Trump – You Are Awesome, Nice, and Naughty

By Heba Mourad

Source

Donald J Trump 835c3

President Donald Trump,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Reportedly Tells European Allies to Pressure Iran or Face 25% Auto Tariffs

Source

00:56 16.01.2020

Under the Trump administration, the United States has widely expanded its economic leverage to renegotiate international agreements which it considers inequitable to US economic or strategic interests.

The Trump administration quietly threatened last week to impose tariffs on key European nations, just before they officially accused Iran of breaching the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

According to EU officials familiar with the talks, the United States threatened to impose a 25-percent tariff on European automobiles from Germany, France and Britain, if they refused to condemn Tehran’s actions and trigger a trade dispute mechanism within the deal.

Days after the alleged ultimatum, the 3 countries formally accused Iran of violating the agreement, triggering a fallback option which could reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran, thus destroying the residual accords of the Obama-era nuclear deal.

“We’ve been very clear that the JCPOA was a horrible deal”, an unidentified senior US official within the Trump administration said, when asked about the tariff threat, cited by the WaPo.

The unnamed official acknowledged, however, that the Europeans were already moving towards triggering the dispute resolution before the US threat was issued.

“The consensus among the Europeans about the need to hold Tehran accountable took form weeks ago and was driven by Iran’s escalatory behavior and violations of the nuclear deal,” the official said, according to WaPo.

It is unclear whether the so-called EU 3 issued the criticism against Iran due to the US threat or whether interests just happened to align in this circumstance, as both blocs maintain an interest in triggering the mechanism.

The United States views the mechanism as a means of reimposing full sanctions on Iran within 65 days, while EU powers see it as a necessary way to ultimately restore the deal, reduce tensions, and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Abbas Araghchi (Center R), political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, and Helga Schmid (Center L), Secretary General of the European Union's External Action Service (EEAS), take part in a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran on July 28, 2019 at the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria.

© AFP 2019 / ALEX HALADAAbbas Araghchi (Center R), political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, and Helga Schmid (Center L), Secretary General of the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS), take part in a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran on July 28, 2019 at the Palais Coburg in Vienna, Austria.

A New Transatlantic Relationship

Trump has previously used tariffs against the EU to win favourable trade concessions, but has yet to use them to influence foreign policy.

The policy is, however, indicative of the way the Trump administration views geopolitics, seeing the world through an ‘America First’ lens and willing to use economic leverage to reorganise the global geopolitical balance.

Opposing the Iranian nuclear deal has been the position held by the US since Trump’s election in 2016, characterizing the Iran nuclear deal as “unfair” to the United States.

The Europeans, however, have maintained their dedication to the deal, with EU leaders repeatedly saying, in line with international nuclear inspectors, that Iran has consistently been found to be in compliance with the landmark peace deal.

“The tariff threat is a mafia-like tactic, and it’s not how relations between allies typically work” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

A Deal Scrapped 

Due to the recent heating up of tensions between the US and Iran beginning with the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA and the assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on 3 Janurary, Iran has begun to enrich uranium beyond the limits set by the deal.

The JCPOA was signed and ratified in 2015 by the US, Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany, United Kingdom and the EU.

The purpose of the deal is to allow – but limit – Iran’s uranium enrichment program, to be used only for peaceful nuclear power and other research purposes, seeing Tehran agreeing to scrap its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent, and reduce its number of gas centrifuges by around two-thirds.

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

By Stuart Littlewood

Source

Mohammad Mosaddegh 82014

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

Nobody thought even he was quite so stupid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The need to continually demonize Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His explanation was perfectly reasonable…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smoldering resentment for at least 70 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran slaps the US in the face after the murder of Martyr Soleimani as Trump backs down

January 09, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Four days after the terrorist attack which killed Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, the Islamic Republic retaliated with missile attacks on at least two military bases in Iraq where US troops were present. The retaliation was to be expected as popular demands and expectations were at an all-time high during the three day long funeral procession.

So on Wednesday night, on January 8th, at exactly the same time when the US conducted its terrorist attack four days earlier, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps launched their missiles on the largest and most significant US military base in Iraq, Ain al-Assad where the US had gathered a large number of its troops after evacuating many bases in Shia dominated areas around Baghdad. Ain al-Assad is located in the western Al-Anbar province, and was the same base from which the drones that killed Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis were launched. There was also a second US base in Erbil that came under attack that night.

According to reliable sources, the Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was informed by Iran about the imminent attack and relayed the information to the US forces who were prepared in advance. The IRGC attack was conducted with two types of missiles – the Fateh 313 and the Qiam types. These Precision ballistic missiles targeted specific areas of the airbase and were deliberately aimed at avoiding casualties. The idea was to only send a message to Washington and its vassals: “Don’t test us because we can and will hurt you badly”. Despite reports by Iranian state media about 80 casualties, a number reported to appease the domestic opinion, it is more likely that there were very few or rather zero casualties for the US occupation forces. However, it should be noted that the US refused to allow any Iraqis to investigate the site for the attacks, and no pictures whatsoever were released until at least 14 hours after the attack. Indicating that Washington was hiding something.

So why did Iran intentionally avoid killing US troops? The obvious reason for this- de escalation. But the ingenious part of the Iranian plan was to de-escalate the crisis without actually de-escalating it in public. Of course, the leadership in Tehran aren’t so eager for a war which will result in millions of lives lost, Iranians are still traumatized by the 8 year brutal Iran-Iraq war which caused the deaths of over a million Iranians.

The message was aimed to achieve several goals, the first I mentioned above.

The second goal can be identified in the decision to attack the base in Erbil, to show the US that its forces will not be safe in Erbil, and that they should not dare to think that they can remain in their vassal state of Kurdistan.

The third probable goal was to send Israel and the Gulf states a clear message. Throughout the night it was reported by several sources and outlets that Hezbollah had threatened to launch attacks on Israel if the US were to respond to Iran’s retaliations, while the Houthis in Yemen had threatened to launch their missiles on the Gulf states that are harbouring US troops. Meanwhile the Hashd Al-Shaabi had also threatened to turn the US embassy into ashes should they dare to attack Iran. This was a show of force by the Resistance Axis – to show Washington’s allies that the entire region will be engulfed in fire if Iran is attacked directly. It was also reported that night that the IRGC had warned Qatar and the UAE that any country that allowed its territory to be used as a springboard for a US attack would be considered a legitimate target for Iran’s retaliation.

But like I mentioned in my latest article, the true revenge for Iran would not be to strike back militarily, but to kick the US out of the region. This was confirmed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei when he held a speech on Wednesday morning:

“The talk of revenge and such debates are a different issue. For now, a slap was delivered on their face last night,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in remarks broadcasted live on national television.

“What is important about confrontation is that the military action as such is not sufficient. What is important is that the seditious American presence in the region must end,” he said to chants of “Death to America” by an audience in Tehran.

The Leader hailed the Iraqi parliament’s decision ordering US troops to leave the country as well as the Iranian parliament’s blacklisting of American forces as terrorists.

“This measure by the Majlis was a very good blow. The Iraqi parliament’s act for the expulsion of America from Iraq was also very good. May God help them continue this path.”

“The Americans want Iraq to be like the former idolatrous regime in Iran or Saudi Arabia today – a region full of oil to be under their control so they can do whatever they want – a milking cow in the words of that individual,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in reference to US President Donald Trump.  

“But the faithful elements and the Iraqi youth and their Marja’iya (religious authorities) stood up to these scenarios and Haj Qassem assisted this vast front in the capacity of an active adviser and an honorable supporter,” the Leader added.

The Islamic Republic’s allies lauded the IRGC’s attack with statements of support from Syria, Hezbollah, Hashd Al-Shaabi and Houthis. The Islamic Republic’s moral victory and bravery during this crisis has encouraged the region to muster enough courage to dare to speak of the Terrorist Empire’s inevitable expulsion from West Asia.

The strike has also shown the world and especially Washington’s vassals in the region that the billions of dollars spent on purchasing “the best military equipment” in the world are useless as a deterrence against the Islamic Republic. This realization will push them to seek rapprochement with Tehran, and could even entice countries to seek to purchase Iran’s missiles.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon, US president Donald Trump held his speech in response to the attack. Speaking from the White House, Trump backed away from threatening further strikes against Iran, describing Tehran’s stand-down as “a good thing for all parties concerned.”

“Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast…The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it.”

Trump did, however, vow to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, in addition to the thousand or so already imposed since the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) in 2018. “These powerful sanctions will remain,” he said, “until Iran changes its behavior.”

After boasting about America’s “big missiles,” Trump spent the remainder of his speech suggesting that under a new deal, Iran could become a “great country,” and could cooperate with the US on areas of mutual benefit.

“ISIS [Islamic State, IS, ISIL] is the natural enemy of Iran,” he said. “The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran. And we should work together on this and many other shared priorities.”

(Trump during the moment of the IRGC missile attack)

I’m certain that any intelligent person understood that Trump got the message quite clearly. He spent major parts of his speech talking about the JCPOA and other matters, and his how “great” the US economy is – neither of those had anything to do with the crisis. Many people surely noticed how his tone changed – from previously threatening to destroy Iran’s cultural sites if Iran responded, to suggest that Washington was hoping for negotiations, once more proving many people’s points of Trump’s total incompetence when it comes to diplomacy.

Now that the Iraqi parliament have voted for the expulsion of US forces, which can be seen as the first retaliation for Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis’ killings (the second one being the IRGC’s attack), the US occupation of Syria is also in danger. Washington and its pathetic vassals, unless they wish to send their troops home in coffins, will have to respect Iraq’s decision or face the wrath of the Iraqi resistance forces.

The time when Washington can just hit other countries and threaten them to stand down is over. The Empire has been exposed and will no longer be able to freely terrorize the region without suffering consequences. One way or another the US will be removed from West Asia, beginning with Iraq.

The Soleimani Assassination: The Long-Awaited Beginning of The End of America’s Imperial Ambitions

By Philip Giraldi

Source

General Qassem Soleimani 440f3

The United States is now at war with Iran in a conflict that could easily have been avoided and it will not end well. There will be no declaration of war coming from either side, but the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani and the head of Kata’ib Hezbollah Abu Mehdi Muhandis by virtue of a Reaper drone strike in Baghdad will shift the long-simmering conflict between the two nations into high gear. Iran cannot let the killing of a senior military officer go unanswered even though it cannot directly confront the United States militarily. But there will be reprisals and Tehran’s suspected use of proxies to stage limited strikes will now be replaced by more damaging actions that can be directly attributed to the Iranian government. As Iran has significant resources locally, one can expect that the entire Persian Gulf region will be destabilized.

And there is also the terrorism card, which will come into play. Iran has an extensive diaspora throughout much of the Middle East and, as it has been threatened by Washington for many years, it has had a long time to prepare for a war to be fought largely in the shadows. No American diplomat, soldier or even tourists in the region should consider him or herself to be safe, quite the contrary. It will be an “open season” on Americans. The U.S. has already ordered a partial evacuation of the Baghdad Embassy and has advised all American citizens to leave the country immediately.

Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar. Instead of seeking detente, one of his first actions was to end the JCPOA nuclear agreement and re-introduce sanctions against Iran. In a sense, Iran has from the beginning been the exception to Trump’s no-new-war pledge, a position that might reasonably be directly attributed to his incestuous relationship with the American Jewish community and in particular derived from his pandering to the expressed needs of Israel’s belligerent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump bears full responsibility for what comes next. The neoconservatives and Israelis are predictably cheering the result, with Mark Dubowitz of the pro-Israel Foundation for Defense of Democracies enthusing that it is “bigger than bin Laden…a massive blow to the [Iranian] regime.” Dubowitz, whose credentials as an “Iran expert” are dubious at best, is at least somewhat right in this case. Qassem Soleimani is, to be sure, charismatic and also very popular in Iran. He is Iran’s most powerful military figure in the entire region, being the principal contact for proxies and allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. But what Dubowitz does not understand is that no one in a military hierarchy is irreplaceable.  Soleimani’s aides and high officials in the intelligence ministry are certainly more than capable of picking up his mantle and continuing his policies.

In reality, the series of foolish attacks initiated by the United States over the past week will only hasten the departure of much of the U.S. military from the region. The Pentagon and White House have been insisting that Iran was behind an alleged Kata’ib Hezbollah attack on a U.S. installation that then triggered a strike by Washington on claimed militia targets in Syria and also inside Iraq. Even though the U.S. military presence is as a guest of the Iraqi government, Washington went ahead with its attack even after the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said “no.”

To justify its actions, Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense, went so far as to insist that “Iran is at war with the whole world,” a clear demonstration of just how ignorant the White House team actually is. The U.S. government characteristically has not provided any evidence demonstrating either Iranian or Kata’ib involvement in recent developments, but after the counter-strike killed 26 Iraqi soldiers, the mass demonstrations against the Embassy in Baghdad became inevitable. The demonstrations were also attributed to Iran by Washington even though the people in the street were undoubtedly Iraqis.

Now that the U.S. has also killed Soleimani and Muhandis in a drone strike at Baghdad Airport, clearly accomplished without the approval of the Iraqi government, it is inevitable that the prime minister will ask American forces to leave. That will in turn make the situation for the remaining U.S. troops in neighboring Syria untenable. And it will also force other Arab states in the region to rethink their hosting of U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen due to the law of unanticipated consequences as it is now clear that Washington has foolishly begun a war that serves no one’s interests.

The blood of the Americans, Iranians and Iraqis who will die in the next few weeks is clearly on Donald Trump’s hands as this war was never inevitable and served no U.S. national interest. It will surely turn out to be a debacle, as well as devastating for all parties involved. And it might well, on top of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, be the long-awaited beginning of the end of America’s imperial ambitions. Let us hope so!

A Dubious Official Story Masks the True Motives Behind the Soleimani Assassination

By Whitney Webb

Source

BAGHDAD — The recent assassination of Iran’s most popular and well-known general, Qassem Soleimani, has stoked fears that a new war pitting the U.S. and its allies against Iran could soon become a devastating and deadly reality. The airstrike that killed Soleimani, conducted by the U.S. in Baghdad, was conducted without the authorization or even prior notification of the U.S. Congress and without the approval of Iraq’s government or military, making the attack flagrantly illegal on multiple levels. The attack also killed Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was an advisor to Soleimani.

“The assassination of an Iraqi military commander who holds an official position is considered aggression on Iraq … and the liquidation of leading Iraqi figures or those from a brotherly country on Iraqi soil is a massive breach of sovereignty,” Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said of the attack, adding that the assassination was “a dangerous escalation that will light the fuse of a destructive war in Iraq, the region, and the world.”

Notably, the assassination of Soleimani comes just a few months after an alleged Israeli attempt to kill the Iranian general failed and amid a well-documented and decades-long push by U.S. neoconservatives and Israeli officials for a U.S.-led war with Iran.

While the illegality of the assassination has been noted by many since news of the attack first spread, less attention has been given to the oddities of the Trump administration’s official reasoning and justification for the attack that has brought with it renewed tension to the Middle East. Per administration officials, the attack was aimed at “deterring future Iranian attack plans” as well as a response to a rocket attack at the K1 military base near Kirkuk, Iraq on December 27. That attack killed one U.S. military contractor and lightly wounded several U.S. soldiers and Iraqi military personnel.

Yet, the details of that attack — even per mainstream U.S. sources that often support U.S. militarism — are incredibly murky, and the name of the American killed and the identity of the company he or she was working for have not been released. Some media reports have referred to the contractor as a “Pentagon contractor” while others have used the term “civilian contractor,” leading some to speculate that the contractor might have been a private mercenary in the employ of the Pentagon.

In addition, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and media reports have noted that the attack could just as easily have been conducted by remnants of the Islamic State as by the Iraqi Shia militia (Kataib Hezbollah) that was officially blamed by U.S. officials. An official investigation into the incident, being conducted by the Iraqi military, has yet to be concluded. Notably, the U.S. previously claimed it had compelling evidence to blame Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last June, only to have staunch U.S. allies in the region claim that alleged U.S. evidence of Iranian involvement was insufficient.

Tim Shorrock

@TimothyS

“There are about 5,000 American troops in Iraq. The number of civilian contractors is far more difficult to track.” That’s journalistic malpractice. Trump is going to war to avenge a contractor’s death. We have a right to know who he or she is. https://nyti.ms/2Q2eQaB 

Members of Iraq’s Counter-terrorism Service (ICTS) perform during a graduation ceremony at a base near Baghdad. Rocket attacks against bases used by Iraq’s security services have killed an American security contractor and injured a dozen Iraqi officers.

American Contractor Killed in Rocket Attack in Iraq

Attack on Iraqi base near Kirkuk, also injured several American and Iraqi military personnel

nytimes.com

Furthermore, the U.S. had already responded to the death of the contractor, launching five different attacks in Iraq and Syria in late December, killing an estimated 25 and motivating Iraqi protesters to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad as many of those killed by those airstrikes were Iraqis. The subsequent airstrike that killed Soleimani seems like overkill for the official justification of avenging the death of one American.

Given the above, the question then becomes — is the Trump administration basing its assassination of a top Iranian general in Iraqi sovereign territory in clear violation of international law on the death of a single individual that the government will not even name? Even when five strikes were already launched to allegedly avenge that same individual?

Risking a regional war to allegedly avenge the death of an individual who was already avenged raises questions, especially for a President standing for re-election. The United States claims that the assassination was also intended to act as a “deterrent” against potential, future Iranian attacks, yet it is hard to justify the murder of a top general of a foreign power on foreign soil as a preemptive and preventative measure as opposed to one that would invite escalation. This is particularly true given that those that have most often sought an escalation in tensions between Iran and the U.S. and its Middle Eastern allies do not live in Tehran and Baghdad, but instead in Washington D.C. and Tel Aviv.

Failed assassination plots and domestic woes

Much has been written by MintPress and other outlets about the long-standing efforts by prominent neoconservatives in the U.S. as well as the Israel lobby and Israeli government to prod the U.S. into a major war with Iran. Neoconservative efforts at regime change in Iran have been decades in the making and the current presidential administration has several notable Iran hawks in prominent positions. Furthermore, both President Trump and his foremost ally in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are facing domestic efforts aimed at removing them from office and are facing fresh elections, giving both leaders incentive to ratchet up tensions abroad to distract from their own domestic conflicts.

Iran Soleimani

Yet, the current pressure facing both Trump and Netanyahu in their respective policies is only the latest factor that has pushed both administrations into a renewed and increasingly desperate push to satisfy the decades-old effort of Iran hawks in both countries to stoke war and “reshape” the Middle East in favor of the U.S.-Israel axis.

Given the recent assassination of Soleimani, however, it is essential to point out that the U.S. airstrike targeting the Quds Force leader came just a few months after Israel tried but failed to assassinate the general. Indeed, the most recent of these failed attempts was slated to occur early last October and, per The Times of Israel,

The assassins planned to dig under a religious site associated with Soleimani’s father and set off an explosion under the building when he was inside, and then try to deflect blame so that it ignited an interfaction[al] religious war. The assassins prepared some 500 kilograms to use for the bomb.”

Israel’s government did not comment on the alleged plot, though it is notable that the plan to dig below a Muslim holy site and plant a bomb has been attempted by Israeli extremist groups in the past, groups which have a major foothold in Israel’s current government.

This alleged attempt by Israel to kill Soleimani came after claims that, in 2018, the Trump administration had given Israel a “green light” to assassinate the general. The report claimed that “there is an American-Israeli agreement” that Soleimani is a “threat to the two countries’ interests in the region” and was published by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, which is widely considered to be “an Israeli platform for conveying messages to other countries in the Middle East,” according to Israeli media.

Israel may have planned to assassinate the general as a means of provoking war with Iran, which Netanyahu was actively promoting last February. At the time, Newsweek reported that “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his desire to go to war with Iran, and said he was meeting with dozens of foreign envoys, including those from the Arab world, in order to push the initiative forward.” Yet, with Israel’s closest ally having done the deed, Israel has kept relatively quiet about the incident, though Iranian officials have claimed that the assassination of Soleimani was jointly conducted by the U.S. and Israel.

Though the official yet dubious justifications for the strike have been given, the most likely result of the death of Soleimani is that it will “light the fuse of war,” as recently stated by Iraq’s Prime Minister. Whether Soleimani’s death alone will be enough to push the U.S., Iran and their respective allies to war remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the Trump administration seems content to continue to escalate the situation in pursuit of both long-standing ambitions of career war hawks as well as a release for quickly building domestic pressure ahead of the 2020 election.

Soleimani’s Assassination Is More than a Crime

By Andre Kortunov

Source

Qasem Soleimani 375e9

We do not know now and we will probably never know for sure what exactly pushed Donald Trump to endorse the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani. Was it the recent mob attack on the US Embassy in Bagdad? Was it the continuous pressure on the President by many US allies in the region – from Saudi Arabia to Israel – urging the White House to take more steps to stop the growing Iranian presence in the Middle East? Was it a flood of advice from self-proclaimed experts on Iran in Washington, who argued that elimination of Soleimani would shift the balance of powers in Tehran in favor of ‘reformers’ by depriving ‘hardliners’ of their most powerful and most popular leader? Or was it simply Trump’s anticipation of getting to media headlines as a strong and decisive global leader?

What we know, however, is that this decision was a clear violation of international law. The US President ordered the assassination of a high-level official from a foreign country, which was not in the state of war with the United States. Regretfully, the US foreign policy has crossed another redline. Though the White House together with CIA had planned assassinations of foreign leaders on many occasions in the past (just recall all the numerous attempts to kill Fidel Castro), US Presidents had never announced such goals publically, not to mention – had taken pride in arbitrary overseas killings.

Nevertheless, this is more than a crime. This is a serious mistake. Anybody who knows anything about Iranians argues that Tehran will have to respond to the US move, even if this response will not come tomorrow. No US allies in the region can feel safer today than they felt on January 2; Iran has many ways to undermine their security by using its strongholds and proxies in Yemen, in Syria, in Lebanon and in other locations all over the MENA region. State leaders in KSA, UAE and Israel should get prepared for the worst-case scenarios. The same applies to the US military personnel stationed in Iraq and in Syria – they will be the most apparent targets for the Iranian revenge. As for the balance of powers in Tehran, Iranian hardliners do not suffer a deficit of highly experienced and highly motivated leaders ready to replace Soleimani. If the domestic balance of powers shifts, it shifts in favor of the Revolutionary Guards, not the other way round. Will all these developments help Donald Trump in his reelection campaign? Hardly so.

One can hope that the Iranian reaction will not be emotional and excessive, but well-calibrated and properly measured. However, this tragic accident should also be signal to all regional and overseas players in the Middle East the time they still have to prevent a major war with unpredictable consequences is running out. Neither in Washington, nor in Tehran they are eager to start such a war, but the mixture of the Iranian pride and the US arrogance makes a highly explosive cocktail.

Unfortunately, all prospects for bilateral negotiations between Washington and Tehran are gone at least for another year. It means more than the end of hopes to reach a compromise on easing the US sanctions and on accepting some version of the “Macron oil plan”.  It also means that the risks of an inadvertent escalation in the region or of a direct US – Iranian conflict caused by a miscalculation, human or technical error, irresponsible behavior of proxies and so on, grows exponentially.

If the US – Iranian bilateral track if likely to remain blocked for some time ahead, it is even more pressing to activate the regional track. At the end of the day, if something disastrous happens in the region, the disaster will affect primarily local countries, not the US mainland. If there is no time and no political will around to put together a regional collective security system, one should at least think about a regional crisis management mechanism involving Iran and key neighboring Arab starts. Concerned overseas powers – like Russia, China, India, and EU – could assist in building this mechanism working with their respective regional partners. We should regard the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani as a wakeup call, not as a trumpet of the approaching Armageddon.

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