش ولتكن معاقباً، وعندها تعرف العدو من الصديق.

تجربة سفن كسر الحصار تقول إن حكومة تملك بعض الشجاعة تستطيع أن تستفيد من العروض الإيرانية لتحفيز الآخرين لعروض مقابلة، أو على الأقل للاستثناء من العقوبات.

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Iraq’s Nujaba: Next PM Must Cancel US-ordered Agreements, Expel Occupying Forces

October 6, 2021

Iraq’s Nujaba: Next PM Must Cancel US-ordered Agreements, Expel Occupying Forces

By Staff, Agencies

Secretary General of Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba resistance movement, Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, said the country’s next prime minister must terminate all agreements reached under the dictates of the United States and also expel all occupying forces from Iraqi soil.

In a statement on Tuesday, al-Kaabi said the US-ordered agreements give Iraq’s resources away to the hegemonic country’s colonial projects and must therefore be canceled.

The Iraqi resistance leader added that the next Iraqi prime minister must end the games of the US military base which acts under the name of Washington’s embassy in the Green Zone and prevent it from dominating Iraq’s oil sales.

The Middle Eastern country is set to hold an early parliamentary election on October 10, amid a crippled economy that led to a mass protest movement in 2019.

This will be Iraq’s fifth parliamentary vote since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein.

The vote was originally scheduled to take place next year, but was brought forward in line with demands of the protesters, namely reforms and fight against corruption.

In his statement, Sheikh al-Kaabi also said another criterion for the next premier is that they must officially criminalize the normalization of relations with the Zionist regime and punish those who act to materialize it as the greatest betrayal against the Muslim world.

He further stressed that the Iraqi premier must resist Emirati and Saudi schemes to destroy Iraq’s economy and security.

Highlighting the need for a healthy political system that serves the Iraqi people and maintains the country’s sovereignty, Sheikh al-Kaabi said one of the criteria for the future prime minister should be a commitment to expelling all occupying forces from Iraq.

Calls for the expulsion of American forces have soared since the US assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in early 2020.

Fed up with the US targeting of top anti-terror forces, Iraq’s resistance groups have also vowed not to lay down their arms or cease their struggle until the expulsion of all American troops from their country.

The future prime minister must also take a stand against foreign colonial companies that plunder Iraqi resources, al-Kaabi said, adding the Hezbollah al-Nuajab Movement does not have any candidate in the upcoming elections, but called on Iraqi people to turn out en masse in the polls.

Under the new Iraqi electoral law, Iraqis are now able to vote for individual candidates rather than parties for the first time. This was one of the demands of the 2019 protests.

Iraq is emerging from almost two decades of war and militancy since the 2003 US-led invasion and the 2011 withdrawal, which saw the rise of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorist group and the return of American forces with the professed aim of defeating Daesh.

The 2019 protests were also against youth joblessness, crumbling public services and foreign meddling in the country’s affairs.

Iraq’s Agriculture Reaps the Despoiled Seeds of US Meddling

October 5, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Farah Hage-Hassan

The poisonous effects of American interference and failed policies are still affecting Iraq’s agricultural sector today. Here’s how.

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  • Decades of US interference have plagued Iraq’s agricultural sector
  • “You lied!”

    Those were the screams of former US Army veteran Mike Prysner echoing in the lecture hall during a speech by George W. Bush, and the lasting trauma still resonates in the ears of millions of Iraqis and Americans today, almost two decades later.

    From a full-scale invasion under the pretext of overthrowing Saddam Hussein to the insurgence of ISIS, Iraq has been plagued with endless wars and destruction. This invasion and endless interventions aggravated the marginalization of sectors in Iraqi society and allowed the internal state of Iraq to crumble under sectarianism and violence.

    The lasting effects of the US policies are especially present within the aftermath of the agricultural sector among others. Farmers across the country continue to be displaced and doubt remains overcast on Iraq’s environmental capabilities and the future of agricultural development.

    American invasion 

    One of the many false pretenses for the heavily documented war was the alleged harboring of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell infamously claimed that the US was aware of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and their role in terrorism. Powell’s bold statements and deceptive assertions regarding the evidence that was available have ultimately haunted the US for what has become known as the very public “campaign of lies” the US tricked global citizens into believing.  

    For over 7 years, Iraq was invaded and bombed by the US and the coalition of the willing, not to mention their use of white phosphorous munitions. Although they claimed that white phosphorus was used whilst fully considering the incidental effects on civilians, the secondary effects on Iraq’s agriculture were most definitely not taken into account.

    Deliberate destruction

    The invasion and destruction that accompanied the war did not only permanently damage arable lands with mines and cluster ammunition, but the suspension of government agricultural institutions and irrigation projects also caused disastrous results to the population.

    From 2002 to 2008, agriculture’s contribution to the country’s GDP has decreased from almost 9% to 3.6% due to challenges created by war, social instability, and institutional and economic concerns. 

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  • Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value-added, % of GDP (Source: World Bank)
  • In a final blow after causing significant damage to the agricultural sector, the US secured its monopoly over the Iraqi farming industry and the future of agriculture by issuing Order 81. The Order was described as an attempt to “rebuild” Iraq’s agriculture industry by the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, Paul Bremer.

    What was Order 81?

    After Coalition Provisional Authority Order 81 was implemented, farmers were forbidden from conserving, distributing, or propagating harvested seeds, resulting in a dependency on big businesses such as Monsanto, Cargill Inc., and Dow Chemical. As a consequence, Iraq has only been able to meet 4% of its seed demands since 2005. These distributors are known to patent their seeds and collect fees without considering if crops were proven to contain their proprietary genetic information.

    Monsanto, an agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation founded in 1901, is notorious for its contribution to the neutron initiators inside the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, as well as for producing Agent Orange. The US military used Agent Orange in Vietnam during the infamous operation Ranch Hand, destroying crops and ultimately causing half a million Vietnamese children to be born with birth defects and millions of others left with cancer and other serious health conditions. 

    Dying of thirst

    Reconstruction efforts in Iraq also targeted the distribution of safe drinking water. 

    Millions of dollars were lost in the attempt and efforts failed, with only one-third of the objectives reached in the context of providing safe drinking water. 

    Iraq’s infrastructure was heavily bombed in the 1990s after the US-led coalition conducted massive airstrikes on the region during the gulf war. Water and sewerage treatment facilities were heavily damaged. As people suffered from a lack of access to clean water, diseases multiplied.

    The US war has critically aggravated the water crisis. Water is scarcely passing through the Tigris and Euphrates as is, causing contaminated water to reach crops, and in turn poisoning much of the population. The UN Security Council described the effects of the war as returning Iraq to the “pre-industrial age”, and warned of the imminent catastrophe that would hit the Iraqi population. 

    The Tigris River is bordered by Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. Along with the Euphrates, they create a river system that encircles Mesopotamia known as the Fertile Crescent. The Tigris is an important source of transportation and irrigation, with a history dating back to the earliest known civilizations.

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    Tigris River (Global Atlas)

    Scorched earth

    The catastrophic insurgence of ISIS ripped Iraq’s already suffering sectors into developmental and economic shreds. 

    The US policies created a weak state that resulted in the marginalization of considerable sectors of Iraqi society. ISIS militants, armed partially with CIA-funded weapons, developed into one of the goriest terrorist organizations of our time. 

    The world watched in horror as ISIS became globally renowned for unspeakable atrocities like beheadings, kidnapping of women and children, and numerous suicide bombings and terrorist attacks that not only affected the Middle East but many western countries, especially Europe. 

    ISIS used the burning tactic to terrorize inhabitants, laid landmines, and destroyed agricultural equipment. IEDs were frequently utilized to fortify their defense. They attempted to meticulously carry out a form of ecocide, as their “scorched earth” tactics took hold. Oil wells were set on fire and thousands of civilians came close to suffocation and others suffered respiratory complications.

    In a final effort to devastate their targets, they booby-trapped escape routes, barns, and pump stations. 

    The presence of the terrorist group forced agricultural workers and farmers to evacuate their farmlands during the bloody conflicts. Numerous families retell their experiences of being forced to abandon their farming communities when ISIS militants surrounded the area in mid-2014. The same families who evacuated their homes reported returning to their homes post-ISIS and finding them heavily booby-trapped. Numerous families have lost children and relatives after bombs inexplicably detonated on their properties. 

    A glimpse of hope

    Away from the nightmares that haunt Iraq, as one of many initiatives, Iraq’s holy shrines have begun to establish massive farms for relying on agricultural production and providing national agricultural products that are distinguished by quality, as well as meat at subsidized prices.

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  • Farms administrated by the Imam Hussein Holy Shrine (Website)
  • Agricultural cities are being established to provide the cultivation of wheat, barley, yellow corn, fodder, jet, and cattle, as well as raising sheep and cows.

    Despite the seemingly irreversible effects of America’s assaults and intrusion on Iraq’s wellbeing have undoubtedly damaged the country, things can still be turned around. With Iraq’s Parliamentary elections looming, the crucial vote of the youth may have the power to carry Iraq out of decade-long darkness and into the light. 

    Secretive UK Base Linked to US Assassination of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani

    October 4, 2021

    Secretive UK Base Linked to US Assassination of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani

    By Staff, Agencies

    A new research reveals that a secretive UK intelligence base was likely involved in the US military’s drone strike that assassinated Iran’s Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in early 2020, among its other controversial targeted killings.

    According to the research, it “was probable” that the targeted killing of General Soleimani – who headed the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards [IRG] – had been planned using information obtained from the Menwith Hill intelligence base, run by the UK Royal Air Force, in Yorkshire, The Guardian reported on Saturday.

    The research, titled ‘Menwith Hill in 3D, Domes, Data and Drone Strikes,’ was presented at a special meeting of the Menwith Hill Accountability Campaign, which works to raise public awareness meant to make the facility accountable for its activities.

    Menwith Hill, the report said, “acted as a foreign outpost of the US National Security Agency [NSA].”

    The research also raised questions about whether British personnel on the site are involved in assisting deadly US drone strikes – in particular in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.

    “The involvement of the UK and Menwith Hill in an assassination that threatened to spark a war should be of great concern,” Barnaby Pace, an investigative journalist, wrote in the report in reference to General Soleimani’s assassination. “The UK government’s failure to assure the public that the base was not involved raises deep questions about the accountability for actions at the base.”

    He also complained that the US and UK forces at Menwith Hill “operate beyond public scrutiny and accountability,” and that, unless there were change, “Orwellian surveillance systems and extrajudicial executions exposed in recent years will likely continue.”

    “Intelligence programs at Menwith Hill have reportedly played a key role in operations to ‘eliminate’ people in Yemen, as part of a deadly drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths in a country that neither the UK nor US has declared war with,” he added.

    “Any US military activity or US security agency activity carried out at Menwith Hill [must] be carried out in such a way as to make those responsible fully accountable to the UK.”

    Menwith Hill is the largest known overseas site of the NSA, with 600 US personnel and 500 British civilians on site.

    The base is part of an eavesdropping network, able to collect data from hundreds of millions of emails and phone calls daily and of pinpointing phones on the ground, according to the files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden. Information obtained can be used in “capture-kill” operations.

    Late last year, a senior Iranian Judiciary official said British security services firm GS4 had been linked to General Soleimani’s assassination.

    Agents of the company handed the information of General Soleimani and his entourage to the US as soon as they entered the Baghdad International Airport, outside of which the then Quds Force commander was murdered by the US drone raid, Tehran Prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr told Mizan on December 31, 2020.

    General Soleimani was visiting Baghdad at the official invitation of the Iraqi government when he was assassinated, along with his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, and their other companions.

    Both commanders were highly popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

    The latest revelations have prompted calls from human rights campaigners for London to provide explanations on whether Yorkshire’s Menwith Hill base has been directly involved in the carrying out of US drone strikes.

    A Severe Blow to the CIA: Iraqi Security Captures 25 ISIS Terrorists

    OCTOBER 1, 2021

     ARABI SOURI

    Iraqi National Security Service forces arrest ISIS terrorists

    In a severe blow to the destabilizing and terrorism sponsored by the CIA and its affiliates, the Iraqi security forces captured 25 terrorists all from the US-sponsored ISIS terrorist organization in several provinces.

    Iraqi National Security Service forces managed to arrest 25 terrorists in a security operation that lasted several days in the so-called states of Nineveh, Dajleh (Tigris), Jazira, and Salah al-Din of ISIS. The terrorist organization calls itself (Islamist State in Iraq and Sham – Levant), and calls the sectors in which it operates as states following the lead of the ‘state of Israel’.

    The Iraqi official media reporting the news said that the detainees confessed to being members of the terrorist organization and that they have committed a number of crimes against the civilians and Iraqi forces, adding that ‘all the terrorists were referred to the competent legal authorities to take fair measures against them.’


    As the US and Turkey are recycling their terrorists from Iraq and Syria to other new fronts like the newly opened in Afghanistan, the Iraqi security in coordination with the Iraqi PMU have intensified their counter-terrorism operations. A joint force of the Popular Mobilization Units and the Iraqi security forces carried out a pre-emptive security operation to pursue the remnants of the ISIS organization on the island of Salah al-Din, where several dens and tunnels that were used by the organization’s members to hide and move on the island were destroyed.

    This comes three days after a security operation carried out by the Iraqi PMU in coordination with the Iraqi National Security Service forces led to the eliminating of two ISIS terrorists in the Tarmiyah town in the Salah al-Din governorate north of the capital Baghdad, one of the eliminated ISIS terrorists was a suicide bomber.

    It’s no secret anymore that the USA created these terrorist groups starting with the ‘Mujahideen’ in Afghanistan from who Al Qaeda emerged in the 80s of last century and it created the ISIS terrorist group where it trained them in special camps in Jordan and Turkey, and smuggled them into Syria and Iraq loaded with state of the art weapons, satellite communication devices, hundreds of machine-gun mounted brand new 4 x 4 Toyota pickup trucks, and provided them with top intelligence information to effect regime change in Syria and to return to Iraq after the withdrawal of the US troops from it.

    Former US Secretary of State, the dinosaur politician traveling in his private jet preaching about the dangers of climate change John Kerry put it during a meeting with the so-called Syrian opposition leaders this way: ‘We saw ISIS growing, we saw them heading to Damascus, we thought Assad will be pressured to give (us) concessions, and instead, he (Assad) brought Russia in and now it’s a different situation.

    We saw ISIS growing and threatening Assad, he called in Russia and it’s a different situation now.’ ~John Kerry, he’s not in prison!

    Now you know why Trump killed Iranian Revered General Qassim Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis?

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    Israeli Aggressions Against Iraq: From Subversions to Normalization Attempts

    September 30, 2021

    Source: Al Mayadeen

    By Ali Jezzini

    The Israeli occupation has attempted to destabilize Iraq since the sixties. How is the Israeli Occupation trying to infiltrate Iraqi society?

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    Iraqi Society has been a target for pro-normalization Propaganda in Past years

    On the 24th of the current month, a conference was held in Erbil, the capital city of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The conference of “Peace and Reclamation,” called for the normalization of relations with the Israeli occupation under the shady slogans of peace and establishing civil society organizations.  

    The conference, organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications (CPC), was called “an illegal gathering” by the Iraqi government. The CPC is an organization that openly calls for the normalization of relations between the Arab states and “Israel”.

    For a foreign observer, the story might look like it started here, and one might think, isolating the Iraqis from their national and cultural context, that this reaction is just a mere prejudice from the Iraqis in the face of something they ignore or never have experienced. But is it the case? 

    A History of Sabotage 

    Despite Iraq not sharing a direct border with Occupied Palestine, the country was a target for countless Israeli aggressions during the last century. Even before the foundation of the Israeli entity in 1948, contact has been made as early as the thirties through the Jewish agency with some Kurdish groups in northern Iraq. In the forties and fifties, simple contact was transformed into real military espionage committed by Kumran Ali Bedir-Khan a Kurdish leader with close ties to “Israel”.

    These espionage attempts continued throughout the sixties as well until the rebellion started in autumn 1961 in northern Iraqi regions. Eventually, a larger scale training and supply operation to the insurgents in the north was launched following Kurdish leaders from the Kurdish democratic party (KDP) meeting with Israeli officials during that year. 

    Israeli attempts to destabilize the country go back to at least the sixties when the Israelis intervened with the help of the SAVAK, the former Shah of Iran intelligence Agency, to assist the militants of the KDP led by Moustafa Barazani. The insurgents agreed on this supply training Israeli operation in 1963 following their initial hesitation. There were reports about unidentified arms cache in the region, and  Mossad agents never found any difficulty accessing the northern zones in Iraq to fuel the insurgency.

    In August 1965, the Israelis provided a training course code-named Marvad (carpet) for Peshmerga (the military force of Barazani at that time). Israeli-backed militias not only destabilized the region and attacked Iraqi military personnel and installations, but also civilian infrastructures. Attacking the Kirkuk oil field which produced a large portion of Iraq’s Oil at that time was one of these attacks.

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  • Mustafa Barzani accompanied by Israeli Occupation President Zalman Shazar in the Occupied Lands,1968
  • Following the Shah of Iran signing the 1975 Algier agreement with Iraq, Israelis objected to the Shah and called it a “betrayal to the Kurds.” This abandonment led to the KDP’s demise and a subsequent de-escalation of the violence in the north, although contacts with “Israel” were maintained afterward.  

    The first official acknowledgment of the Israeli occupation’s aid to the insurgency dates to September 29 1980 when Prime Minister Menachem Begin disclosed that “Israel” had supported the Kurds (KDP) “during their uprising against the Iraqis in 1965–1975.” Begin added that “Israel” had sent instructors and arms but not military units.

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    Israeli Field Hospital Helping the insurgency in Northern Iraq between 1963-1973

    In 2004, the Israeli media reported on meetings between Masud Barzani (who would become president of the KRG in 2005 ), Jalal Talabani (who would become president of Iraq in 2005 and serve in that office until 2014), and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Relations continued to flourish as the PUK became entangled with this illegal normalization according to Iraqi Legal code 111 of 1969 in its 201st article.

    Such actions reached their peak after the Iraqi president and head of the PUK Jalal Talabani, shook hands with Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, in 2008. In 2015, “Israel” reportedly imported as much as three-quarters of its oil from the Kurdistan region in Iraq, providing a vital source of funds as Kurdish Peshmerga to finance its militia.

    Normalization as a division method

    As a part of its “Peripherical alliance” strategy, the Israeli occupation tried to sow division in the societies surrounding it. It tried to ally itself with every ethnic or religious minority in the Arab world as well as surrounding states like Turkey or the Shah’s Persia. The objective of this article is not to bash Kurds as ethnicity in any way. For instance, many Kurdish factions resisted colonialism and Zionism such as the PKK who fought the Israeli occupation in 1982. Kurdish factions in general, have been a target of Israeli subversive actions, due to the complexity of the Kurdish national cause that the Israelis tried to exploit.

    For the first time, this time publically at least, the normalization efforts have been extended to wider sectors of the Iraqi society outside of the “Periphery doctrine.” These efforts have intensified with the recent normalization wave that included UAE, Bahrain, and other countries like Morocco. New faces have appeared on the scene in parallel with such normalization such as Wisam al-Hardan’s The head of the Awakening Groups and Sahar al-Tai, among having called to normalize with “Isreal” following the previously mentioned states’ model. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia are backing these efforts” according to Iraqi Popular Mobilisation forces

    Haaretz Israeli newspaper mentioned another level of normalization that is happening mainly on social media. Besides the older Facebook and Twitter page “Israel in Arabic” that was launched in 2011, another Facebook page was created in 2018 called “Isreal Speaks in Iraqi (dialect)” to target Iraqi society specifically. The article says that many operate under the cover of linking Iraqi jews to their heritage and introducing “Israel” to the Iraqis.

    The article mentions the page admin stating that the 2003 war opened up new channels of communication with Iraqis, this communication has been made easier with the signing of the normalization deals with UAE and other countries. Iraqis with second passports are being brought to Israel with the pretext of “tourism” since 2018, which the organizer claims to be independently done from her work for the occupation government as an administrator of the page. The page publically calls for normalization and launches polls to investigate the views of the general audience.

    The stumbling project

    The Iraqi government and various political parties expressed their firm rejection of the “illegal” meetings that were held by some tribal figures in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan Region, which called for the normalization with “Israel.” Arrest warrants have been issued against the participants of the “Peace and Reclamation” conference in Erbil. One of the main speakers of the conference Wissam al-Hardan has been suspended from his post as the head of the “awakening movement”.

    In the light of these reactions, a general popular rage is engulfing Iraqi Streets while activists on social media called for all participants to be held accountable for the crimes committed according to Iraqi law. Iraqis haven’t forgotten not only the injustice of the Israeli occupation against their Palestinian and Arab brethren but the role Israelis played in insinuating and calling for both major wars launched by the US against their country in 2003. A war whose devastating effects are still evident today.

    Arbaeen Walk: A Life-changing Journey of Love

    September 27, 2021

    Arbaeen Walk: A Life-changing Journey of Love

    By Syed Zafar Mehdi – Press TV

    Millions of ardent lovers, in a demonstration of unfathomable love and devotion for their beloved, walk seamlessly and untiringly from one sacred city to another, day and night, braving inclement weather and ominous security threats.

    Men and women, young and old, they come from different corners of the world and converge at one place. They call it heaven.

    It is not an excerpt from a gripping page-turner, laced with figments of imagination. It is a beautiful miracle I saw unfold before my eyes two years ago. A miracle that repeats every year.

    If you haven’t guessed already, I am talking about the largest and the greatest rally against terrorism and extremism that takes place in the second lunar month, forty days from Ashura, which marks the martyrdom of Imam Hussain [AS] and his followers in the desert plains of Karbala 14 centuries ago.

    It’s not merely a walk. It is a mark of protest against all forms and manifestations of terrorism, fascism, imperialism, despotism, and oppression perpetuated by state and non-state actors.

    It is a rallying cry in support of the oppressed, weak and powerless. It is a reaffirmation of pledge to uphold the principles exemplified by the ‘master of challengers’ in Karbala.

    The journey of a lifetime

    Arbaeen walk takes place from Najaf to Karbala – from the final resting place of the ‘commander of the faithful’ to that of the ‘master of the martyrs’. It is a journey of love.

    Two years ago, I was blessed with an opportunity to embark on this life-changing journey. It was the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream.

    For years, I had heard fascinating stories from those who traveled there before me. I also watched video documentaries and read articles and travelogues about it. Now it was time to live the dream. The feeling was surreal.

    As a journalist, my work requires me to travel extensively. It has taken me to many amazing places past several years. But this time it was not work, but love that was taking me to Iraq.

    Exactly a week before Arbaeen, I grabbed my backpack and boarded a bus at south Tehran’s bus terminal for Shalamcheh, a border town in western Khuzestan province. The bus reached the border in the wee hours of morning. As we de-boarded the bus, the scenes were spectacular.

    Tens of thousands of people were jostling for space to enter Iraq by foot. I had never seen such scenes in my life. Everyone was visibly excited for the journey ahead. The chants of ‘Ya Hussain’ filled the air, as the sun peeked slowly over the misty desert horizon.

    It was a long wait at the border terminal, but nobody seemed to grumble. I stood in a serpentine queue for about three hours before I could cross over. The moment I stepped on the soil of Iraq, I was reminded of Neil Armstrong’s words when he touched down on the lunar surface. It was a small step but a giant leap. The feeling was overwhelming. I had made it.

    After a walk of few kilometers in ‘no-man’s land’ that divides the two countries, I boarded another bus on the Iraqi side of border to Najaf. It was a long and arduous journey in a bus teeming with pilgrims but the excitement and eagerness to reach the destination overshadowed everything. All minds and eyes were glued to the golden dome of Imam Ali’s [AS] mausoleum in Najaf. Despite weariness, no one slept on the way. When the bus finally halted at the terminal in Najaf, it was unreal. We were in the city of the ‘commander of the faithful.’

    Prelude to the walk

    In Najaf, streets were teeming with pilgrims who had flocked from different parts of the world. Local people had set up stalls, serving visitors sweetened drinks, fruits and snacks. I had heard about the hospitality of Iraqis and here I was experiencing it. As I made my way through the crowd, two young boys who sensed that I was a foreigner offered to host me in Najaf.

    It was a beautiful and kind gesture from complete strangers with whom the only relation I had was love for Ahlulbayt. We happened to be the devotees of the man who was known in the city of Kufa as the ‘father of orphans’ for his nobility and large-heartedness.

    I politely turned down their offer as one of my school-time friends in India, now a student at the Najaf seminary, was waiting for me. The food stalls were all around me, and food was being served with love and warmth, but somehow my hunger had fizzled out. I just wanted to reach the shrine of Imam Ali [AS].

    It was walking distance from the terminal and I took steps as briskly as I possibly could. The crowd kept swelling around me and my marathonesque speed diminished. It seemed the whole world had converged there.

    There are many small, winding lanes around the shrine and all of them were crammed with people. After much labor, I reached a point from where I could see the beautiful golden dome of the shrine giving out its radiance. I momentarily stood still and had a long, sharp look at it. This was a moment I had waited for so long.

    The walk continued uninterrupted until I reached close to the shrine. The next challenge was to go inside the shrine. I stood at the imposing gates, with barely any space to put my foot down. A few moments later, a tsunami of people pushed me toward the main hall of the magnificent shrine. Tears yelled from my eyes irrepressibly.

    Here I was, in the city of my Imam, inside his shrine, beneath his dome, right in front of his grave. I wanted to believe what I was seeing, feeling and experiencing. I wanted to believe that it was real, not a dream.

    Inside the shrine, I saw people of different nationalities, different languages, different skin colors, different age groups crying, screaming, smiling, beaming – a whole range of pure human emotions. ‘Ya Ali’ was reverberating from all corners, a chant that has a universal appeal, a slogan you associate with the campaigners of truth and justice everywhere.

    My two days in Najaf gave me a lifetime of memories to cherish. I stayed at my friend’s house, close to the shrine, but my host was Amiral Momineen [AS] himself. I felt at home. I never felt that way anywhere else, until I reached Karbala.

    The walk to heaven

    It was finally time to head toward the land that I had heard about, read about, and thought about. The land soaked in the blood of 72 martyrs, including the grandson of the apostle of God. Whenever the talk veers to Karbala, our eyes turn moist. With these tears, as Imam Khomeini once said, we have razed to ground powerful empires.

    Karbala is an idea, a concept and a movement that will always have significance and relevance. Imam’s uprising in those desert plains should strengthen our resolve to speak truth to power, to be the voice of voiceless, to campaign for truth and justice.

    As Dr. Ali Shariati says, martyrs gave their blood, now survivors have to carry the message of that blood to future generations. Imam Hussain [AS] gave blood and Hazrat Zainab [SA] became an eloquent tongue of that blood.

    Arbaeen walk is an endeavor that seeks to keep alive the movement of Karbala, to convey the message of blood to future generations. It is a movement against terrorism, fascism and despotism. It is a movement that seeks to safeguard and promote human values of love and compassion and condemn bigotry, tyranny and exploitation of powerful elites. It is a movement for humanity and its appeal cuts across the barriers of religion, caste, color and creed, which is precisely why non-Shias or for that matter even non-Muslims join this greatest march on earth.

    For one week prior to Arbaeen, every day tens of thousands start the walk towards Karbala from Najaf. We began our walk three days before Arbaeen from the compound of Imam Ali [AS]’s shrine. The streets were swarming with people wearing black dresses, holding flags, banners and placards, and chanting ‘Labbaik Ya Hussain’. It was not a dream anymore. I believed what I was seeing.

    The whole journey of around 80 km [50 miles] from Najaf to Karbala is marked with 1400 poles, corresponding with the number of years that have passed since the tragic event of Karbala. It takes about two days and two nights to cover this stretch depending on the pace of walk and stoppages in between. When we started the walk, it was drizzling with a gentle breeze. There were men, women, children and elderly all around me, walking towards the same destination.

    For the love of Hussain [AS]

    Along the way from Najaf to Karbala, stalls were set up by local residents, charities, mosques and foreign aid groups to ensure no pilgrim goes hungry or thirsty. Cooks prepared massive quantities of stewed lamb, grilled fish, beans, fresh bread and rice. There were small makeshift tents lined with foam mattresses and woolen blankets for people to rest or sleep. For those tired, there were masseurs to give them quick and revitalizing massage. For shoes covered with dust, there were volunteers to polish them. There were also mobile bathrooms to have a quick shower and mobile ambulances in case of a medical emergency.

    And they charged absolutely nothing. Just for the love of Ahlulbayt.

    In recent years, before the pandemic struck, the rush of pilgrims on Arbaeen went up tremendously. The year I went, the figure touched the staggering 15 million, even though the official figure was different. The year before that was the first Arbaeen pilgrimage since the Iraqi government declared thumping victory over Daesh.

    All these years, people have been going on this pilgrimage despite the Daesh presence in the country, which is quite remarkable. Only those with unflinching faith and unshakable conviction are capable of taking such huge risks. It is safe to suggest that this greatest protest against terrorism was a key factor in the elimination of the dreaded terrorist group from Iraq.

    Security concerns, however, did not play on my mind. Before Iran, I spent a few years in Afghanistan, reporting on the daily incidents of violence. And I grew up in Kashmir, the world’s largest militarized zone. It was normal for me.

    On the way I grabbed a flag with ‘Ya Abal Fazl’ in one hand and a placard related to my own bruised and bleeding homeland – Kashmir – in the other hand. I felt like a soldier dressed up for the war. It was overwhelming with a sea of people walking, running, scampering, crawling towards the abode of Aba Abdillah [AS].

    On the way, I witnessed many incredible scenes. I saw a young man carrying his elderly mother on his shoulders. I saw a father pushing a wheelchair with his physically impaired son perched on it. I saw a 3-year old girl standing on a bench in the middle of night offering sweets to the travelers. I saw families walking together, a grandfather holding the hand of his granddaughter, singing soul-stirring elegies in the memory of the martyrs of Karbala.

    Millions of people walking towards Karbala had different nationalities, came from different cultures, spoke different languages, but what united them was their love for Ahlulbayt and commitment to honor their memory. It was like small tributaries merging into a gigantic sea. They proudly held aloft flags of their respective countries and marched in unison. Majority of them were Iranians, but many of them also came from Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Turkey, Syria, Indonesia, and some European countries.

    I met two university students from Australia who had come all the way from Sydney to witness the spectacle. They had heard about it from friends which prompted them to embark on the awe-inspiring journey.

    “This is spectacular. I have never seen anything like this, such massive crowd and yet so well-organized,” one of them told me in our ‘walk the talk’. “Saudi authorities should learn from Iraqis how to manage such a big religious gathering.”

    I bumped across people from different nationalities and we instantly hit it off. The conversations ranged from Iraq’s successful fight against Daesh, America’s war crimes in the region, the secret dalliance of Arab states with the Zionist regime, situation of religious minorities in South Asia, and the relevance of Karbala in our times. We walked and talked and discovered that we agreed on many things. We became friends and companions in the walk.

    This is how Arbaeen can be a stimulating intellectual exercise and a cultural exchange between people of various nationalities and cultures that come together for a common cause.

    Hospitality and kindness redefined

    On day one of the walk, I met some friends along the way. Days were relatively hot and nights were extremely cold. At every step along the way, there were friendly hosts urging walkers to sit for a sweetened black Iraqi tea and snacks.

    We stopped at one small stall where a 30-something husband and wife were serving tea and fresh dates to travelers. They belonged to a local village and worked in farms to earn money for livelihood. Serving the guests of Imam Hussain [AS], the man told me, was a privilege for him.

    “I save money every month from my meager earnings and accumulate all the savings to spend them on Aba Abdillah’s [AS] guests on Arbaeen. I can starve myself to make sure pilgrims have no reason to complain.” His words touched me deeply.

    We continued on the journey until the night fell and then halted to sleep for a few hours before resuming the walk. All tents were packed and there was hardly any space to lie down. The night was dark and cold as we looked for shelter. Some young boys came from nowhere and offered us some woolen blankets, which saved us from the potential cold stroke.

    A few meters away, an elderly man said something to us in Arabic that we didn’t understand. Then he gestured towards a small roadside tent and led us inside. Luckily there was still some space left. It’s amazing the way complete strangers show such kindness and compassion there.

    At the break of dawn, we woke up for prayers and then resumed the walk until afternoon prayers, with few hurried tea breaks in between. On the way, the buzz was electrifying as we inched closer to our destination. Iranian pilgrims recited Farsi elegies, Indians and Pakistanis recited Urdu dirges, pilgrims from Lebanon and Syria joined the chorus with Arabic latmiyas. All melodies combined to create a heartwarming ambience.

    Following the afternoon prayers, we walked briskly, perhaps out of excitement. We started counting the number of poles we left behind until a big billboard appeared on the way: ‘Welcome to Karbala’ written in Arabic. My heart skipped a beat. The moment had arrived.

    I was in Karbala but the shrines were still a few miles away. It was an unbelievable crowd, barely a space to breathe. But who wants to breathe in Karbala, I told myself. I would proudly breathe my last in Bainul Haramian, in between the shrines of two brothers. Slowly, very slowly, the crowd moved forward until the shrine of Aba Abdillah [AS] appeared before my eyes.

    Welcome to Karbala

    I was officially in heaven. Every thought disappeared from my mind. All I could think of was that fateful day 14 centuries ago when a small group of holy warriors confronted the army of a mighty empire. The scenes started appearing before my eyes. An infant child being taken to the battlefield, a young man fighting like a seasoned warrior, a standard bearer going to fetch water from a nearby stream and never coming back, little children crying of thirst and the beloved grandson of the apostle of God crying out loud: ‘Is there anyone to help me.’

    The question was not directed at the soldiers of Yazid ibn Muawiya. Imam Hussain [AS] expected no mercy from them. It was directed at his followers. It was directed at us. This march of the millions from Najaf to Karbala every year is in response to that call, which still echoes in the hearts and minds of believers.

    As I stood in front of the shrine of the master of martyrs [AS], time came to a grinding halt. There were people from all sides trying to get closer to the shrine. In the crowd I lost my fellow companions. But it hardly mattered now. I was standing next to Hussain ibn Ali [AS]. Everything else lost the meaning. I felt like a mighty warrior who had conquered the world.

    With much difficulty, I made my way through the crowd into Bainul Haramian, a small stretch between the shrines of brothers – Imam Hussain [AS] and Abol Fazl Abbas [AS]. This is an epicenter of universe for the lovers of Ahlulbayt [AS]. I looked at Hussain [AS] and then I looked at Abol Fazl [AS], I felt as if they were sitting together and watching us. I had never felt so emotional in my life.

    It was my first visit to Karbala and here I was standing between the two brothers who changed the course of history with their unflinching faith and indomitable valor.

    I walked inside the shrine of Imam Hussain [AS], with a tornado of people, and saw it jam-packed. In one corner of the hall, I found a little space to stand and recite Ziyarat e Arbaeen. I didn’t want to leave that hall. I wanted to make it my home.

    Then I went to the shrine of Abol Fazl Abbas [AS], the standard bearer of Karbala, whose name was enough to leave enemies in disarray. As I slowly walked inside his shrine, I could see he still had the same aura. People screamed and cried ‘Ya Abol Fazl’. There was hardly any eye that was not moist.

    One Iranian group recited the beautiful elegy inside the hall – Alamdar nayamad [The flagbearer did not return]. As children, we are often told to chant ‘Ya Abol Fazl’ if we are afraid of anything or if we sense any danger. Here I was, inside the shrine of Abol Fazl, calling him, sharing my secrets, telling him about my ordeals. I know he listened.

    The two days in Karbala were life-changing for me. I did not sleep at night. I sat in Bainul Haramain and gazed at the two shrines all night.

    After two unforgettable days in Karbala, I left for Baghdad to see visit Imam Moosa Kazim [AS], my great-grandfather. The crowd was comparatively less here. The next day I left for Samarra to visit Imam Askari [AS], which brought back memories of the 2006 terrorist attack. Those terrorists, like Yazid, have no trace anymore. From Samarra I took a bus to Mehran border, and returned to Iran.

    The pilgrimage came to an end. The most beautiful 10 days of my life. I made a solemn pledge to return every year. That, however, didn’t happen as Covid-19 pandemic disrupted everything. But the pledge remains in place, the pledge of allegiance to the beloved, the meaning of which can be understood only by true lovers.

    Two US Occupation Military Logistics Convoys Targeted In Iraq

    September 22, 2021

    Two US Occupation Military Logistics Convoys Targeted In Iraq

    By Staff, Agencies

    Two military logistics convoys belonging to the US occupation forces in Iraq were targeted in the provinces of Babil and Baghdad.

    News sources reported Wednesday morning that a US military logistics convoy was targeted in Babil province. A group called ‘Ashab al-Kahf’ [The Companions of the Cave] claimed responsibility for the operation.

    Another US occupation military logistics convoy was also targeted in Baghdad’s al-Yusufiya district. ‘Ashab al-Kahf’ also claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The group has repeatedly claimed responsibility for operations targeting US occupation convoys.

    Similar operations against US occupation troops in Iraq have been increasing in the past months.

    Anti-US sentiments have been running high in Iraq since Washington assassinated top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and the second-in-command of the Iraqi popular mobilization units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in January last year.

    Following the assassination, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

    Many Iraqi groups consider the US forces present in the country as occupiers and emphasize the immediate withdrawal of these forces from their territory.

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    US Combat Units to Withdraw from Ain Al-Assad & Harir Bases in Anbar and Erbil: Iraqi Military Command

    September 21, 2021

    manar-01165340016322259843

    Spokesman of the Joint Operations Command in Iraq, Tahsin Al-Khafaji, confirmed on Tuesday that three US combat units will have withdrawn from Ain Al-Assad and Harir bases in Anbar and Erbil by the end of this month, adding that Iraq is no longer in need of the foreign military presence.

    Al-Khafaji said that the “strategic dialogue between the two sides” led to an agreement on the gradual withdrawal, adding the remaining troops will carry out training missions.

    The rest of the US military units will have withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year, according to Al-Khafaji.

    Source: Al-Manar English Website

    Zakharova: The US is No Longer A “World Leader”

    September 16, 2021 

    Source: Agencies

    By Al Mayadeen

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova divulges the US no longer holds the position of a “world leader.”

    See the source image
    Russian Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

    The Spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry divulged that the US is no longer close to the position of a world leader, especially when it comes to democracy.

    In response to Washington’s criticism of Moscow’s democratic record, Zakharova stated on a talk show broadcast on Russian Channel One, that every country and its leader must solve their internal problems.

    Zakharova expressed that any country that is ideal and practices such high standards would be in a position to educate others, shedding light on the many domestic issues in the US.

    The Russian Spokeswoman has previously attacked the US and its policies, stressing that before the US speaks of “law” it should hold itself accountable for what it did in Yugoslavia and Iraq.

    In response to the arrest of Alexey Navalny, Zakharova advised the US National Security Adviser, Jack Sullivan, to focus on the US’s internal conflicts and respect international law.

    9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

    September 11, 2021

    9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

    An 8 part tweet stream by Pepe Escobar and posted with his permission

    Pepe has two requests as follows:

    • Please retweet as much as possible
    • Please alert the Saker community – because at least parts of this thread may be “disappeared”, post-Allende-style, in no time. These are the parts that totally destroy the official narrative.

    9/11: A U.S. DEEP STATE INSIDER SPEAKS Old school. Top clearance. Extremely discreet. Attended secret Deep State meetings on 9-11. Tired of all the lies. The following is what’s fit to print without being redacted.

    Part 1 THE PHONE CALL. Up next.

    “An emergency phone conference was held in the early afternoon of 9/11 based on the fact that WTC Building Number Seven was still standing. Demolitions were engineered to cause the building, as well as the others, to fall into its own footprint. I attended this call.”

    Part 2 On WTC7: “No plane hit Building Number Seven.” “The CIA was brought to cover it up. The CIA set up failed asset bin Laden to blame as misdirection, then pulled the plug on Building Number Seven.” “The CIA doctored boarding tapes to show Arabs entering the planes.”

    Part 3 On Mullah Omar: “Our CIA Arabists knew that if we blamed Osama, who was innocent of 9-11, Mullah Omar would not give him up in violation of the laws of Islamic hospitality. Mullah Omar requested evidence: then he would turn Osama over. Of course, we did not want that.”

    Part 4 On heroin: “The Afghanistan heroin war was justified by 9-11. No one in Afghanistan was involved in 9/11. No member of Islam was involved. We invaded Afghanistan for only one purpose, which was to restart heroin production shut down by a righteous act of Mullah Omar.”

    Part 5 On CIA and heroin: “CIA heroin plantations in Afghanistan funded external, clandestine operations and lined some important people’s pockets. That was common practice when the CIA ran the heroin operation in the Golden Triangle.”

    Part 6 On MOTIVE: “It was never in the U.S. strategic interest to lay a curse on Islam in the West.” “9-11 was a kind of Gulf of Tonkin false flag operation justifying a war on Islam and the invasion of Iraq, followed by other invasions of Islamic nations.”

    Part 7 Afghanistan-Iraq: “The Taliban loved us as they did not know that we lured Russia into Afghanistan. It was idiotic to think that they wanted to hurt their ally on 9-11.” “With Iraq invaded over a new falsity, the neocons created a war of hatred against Islam.”

    Part 8 Who’s in charge: “The apex of the U.S. command structure is not the presidency. It’s the Deep State. I use that term even though we did not as it is commonly used.”

    جلسة مع أجيال “حزب الله” الأربعة

    See the source image


    الخميس 9 أيلول 2021

    المصدر: الميادين نت

    إذا كان ابن خلدون يخشى من مخالفة الجيل الرابع لنهج أسلافه فإنَّ جيل الحزب الجديد يستفيد من وجود الأجيال الثلاثة السابقة، ويعمل معهم جنباً إلى جنب.

    تجاوز “حزب الله” معضلة الأجيال الأربعة التي تحدَّث عنها ابن خلدون في الفصل الخامس عشر من الباب الثاني في مقدّمته الشهيرة؛ فإذا كان الجيل المؤسّس الأول يفاخر بانطلاقه في العمل بإمكانيات محدودة، مقارناً بين قدرات الحزب اليوم، إذ يتوفر كلّ ما يمكن أن تطلبه، وقدراته في تلك الأيام، حين كانت تنقل عدة العمل المتواضعة نفسها من عملية إلى أخرى، فإن الجيل الرابع يُذهل اليوم من سبقه بما يظهره من اندفاع وإبداع في التخطيط. 

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    هذه الأجيال الأربعة تظهر تفاؤلاً كبيراً في الانتقال الواضح في المواجهة المباشرة من الوكيل إلى الأصيل.

    وإذا كان ابن خلدون يخشى من مخالفة الجيل الرابع لنهج أسلافه وقلبه رأساً على عقب، فإنَّ جيل الحزب الجديد يستفيد من وجود الأجيال الثلاثة السابقة، ويعمل معهم جنباً إلى جنب. وإذا كانت المعاناة هي محرّك الجيل الأول، فإنّ الانتصارات تحرّك جيل اليوم. وللمقاتل في “حزب الله” سنوات خدمة محددة (تتراوح غالباً بين 8 و12)، تسبقها وتتبعها من دون شك مهام حزبية أخرى، وهو ما يبقي التداخل كبيراً بين الأجيال الأربعة.

    وقد بنى الحزب مؤسَّسة ضخمة جداً: دينية أولاً، ثم عسكرية وأمنية، ثم اجتماعية، ثم سياسية وإعلامية، وأخيراً اقتصادية، مع إدارة مالية منضبطة جداً. وخلال 15 عاماً، تطوّر الشّكل من حزب لبناني مع ذراع عسكريّة إلى حزب إقليمي يتقدم بأشواط جميع المتساوين في لبنان، وله تأثيره الكبير، سواء لدى مجموعات المقاومة داخل فلسطين المحتلة أو في دوائر صناعة القرار في كل من غزة وسوريا والعراق واليمن. 

    في لحظة الهجوم الأميركي والأوروبي والخليجي المكثّف والمتكرر لتغيير الأنظمة في المنطقة، فوجِئ هؤلاء بحزب لم يحسبوا له الحساب الجديّ، يضع العصي في دواليب الآلة الأميركية المدنية والعسكرية والتكفيرية والسياسية والإعلامية. ومن لبنان، إلى العراق، إلى سوريا، إلى اليمن، فـ”صفقة القرن”، وما تستوجبه من تكريس لمشاعر التطبيع، كان الحزب حجر الزاوية في بعثرة الطّموحات وتثبيت المعادلات السياسيّة في 5 دول على الأقل.

    ولا بدَّ في هذا السياق من تخيّل 5 رسوم بيانية تظهر تطور الحزب منذ استنفار واشنطن في العام 2005 عسكرياً وأمنياً وإعلامياً ومالياً لتحجيمه، وصولاً إلى اليوم، وذلك على 5 مستويات: (1) جغرافيا انتشاره، (2) تأثيره، (3) قدراته البشرية، (4) معنوياته القتالية، (5) تجهيزاته اللوجستية. 

    على المستوى الجغرافي، كان الحزب يتحرك في رقعة محدودة جداً (نحو 2500 كلم مربع). أما اليوم، فهو يتحرك في مساحة هائلة (أكثر من 500 ألف كلم مربع). بوضوح أكثر، كانت مشكلة “إسرائيل” محصورة في 2500 كلم مربع، فيما هي اليوم موزعة على مساحة 500 ألف كلم مربع. كانت طائرات الاستطلاع تعجز عن ضبط مخيمات التدريب ومخازن الصواريخ والمصانع وغيره في مساحة 2500 كلم مربع، فيما يتوزع هذا كله في محيط من اليابسة تبلغ مساحته أكثر من 500 ألف كلم مربع، بعضه صحارى، وبعضه الآخر غابات وسهول ووديان ومدن مأهولة.

    على المستوى البشري، كان عديد مقاتلي الحزب قبل الحرب السورية محدوداً. أما اليوم، فتضخ المدارس التدريبية الموزعة على الحدود السورية- العراقية آلاف المقاتلين الشباب سنوياً، والذين يمكن أن يكونوا بكبسة زر في بغداد أو الشام أو الجولان أو صنعاء أو مارون الراس أو الجليل. كان الحزب يتكل في تطويع المقاتلين على نحو نصف أبناء الطائفة الشيعية في لبنان أو كلها في أفضل الأحوال. أما اليوم، فيفتح الباب لمن يشاء من شباب العراق وسوريا واليمن… 

    على المستوى اللوجستي، كان التحدّي في العام 2008 يتعلَّق بشبكة اتصالات خاصة بـ”حزب الله”، فيما نتحدث اليوم عن شبكة رؤوس ذكية وشبكة مسيرات وشبكة تشويش واختراق وشبكة صواريخ مخصصة لإسقاط الطائرات وشبكة دبابات وسلاح ثقيل يمكن لمح بعضه في وثائقي “أسرار التحرير الثاني” الذي أعدته قناة “المنار”، مع الأخذ بالاعتبار أن مشروع الدخول إلى الجليل في العام 2006 كان مجرد احتمال يطمح إلى خطف بعض المستوطنين لإنضاج تسوية في حال كان “حزب الله” مأزوماً في الحرب. أما اليوم، فدخول الجليل هو مشروع كامل متكامل يفترض أن يلاقيه الفلسطينيون في مناطقهم المختلفة في ثلثي الطريق. 

    أما على المستوى العسكريّ، فقد تحول ما كان يوصف بالذراع العسكرية لـ”حزب الله” إلى جيش نظامي يضم قيادة، ووحدات خاصة (أكثر من خمسة)، وقوات جوية (مسيرات وغيره)، ومديرية شؤون جغرافية، ومديرية إعلام حربي، ومديرية تدريس عسكري وتدريب وتوجيه، وقوات بحرية، وأكثر من 4 ألوية، وفوج هندسة، وفوجاً لوجستياً، وفوج تدخل، وفوج مدرعات، وفوج إشارة، إضافةً إلى جهاز استخباراتي ضخم، وجهاز دفاع مدني، وجهاز طوارئ صحية، وجهاز طوارئ غذائية، وجهاز دفاع مدنيّ. 

    وإذا كان هذا الجهاز العسكريّ ضخماً، فإنَّ الأضخم هو الجهاز التربوي الذي يعرف بـ”التعبئة التربوية”، وهي من حيث الحجم أكبر عددياً من كل الأحزاب اللبنانية مجتمعة، من دون الحديث عن القطاعات المناطقية والكشافة والمؤسسة الدينية والماكينة الانتخابية وغيره، مع العلم أنّ كلّ من يملك المال بوسعه بناء كلّ ما سبق، لكنَّ الفارق الرئيسي يكمن أولاً في الروحية القتالية التي أثبت الحزب أن ليس بين جيوش العالم من يضاهيه فيها، والانضباط الذي كان له الفضل الأكبر في الإنجاز السوريّ.

    حزب كهذا الحزب يفترض البعض أنّه قادر على هزمه بهاشتاغ من ذبابه الإلكترونيّ (بحسابات وهمية بغالبيتها)، أو بمجموعة “أن جي أوز” تعزف على الطناجر وتعانق بعضها البعض لترفع معنوياتها، أو بمجموعة شتامين في وسائلهم الإعلامية ومواقع التواصل، أو بشعلة سمير جعجع وتغريدات فارس سعيد ونظريات نجل نهاد المشنوق.

    ولا شكَّ في هذا السياق في أنَّ من يجالس نفسه فقط أو يستمع إلى جهابذة السفارات فقط يمكن أن يُغش. أما من يستمع إلى الفريقين ويلتقيهما ويرافق أجيال “حزب الله” بكل ما خبروه في العقدين الماضيين، فلا يمكن أن يُغش أبداً. هناك من خسر كل معاركه من دون استثناء، وهناك من ربح كل المعارك من دون استثناء. هناك من يتحدث عن وقائع ويستعرض الحقائق، وهناك من يراكم الأوهام فوق الشعارات فوق الأحلام.

    مع بدء الأحداث في سوريا، كانت هناك وجهة نظر تقول إنها تشهد نمواً اقتصادياً متواصلاً منذ بضع سنوات. ولأول مرة منذ نشأة الدولة، تتأمن غالبية الأساسيات على صعيد الدواء والغذاء والكهرباء والمواصلات، ويصعب بالتالي تأمين وقود اجتماعي- اقتصادي للثورة، فيما لا يوجد بديل سياسيّ. 

    ومع ذلك، فإنّ المنظّرين للثورة كانوا يُستفزون جداً من هذا المنطق، معتبرين أنَّ الأساس عند الإنسان هو كرامته والحرية، لا رغيف الخبز، لكن هؤلاء أنفسهم يقولون اليوم للبنانيين إن الرغيف والكهرباء والمازوت والمواصلات أهم من الحرية والسلاح الذي يحميها، فيدعون هم أنفسهم – باستهزاء طبعاً – من يتحدّث عن الكرامة إلى أن يطعم أولاده عزّة، وهو ما يقود بيئة “حزب الله” إلى التأكيد أنَّ “معركة الخبز” مفتعلة جملةً وتفصيلاً، وما المشاكل المعيشية اليومية سوى أدوات ضغط في معارك جانبية كان يفترض أن تستنزفه، لكنها لم تفعل، تماماً كما كان يفترض بجموع التكفيريين الذين شحنوا إلى سوريا من كلّ أصقاع العالم أن يفعلوا، لكنهم لم ينجحوا، مع التأكيد أن من يربح هذه الحروب الاستنزافية الصغيرة لا يربح الحرب. أما الأساس الذي يسمح بربح الحرب، فهو السلاح والتمدد الجغرافي وتطوير القدرات. 

    وهنا، يبدو الحزب مرتاحاً جداً، فهو لم يعرف منذ نشأته سنوات أفضل من هذه السنوات الأربعة على صعيد تطوير قدراته وتأمين التجهيزات البشرية واللوجستية لقضيته الأساسية المرتبطة بالصراع مع “إسرائيل”، من دون أية متاعب تُذكر. وتكفي في هذا السياق الملاحظة أنَّ الجميع اليوم يتحدث عن البنزين والمازوت والمياه والكهرباء والغلاء المعيشي، لكن لا يأتي أحد على ذكر سلاح “حزب الله”، بعدما كان هذا السلاح قبل 4 أعوام الشغل الشاغل للجميع في الداخل والخارج، مع العلم أنَّ طرق الإمداد الخاصة بهذا السلاح (الذي يمثل الهدف الرئيسي لكلِّ ما تفعله الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة) لا تتأثر بانقطاع الكهرباء أو شحّ المحروقات أو تدمير العملة الوطنية. 

    عودٌ على بدء، حين يتعلّق الأمر بـ”حزب الله”، فإنَّ اللقاء مع البيئة الحزبيّة غالباً ما يشمل 4 أجيال. مجرّد رؤية هذه الأجيال الأربعة تتآزر في التفكير لمواصلة التقدّم هو أمر استثنائي لا يمكن رؤيته في أيِّ مكان آخر، إذ تطغى غالباً تناقضات الأجيال على كلِّ شيء آخر. 

    هذه الأجيال الأربعة تظهر تفاؤلاً كبيراً في الانتقال الواضح في المواجهة المباشرة من الوكيل إلى الأصيل. الحرب ليست مع “إسرائيل” أو مع رياض سلامة أو مع منظمات المجتمع المدني أو سائر الأدوات، إنما مع من يمول كلّ هؤلاء ويحرّضهم و”ينفخ الخسّ في رؤوسهم”. 

    وإذا كان الحزب حريصاً جداً على عدم تبني أي عملية من العمليات الموجهة ضد القوات الأميركية في العراق وسوريا أخيراً، فإن الولايات المتحدة تعرف جيداً أن حجر الزاوية في صمود كل هذه المنطقة وإسقاط كل ما كان مرسوماً لها هو “حزب الله”، تماماً كما تعرف أن ما حققه الحزب تعجز عن تحقيقه ألف قنبلة نووية إيرانية. تعرف الولايات المتحدة جيداً كل ما سبق، وتعرف أنَّ “حزب الله” يعرفه أيضاً، وكذلك إيران وروسيا والصين.

    لماذا العراق؟….بقلم: أ. د. بثينة شعبان

    2021-09-06

     أ. د. بثينة شعبان

    منذ الاحتلال البريطاني للعراق خلال الحرب العالمية الأولى التي انتهت عام 1918 لم تتوقف المحاولات الغربية لاحتواء العراق وخاصة لفصله عن امتداده الطبيعي إلى بلاد الشام حيث التبادل التاريخي والمعرفي والاقتصادي كان معروفاً بين مملكة إيبلا وبلاد الرافدين. وتشهد الرقم التاريخية والتطور الزراعي على التفاعل والتكامل والانسجام الحضاري والحياتي بين سورية والعراق على مرّ التاريخ إلى أن بدأت بالسعي لإلحاق العراق بسياساتها وربطه بمعاهدات متعددة في عشرينيات وثلاثينيات القرن الماضي وصولاً إلى حلف بغداد عام 1955 والذي كان يضم بالإضافة إلى المملكة المتحدة كلاً من العراق وتركيا وإيران الشاه وباكستان.

    لقد كان الهدف الأول لهذا الحلف هو محاولة وقف نفوذ الاتحاد السوفييتي الذي كان قد وطّد ووسّع علاقته في تلك الفترة مع سورية ومصر. ومع أن الولايات المتحدة هي صاحبة فكرة إنشاء هذا الحلف ووعدت بتقديم الدعم الاقتصادي والعسكري للأعضاء إلا أنها لم تشارك فيه بشكل مباشر وإنما وكّلت بريطانيا للقيام بذلك، ولكن العراق انسحب من الحلف بعد ثورة 14 تموز 1958 التي أطاحت بالنظام الملكي الهاشمي وأعلنت الجمهورية واستقلّ العراق لأول مرة من النفوذ البريطاني، وانتقل مركز الحلف بعد ذلك من بغداد إلى أنقرة، وأقام العراق علاقات دبلوماسية واقتصادية وعسكرية مع الاتحاد السوفييتي، وبذلك أخفق هذا الحلف في وقف توسع نفوذ الاتحاد السوفييتي الذي وطّد علاقاته مع الدول العربية في تلك الفترة. ومع اندلاع الثورة الإيرانية عام 1979 أطلقت رصاصة الرحمة على حلف بغداد الذي اعتُبر من أضعف الأحلاف التي نشأت خلال الحرب الباردة.

    ولكن محاولات احتواء العراق لم تتوقف وأسوأ تجلياتها على مرّ العقود الماضية كان نشوب الحرب العراقية الإيرانية بعد انتصار الثورة الإيرانية وبذل الجهود المستمرّة والمستميتة لفصل العراق عن عمقه العربي السوري، ومنع حتى إقامة أي علاقة وتواصل بين هذين البلدين المنسجمين تاريخياً وديموغرافياً وجغرافياً وحضارياً لأن التكامل والتفاعل بين سورية والعراق سيؤسس من دون شك لبنة عربية متينة قد تشكل قاعدة ومنطلقاً للعلاقات العربية السليمة والمجزية لكلّ المنخرطين فيها، ولذلك فقد كانت الحدود العراقية السورية دوماً أحد الأهداف الغربية وقد حرصت الدول الاستعمارية الغربية على خلق كافة الحجج والذرائع والمؤامرات لإبقاء هذه الحدود مغلقة في فترات طويلة من تاريخ البلدين.

    إذ رغم كل الدعم الذي قدمه الغرب للعصابات الإرهابية منذ 2011 في حربها على سورية ورغم انشغاله في حرب إرهابية تدميرية في الداخل السوري فإن نظر الغرب لم يحد عن هذه الحدود وسعى إلى ضمان بقاء الإرهاب قربها كي يمنع فتحها والتواصل الحقيقي بين الشعبين السوري والعراقي لأن هذا التواصل سيعود بالفائدة الجمّة على البلدين انتماءً وثقافة وعروبة وحضارة واقتصاداً وتكاملاً حقيقياً. ولا شك أن كل الذرائع للإبقاء على هذه الحدود مغلقة تتلخص بأهداف الإدارة الأميركية القديمة الجديدة والتي تريد أن يكون العراق قاعدة للدول المنضوية تحت لواء الغرب وسدّاً في وجه روسيا والصين وإيران وفي وجه دخول الصين خاصة إلى منطقة الشرق الأوسط ومنع قيام أي مسعى وحدوي بين البلدين.

    الغرب يعتبر العراق بوابة لنفوذه في الشرق الأوسط، ولا شك أن العراق بعمقه الحضاري ومؤهلات شعبه وثرواته الظاهرة والباطنة يشكّل عمقاً وحدوياً عروبياً وأن فصله عن سورية وإلهاءه بتحالفات غير قابلة للحياة وأثبتت فشلها على مرّ التاريخ يظهران أهمية العراق الحقيقية وإدراك الغرب لهذه الأهمية ومحاولاته تجيير كل مقدرات العراق لصالحه ونهب ثرواته وإلهاء شعبه بالخلافات الطائفية. من هذا المنظور يمكن أن نفهم كل محاولات التدمير والتهميش والاحتلال والحصار والعقوبات للعراق وشعبه على مدى العقود الماضية، وأن كل ما أثير من تهم له من أسلحة دمار شامل إلى غيرها كانت غطاءً بائساً لتنفيذ تلك الأهداف.

    ولكن وبعد قرن ونيّف من أساليب وطموحات وطروحات الغرب هذه أصبح من البدهي أن يدرك أصحاب الشأن حقيقة ما يقال ومجافاته للواقع والهدف المراد منه؛ إذ لم يعد مقبولاً اليوم أن يشعر البعض بسعادة غامرة لأن مسؤولاً غربياً قرر أن يحضر مؤتمراً في بغداد وكأنّ هذا الحضور يشكل منّة أو قيمة مضافة في حين يهدف إلى تحقيق ما عجزوا عن تحقيقه من قبل من التواطؤ ضد نسيج العراق العربي وتواصله مع أهله وجيرانه واختراع تحالفات له لا مستقبل لها ولا تسمن ولا تغني من جوع بل تتركه فريسة لمن يتشدّق بحضارة بغداد، في حين تحلّ قواه العسكرية الطاغية قوة غاشمة على أرض العراق الطاهرة؛ تحتل الأرض وتنهب الخيرات وتدعم الإرهاب وتغزو الأسواق بمنتجاتها العثمانية وتروّج للطائفية وترسل الإرهابيين من الإخوان المسلمين في بلد تاريخه العيش المشترك والغنى الحضاري والتمازج الثقافي.

    السؤال الذي يشغل بالي دائماً: لماذا لا نثق نحن العرب بقيمة ما لدينا؟ ولماذا لا نعرف أحياناً أهمية ما لدينا حتى يتم تسليط الضوء عليه من قبل الخصوم والأعداء؛ فنسعى حينذاك جاهدين إلى الاحتفاظ به أو تحريره من عدوانهم دافعين أغلى الأثمان في سبيل ذلك؟
    لماذا لا نقتنع أن التكالب الغربي على بلداننا ومؤامراتهم ضدنا والتحالفات التي خلقوها لتمزيق صفوفنا وبناء الحواجز بين شعوبنا تعني أن لدينا ما هو ثمين وما يريدون الحصول عليه أو تدميره إذا لم يتمكنوا من انتزاعه منا؟ لماذا نحتاج إلى اعتراف الآخرين بأن موقعنا الجغرافي وثرواتنا الطبيعية والبشرية وعمقنا الحضاري وعيشنا المشترك عبر التاريخ يشكلون قيمة استثنائية لا يمتلكها الآخرون ويتوجب علينا الحفاظ عليها والاعتزاز بها من دون الحاجة إلى من يعترف لنا بذلك ومن دون الحاجة إلى شهادة من الخصوم والأعداء التاريخيين الذين ما زالوا يحطون من قدر بلادنا إلى أن يستولوا على مقدراتنا ويدمروها.

    فهل تحتاج بغداد التاريخ إلى محتل عثماني ومتواطئ غربي كي تعرف قيمتها ومكانتها؟ وهل كانوا ليأتوا إليها لولا إدراكهم العميق لهذه القيمة؟ وهل يجوز أن تمتثل لما يريدون علماً أنهم برهنوا للمرة الألف أنهم يريدون للعراق التبعية فقط والوقوف في وجه التنين القادم من الشرق وأن تكون بغداد والقاهرة وعمّان سنداً لهم في وجه هذا التنين؟ إلى متى ستبقى المرجعية الغربية تذرّ الرماد في العيون ويبقى المستعمر الغربي متمادياً في نشر أوهامه عبر الأجيال أنه الأذكى والأقوى والأعرف؟ متى سيشكل العرب مرجعيتهم الخاصة بهم والمنطلقة من تقديرهم لذاتهم وتاريخهم وإمكاناتهم الاستثنائية ويمضون في التحالفات التي يختارونها هم بإرادتهم الحرة ولصالح شعوبهم وبلدانهم من دون ضغوطات أو إملاءات أو تهديدات من أحد؟ متى يكون الرأي حراً لا يتحكم به سوى الشأن الوطني والمصلحة العربية العليا؟

    Afghanistan: US defeat stems from its ruinous response to 9/11 attacks

    6 September 2021 10:08 UTC 

    Peter Oborne

    Osama bin Laden outwitted George W Bush by dragging America into its unwinnable ‘war on terror’. If the US had reacted more rationally, the world today would look very differently

    US President George W Bush being informed by his chief of staff, Andrew Card, of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York during a visit to a Florida school, 11 September 2001 (AFP)

    Today George W Bush lives a comfortable life in his adoptive home state of Texas. He has reinvented himself as a painter.

    Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces and reportedly buried at sea.

    But the two men will always be remembered for the same reason: Osama bin Laden’s attack on the United States on 11 September 2001 – and Bush’s ruinous response. The memories of these terrible events are still raw, though some of the facts remain disputed. 

    Looking back with the perspective of 20 years, we can judge which man came closest to realising his objectives.

    It was not George W Bush. With the Taliban back in charge in Afghanistan, the neoconservative project in ruins and the United States in headlong retreat from its global ambitions, Bush has a claim to be, by some distance, the most disastrous president in his country’s history.

    Morally abject figure

    Bin Laden is a morally abject figure, a preacher of death and hatred. Yet he outwitted Bush, the leader of the western world, the trustee of all its values, the beneficiary of its intellectual and scientific vitality. 

    Before 9/11, bin Laden could command at most a few thousand followers: a sandal-wearing tribal militia whose most powerful military weapons were machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. But, paradoxically, that gave it an advantage against the most powerful and well-equipped armed forces the world has ever known. Two decades since 9/11: The human toll of the ‘war on terror’

    Bin Laden induced the United States to commit itself to an open-ended asymmetric war against him and any other group of terrorists America deemed to be his allies. He wanted the US to invade Muslim countries so that jihad could bleed America’s military in prolonged guerrilla warfare. Only that way could the US, like the Soviet Union before it, be defeated.

    This forced the US into committing colossal military resources for limited and impermanent gains. Above all, it imposed a steady flow of US casualties in faraway countries largely unknown to the American population, with no prospect of an end that would allow their loved ones to come home. 

    Those armed forces have been defeated. Not just once, but twice. First in Iraq, then in Afghanistan. They have not lost any conventional battle – but they failed, totally, to achieve their objectives.

    Historians and analysts have not yet even begun to grasp the meaning and consequence of 9/11 and its aftermath. US military thinkers and their British equivalents are in open denial. 

    Superficial parallel

    The first important point to grasp is that bin Laden himself did not defeat them. After the destruction of the Twin Towers, the al-Qaeda leader was either in hiding or on the run. His lines of communications were broken, while by the end of 2001 his organisation could count on no more than a few dozen fighters. 

    9/11 crash
    A hijacked plane approaches the World Trade Center in New York, 11 September 2001 (AFP)

    Meanwhile, the world was on the side of the United States, including candlelit vigils in Tehran. 

    George W Bush rejected these offers, a mistake brought about by a misunderstanding of the meaning of 9/11. Bush interpreted it as an act of war equivalent to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

    It was a superficial parallel. For while Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were both unforeseen by intelligence agencies and came from the air, Pearl Harbor was an act of conventional war, launched by Japan, an organised state, and as such demanded a conventional military response.

    Bin Laden played the United States president with the proficiency of a highly skilled judoka, whose objective is to use the weight of his opponent to defeat him

    The attack on the Twin Towers, for all its horror, was a terrorist atrocity, by what modern jargon describes as a “non-state actor”. The US president could and should have dealt with it by hunting down bin Laden and his murderous associates using counterterrorism methods – those which ultimately secured his death. 

    He chose not to do so, launching instead his “war on terror”, an abstract, undefined and open-ended concept which played mightily into the hands of al-Qaeda. The “war on terror” gave an immediate boost in domestic politics for an undistinguished, underachieving presidency. Bush’s popularity ratings soared and his administration, with suspicious promptitude, was able to introduce a raft of tough security legislation, which it passed with minimal resistance. But it was a military and foreign policy disaster. 

    Bush was not alone in his error. In the UK, Prime Minister Tony Blair shared his analysis (and so did the media: even the Guardian’s headline the following day read “A declaration of war”). But this formulation laid open the question: who was the US fighting against? 

    Remember, no national government had supported the attack; not even the Taliban in Afghanistan supported bin Laden’s plan for international jihad. Bin Laden played the United States president with the proficiency of a highly skilled judoka, whose objective is to use the weight of his opponent to defeat him.

    ‘Head of the snake’

    To quote Professor Fawaz Gerges, historian of al-Qaeda: “Bin Laden and his inner circle developed a strategic vision that involved forcing the United States to fight the war on bin Laden’s terms and lash out angrily against the Muslim world at large. As a small elitist vanguard, they could neither challenge American power nor survive direct confrontation with it. The only way to level the playing field lay in asymmetric warfare, one that ignited a greater clash between America and the world of Islam.”

    To an astonishing extent, bin Laden caused all this to happen. His underlying objective was always to drive American forces out of Muslim countries, in particular his native Saudi Arabia, the land of the two holy places, Mecca and Medina. (That has still not been achieved, though with America exposed as an unreliable ally in headlong retreat, it is a more likely outcome than ever before.)

    bin laden rally, Pakistan
    Protesters flash victory signs during a rally in support of Osama bin Laden in Lahore, Pakistan, on 21 September 2001 (AFP)

    While other jihadis wanted to fight the “near enemy” – US-sponsored client regimes across the Muslim world – bin Laden’s special insight was the strategic utility of striking “at the head of the snake” and thus provoking the United States into a violent and irrational response which would poison its relationships with Muslim states and communities and make all of his Muslim opponents look like collaborators with the enemy. 

    Chaos and carnage

    Bin Laden knew also that he and his followers could prevail in the struggle simply by remaining in being and forcing the US to accept more casualties and costs than its population would be ready to endure. 

    The course of events suggests that bin Laden may have understood the United States rather more clearly than Bush. He induced the US president to do exactly what he wanted, plunging much of the Muslim world into a period of chaos and carnage, from which it has yet to emerge, and creating the conditions for al-Qaeda and other terror groups to prosper.

    For the neocons as for al-Qaeda, there was no middle way. The world was divided into two opposing forces: Islam and the West – and only one could emerge victorious

    The neoconservatives who directed Bush’s response to 9/11 and al-Qaeda mirrored each other. They were both revivalist movements at odds with what they saw as a corrupt modernity seeking inspiration in the Salaf – the ancients. They both despised due process and the rule of law. They preferred violence to diplomacy.

    For the neocons as for al-Qaeda, there was no middle way. The world was divided into two opposing forces: Islam and the West – and only one could emerge victorious. Both saw themselves as the ultimate good fighting the ultimate evil. Both despised moderate Muslims as much as western liberals. 

    Al-Qaeda and the neocons thus shared the false interpretation of Islam as a religion of violence and the same demented belief in an irreconcilable clash of civilisations between Muslims and the West. 

    Between them, they plunged much of the world into a death spiral. Muslims have suffered far worse in terms of lives lost. But America’s reputation across the world as a force for good has been destroyed, while the country now faces military defeat and a deep moral crisis from which it may not recover.

    Had George W Bush acted rationally, Osama bin Laden would be despised as another terrorist – and no more. Thanks to Bush, he became a terrorist who changed world history, and a model for other terrorists across the world.

    The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Peter ObornePeter Oborne won best commentary/blogging in 2017 and was named freelancer of the year in 2016 at the Online Media Awards for articles he wrote for Middle East Eye. He was also named as British Press Awards Columnist of the Year in 2013. He resigned as chief political columnist of the Daily Telegraph in 2015. His latest book, The Assault on Truth, was published in February 2021. His previous books include The Triumph of the Political Class, The Rise of Political Lying, and Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran.

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