‘Million-Man March’ in Baghdad Demands US Troop Pullout

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

A massive demonstration –called for by a prominent Shia cleric– has flooded the streets of the Iraq’s capital Baghdad, with thousands voicing their anger at the US military presence there.

Early on Friday morning, throngs of protesters – men and women, young and old – began amassing at al-Hurriya Square in central Baghdad, near the city’s main university. The anti-America rally, dubbed the “Million-man March,” was called by Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric.

Some were wearing white robes, symbolizing their readiness to die for a religious cause, while others were pictured holding signs that read: “To the families of American soldiers – insist on the withdrawal of [your] sons from our country or prepare their coffins!”

“Get out, get out, occupier!” protesters shouted, while others chanted, “Yes to sovereignty!”

Security forces have cordoned off main roads in the capital, and the city’s Green Zone – home to foreign embassies and government premises – was barricaded with concrete barriers.

There are no reports yet on protesters heading for the US embassy, but a banner warning against crossing the barriers has reportedly been erected outside the mission.

The march comes just weeks after Iraq was shaken by an American drone strike near Baghdad airport, which killed Iran’s top General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of Iraq’s Shia militia, along with other officers.

Aside from triggering a flare-up of military tensions and a retaliatory Iranian strike on US bases in Iraq, the killing sparked outrage among those Iraqis who see the 16-year American troop presence in their country as an unlawful occupation.

Official Baghdad, for its part, blamed Washington for breaching its sovereignty, with the lawmakers of the Islamic republic having passed a non-binding resolution calling on the government to expel all foreign troops from the country.

US media has suggested that the Pentagon was planning the withdrawal of its 5,000 troops from Iraq, but these reports were officially refuted afterwards.

RT

Huge Crowds in Baghdad Call for the Ouster of US Forces from Iraq

Huge crowds of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad on Friday to demand the ouster of US troops from the country.

The demonstration set off from al-Jadriyah and al-Karrada regions adjacent to the Green Zone in central Baghdad.

The demonstrators raised the national flags, chanted slogans rejecting the US presence on Iraqi soil and denounced the criminal actions committed by the US administration by targeting Iraqi military forces and resistance leaders.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces have taken strict measures and cut a number of roads in central Baghdad in coincidence with the start of the massive demonstration, according to an Iraqi security source.

In statements to SANA correspondent in Baghdad, a number of demonstrators confirmed that the US military presence is the cause of all the dilemmas that Iraq is witnessing.

They demanded the immediate implementation of the Iraqi Parliament’s resolution which call for the expulsion of the US and foreign forces from all Iraqi lands.

This demonstration, according to demonstrators, represents a real popular referendum on the rejection of any US military presence in the country.

On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution bending the government to end the foreign presence in the country after the US crimes against Iraqi military headquarters and high ranking Iraqi and friendly resistance leaders.

رسائل أميركية: لا تعايش مع حزب الله

سياسة قضية اليوم هيام القصيفي الجمعة 24 كانون الثاني 2020

(هيثم الموسوي)

لم يعد حفظ الاستقرار عنواناً وحيداً للسياسة الأميركية في لبنان، لأن لبنان أصبح مرادفاً لحكومة إصلاحات وحل الأزمة المالية ووضع حزب الله. فما قاله وزير الخارجية الاميركي لا يتعلق بالوضع الحكومي فحسب، بعدما سبقته جملة رسائللم يكن لبنان الرسمي يحتاج الى تعليق وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو حول لبنان والوضع المالي والحكومة، لتصله الرسالة واضحة أمام الرأي العام الدولي والمحلي لأن كل ما قاله بومبيو ليس مفاجئاً لا بالطريقة ولا بالفحوى، إذا كان قد وصل الى مسامع عدد من المسؤولين الرسميين في أشكال مختلفة، إما من خلال زيارات الموفدين الأميركيين، أو من خلال رسائل وصلت إليهم في لبنان وفي واشنطن.

مصدر سياسي موثوق أكّد أنه في الأيام الأخيرة السابقة لتأليف الحكومة، طلب أحد المسؤولين من شخصية لبنانية مقربة من بومبيو استطلاع الموقف الأميركي حيال لبنان، في ضوء التطورات المحلية والإقليمية الأخيرة. كان الجواب أكثر صراحة مما قاله الوزير الأميركي علانية، إذ إنه أبلغ محدثه أن واشنطن لم تعد مقتنعة بأن «التعايش» مع حزب الله وقوى سياسية في لبنان مفيد، وأن واشنطن لم تعد تريد سماع وجهة النظر هذه وليست مقتنعة بها، ومن يرِد هذا التعايش ويستمر به، لا يسأل واشنطن عن رأيها. واستطراداً لا شأن لواشنطن بكل ما تحاول القوى السياسية القيام به بالتعاون مع الحزب، حكومياً أو غير حكوميّ، ومن يرد أن يتحالف مع الحزب ويستمر بالتعاون السياسي معه فهذا شأنه، لكن على هذه القوى أن تتحمل أيضاً مسؤوليتها في الموقف الذي تتخذه. واستطراداً، كانت لغة الوزير الأميركي صريحة في تحديد المسؤوليات لجهة «وضع حزب الله وتعاون أطراف سياسيين معه، الأمر الذي أدى الى هذا الانهيار الحتمي»، بعيداً عن كل مسار المفاوضات حول تأليف الحكومة والمشاركين فيها.

حين وصلت الرسالة الى لبنان، ورغم أن ناقليها أبلغوا جدية الموقف الأميركي، اعتبر المعنيون في بيروت أن الكلام الأميركي هو من باب التحذير ليس إلّا، للضغط في الملف الحكومي، وعدم مشاركة حزب الله في الحكومة. ورأوا أن واشنطن لا تزال ترعى الاستقرار السياسي والأمني في لبنان، ولن تتخلى عنه، وأن تشكيل الحكومة سيدفع بها حكماً الى أن تستمر في دعمها له، تحت سقف احتمال عودة التفاوض بينها وبين إيران.

تزامناً، تبلغ المعنيون في بيروت رسالة أميركية مفادها أن واشنطن لن تساعد لبنان مالياً واقتصادياً إن لم يساعد نفسه، وهي لن تقدم على خطوات مجانية، ولن تدفع أياً من الدول المانحة الى تقديم مساعدات، ما لم يلجأ لبنان الى خطط اقتصادية ومالية واضحة. وأي حكومة لا تقوم بإصلاحات لن تتلقى دعماً مالياً ومساعدات تمكّنها من تحقيق مشاريعها. مرة جديدة، قوبل الكلام الأميركي بالتجاهل، وسط تأكيدات القوى السياسية اللبنانية المعنية أنها لا تزال تستند الى شخصيات ودوائر أميركية فاعلة تؤكد أنه ليس في مصلحة الإدارة الأميركية التخلي عن لبنان اقتصادياً، وأنها ستحثّ الدول المانحة على تقديم مساعداتها، كي لا يتسبب الانهيار بمزيد من الفوضى. وتستند هذه التأكيدات الى الموقف الفرنسي الداعم لأي حكومة من أجل إطلاق متجدد لمؤتمر «سيدر»، وإلى حد ما إلى موقف بريطانيا والاتحاد الأوروبي الذي سيدفع حتماً الى احتضان أميركي للبنان، رغم تبدل مواقف وتدابير دول أوروبية تجاه حزب الله، كبريطانيا وألمانيا، والحملة الأميركية لتوسيع هذه التدابير، التي عبّر عنها السفير الأميركي في ألمانيا ريتشارد غرينيل المعروف بتصلبه تجاه إيران.

رأى المعنيّون في بيروت أن الكلام الأميركي هو من باب التحذير ليس إلّا

وتشير معلومات مصادر سياسية الى أن القوى السياسية فضلت تجاهل الرسائل، واكتفت بما هو قابل للتطبيق عملياً، أي الشق المتعلق بحماية التظاهرات الذي شددت عليه كل الرسائل الأميركية الدبلوماسية، وتسريع تشكيل الحكومة كإشارة اطمئنان لجلب المساعدة الدولية، فيما أبدت اطمئنانها الى أن لبنان على كل مستوياته الرسمية السياسية والأمنية سبق أن أعطى أجوبة لواشنطن حول حزب الله وموقعه في المعادلة اللبنانية، وكانت الدوائر الاميركية المختصة متفهمة للأجوبة اللبنانية، وهذا الأمر لا يزال قائماً حتى الساعة. لكن بحسب هذه المصادر، فإن هذه الأجوبة تتعلق بمرحلة سابقة، ودخلت عليها مؤشرات حديثة تتعلق بالعلاقة الأميركية الإيرانية، والتطورات اللبنانية الداخلية وانفجار التظاهرات على نحو غير مسبوق. لم تنظر واشنطن برضى الى أداء السلطة السياسية في تجاهلها للتظاهرات، وموقفها من تأليف الحكومة سبق أن حددته عبر القنوات المعتمدة أنه سيكون مشابهاً لموقفها من التسوية الرئاسية، مع خطوات متقدمة أكثر بسبب تغير المناخ اللبناني والإقليمي. أما بالنسبة الى الوضع المالي والاقتصادي، فهناك شقان، واحد يتعلق بالعقوبات التي لا تزال قائمة بحسب معلومات قوى لبنانية على صلة بواشنطن، في حق شخصيات لبنانية، وأنها ستعلن في الوقت المناسب. أما الشق الثاني فيتعلق بالانهيار المالي. فقد سبق أن أرسلت واشنطن مع وكيل وزير الخارجية دايفيد هيل، رسائل واضحة تتعلق بضرورة تشكيل حكومة قادرة على إجراء إصلاحات جذرية، وبعيدة عن مصالح السياسيين والأحزاب. ونبّه هيل بوضوح إلى أن الوضع المالي خطير ولا يحتمل المساومات التي تقوم بها القوى السياسية. وهذا الكلام عمره شهر تقريباً. ورغم أن بعض القوى السياسية حاولت إضفاء أجواء إيجابية على زيارة الموفد الأميركي وعدم دخوله في تفاصيل الحكومة وتعبيره عن رغبة واشنطن في حفظ استقرار لبنان، إلا أن هيل كان واضحاً في تحديد أجندة واشنطن وخاصة وزير الخارجية، ولم يكن التحذير من الانهيار المالي سوى أحد بنودها، ولا سيما أن المعلومات والتفاصيل حول مستويات التدهور الاقتصادي الداخلي أصبحت على طاولة كثير من الدبلوماسيين المعنيين مباشرة، وهم يتحدثون عنها تفصيلياً، ويلتقون مع واشنطن على فكرة أن لبنان يماطل في وضع حد للانهيار الاقتصادي وعدم المسارعة إلى إقرار خطة إنقاذ تكون على مستوى خطورة الأزمة.

An Army for Hire: Trump Wants to Make Money by Renting Out American Soldiers

Philip Giraldi

January 23, 2020

To stay that there has been some strange stuff coming out of the White House lately would be an understatement. If President Donald Trump knew a bit more about history, he would understand that countries that rent out their national armies to serve as mercenaries usually wind up holding the short end of the stick. There is the example of Pyrrhus of Epirus in the third century B.C., for whom the expression “Pyrrhic victory” was coined, and, more recently there was the British employment of 30,000 Hessian and other German soldiers in the American revolution. Hessian regiments were rented out by their prince to the King of England to pay the expenses of his government. The use of mercenaries by the British was cited by the colonists as one of their principal grievances and the Hessians became the losers in one of the few early colonial victories at Trenton.

There is currently considerable evidence surfacing suggesting that Trump views the United States military as some kind of mercenary force, a cash and carry security option for those who can come up with the dough. In a recent interview that Trump gave to Laura Ingraham of Fox News, the president boasted that “We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank.”

Some readers might just suspect that they’ve heard language like that before, but they are most likely recalling The Godfather part 1 movie where Marlon Brando playing a young Vito Corleone was running a protection racket for small businesses and shopkeepers in New York’s Little Italy. Corleone first had to kill the Black Hand extortionist Don Fanucci in order to take over his racket, something that has a certain resonance with what is going on currently in Iraq.

Trump has long complained that America’s allies are not paying enough to compensate the United States for the protection that it provides all over the world. He has pressured allies to pay for the U.S. military presence, even demanding that the Iraqis and South Koreans should reimburse the construction costs of airfields and other defense installations that have been used as bases by the American army and air force. Indeed, not surprisingly, the only country that gets away with having a U.S. base without any Trumpean demand for compensation is Israel, which actually gets the base plus more than $3.8 billion a year in “aid.”

In the case of the Saudis, the government in Riyadh has ponied up the money to pay for the Trump relocation of 3,000 American soldiers. The move is intended to help protect the Kingdom from possible attack by Iran or its proxies, a particular concern given the devastating attack staged by an unidentified someone on the major Saudi oil refinery on September 14th. One might recall, however, that the “unholy” presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia prior to 9/11 was a major grievance successfully exploited by al-Qaeda, resulting in 15 of the 19 presumed airline hijacking terrorists being Saudis.

Trump’s logic on the issue is that of an accountant who works for a protection racket. He looks to make a profit, without regard for the collateral costs that cannot be entered in double entry book keeping. The reality is that sending soldiers to places where they should not necessarily be largely because some foreign country can foot the bill loses sight of the fact that some of those people being ordered abroad will die. That is unacceptable and it makes the American Army little better than a mercenary force, hardly a “force for good” as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have it.

Kelley Vlahos of The American Conservative reports how the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia will man “…assets designed to help the Saudi military guard against Iranian attacks, including four Patriot batteries, a terminal high-altitude area defense system, or THAAD air defense system, and two squadrons of fighter jets. She also observes the “clincher” in the deal, which is that “…one important aspect of the deployment is the presence of American forces in more locations across the kingdom. They believe Iran has demonstrated its reluctance to target American personnel, either directly or indirectly, in part because Trump has made clear that would trigger a military response.”

In other words, as Vlahos observes, U.S. military personnel would be serving as human shields for the Saudis, to deter possible Iranian attacks. That sounds like a very bad bit of thinking on the part of whichever lunkhead in Washington came up with the scheme.

If the Saudi case were not bad enough, the Washington Post has also recently published an article extracted from a new book entitled A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America, by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, which includes detailed accounts of meetings between the president and his senior staff.

The book is admittedly designed as a hit piece on Trump and it tends to beatify the military and its senior officers while also uncritically accepting America’s global role, but some of the invective hurled at the generals and admirals by Trump is, quite frankly, disgusting. One particular meeting held at the Pentagon’s top security Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting room called “The Tank” is reported in detail, clearly from the notes and recollections of participants or possibly even from a recording. It took place six months into the Trump administration on July 20, 2017, and included Vice President Mike Pence, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph F. Dunford, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the leaders of the military branches. Trump’s personal “strategist” Steve Bannon was also in attendance. Per the article, Mattis and other cabinet members present had arranged the meeting because they had become alarmed by Trump’s lack of knowledge of the key international alliances forged by Washington following after World War II. Trump had been routinely dismissing America’s allies as worthless.

Mattis, Cohn, and Tillerson used PowerPoint presentations for ninety minutes in the belief that it would keep Trump from getting bored. The graphics showed where U.S. troops were stationed and explained the security arrangements that had led to America’s global defense and national security posture.

Trump occasionally spoke up when he heard a word he didn’t like, describing American overseas bases as “crazy” and “stupid.” His first complaint was over his perception that foreigners should pay for U.S. protection. Regarding South Korea he fumed, “We should charge them rent. We should make them pay for our soldiers. We should make money off of everything.”

Trump also called NATO useless, not because of their lack of a raison d’etre, but instead based on what they owed. “They’re in arrears,” he shouted and gesticulated, as if they were late on their rent payments, before directing his ire against the generals. “We are owed money you haven’t been collecting! You would totally go bankrupt if you had to run your own business.”

Trump then got specific, naming Iran, saying of the nuclear pact with that country, which he had not yet withdrawn from, “They’re cheating. They’re building. We’re getting out of it. I keep telling you, I keep giving you time, and you keep delaying me. I want out of it.” And Afghanistan? A “loser war. You’re all losers. You don’t know how to win anymore.”

Trump then went into a rage as he demanded oil to pay for the troops stationed in the Persian Gulf. “We spent $7 trillion; they’re ripping us off. Where is the fucking oil? I want to win. We don’t win any wars anymore…We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we’re not winning anymore.” Glaring around the room he concluded “I wouldn’t go to war with you people. You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

The only one in the room who responded to Trump’s tirade was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who objected “No, that’s just wrong Mr. President, you’re totally wrong. None of that is true. The men and women who put on a uniform don’t do it to become soldiers of fortune. That’s not why they put on a uniform and go out and die… They do it to protect our freedom.”

After the meeting ended and the participants were departing, Tillerson famously shook his head and opined “He’s a fucking moron.”

In a follow-up meeting in December, Trump called together his generals and other senior officials in the Situation Room, the secure meeting room on the ground floor of the West Wing. The subject was how to come up with a new policy for Afghanistan. Trump started the discussion by saying “All these countries need to start paying us for the troops we are sending to their countries. We need to be making a profit. We could turn a profit on this. We need to get our money back.”

Tillerson was again the only one to respond: “I’ve never put on a uniform, but I know this. Every person who has put on a uniform, the people in this room, they don’t do it to make a buck. They did it for their country, to protect us. I want everyone to be clear about how much we as a country value their service.” Trump was angered by the rebuke and three months later Tillerson was fired. Mattis subsequently resigned.

Even if one discounts, as many do, the rationalizations made by senior military officers and diplomats for staying the course in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, where they admittedly have screwed the pooch, there is something deplorable in a bullying president who sees everything in transactional terms, buying and selling. Sending American soldiers into potential death traps like Saudi Arabia as part of a non-existent strategy to make money is beyond criminal behavior. People on both sides die when the decision making coming out of the White House is bad, and there has been no president either more ignorant or worse in that respect than Donald J. Trump.

Houthis Anticipate US Assassination Attempts, Warn US Troops Will Be Targeted in Retaliation

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

As tensions in the Middle East continue to rise, there are indications that Donald Trump’s administration is planning to carry out assassination operations against high-ranking Houthi officials inside of Yemen similar to the U.S. assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard General, Qassem Soleimani, a move likely to open the door for further escalation in the region.

On Thursday, a high ranking Houthi official in Sana’a told MintPress News on condition of anonymity that the Houthis would not hesitate to target U.S. troops in the region if the Trump administration targets its personnel inside Yemen.

The statement comes in the wake of an announcement by United States officials that the U.S. military tried, but failed, to kill another senior Iranian commander on the same day a U.S. drone strike killed Soleimani.

According to reports, a U.S. military air attack targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) while he was in Yemen, but the mission was not successful. The U.S. Department of the Treasury claimed that Shahlai was based in Yemen and accused him of having “a long history of targeting Americans and US allies globally.”

Meanwhile, Yemeni activists and media pundits are expressing concerns over what they consider serious threats from Trump administration, pointing out that news of the unsuccessful assassination in Yemen should not be underestimated. Others have called on U.S. Congress to prevent any attacks on Yemeni soil and to keep U.S. soldiers in the region out of harm’s way.

The pretexts for U.S. attacks in Yemen are not without precedent. On October 13, 2016, the U.S. military announced that it had struck three coastal radar sites in Hodeida, an area of Yemen controlled by Houthi forces, in retaliation for an alleged failed missile attack on the USS Mason, a U.S. Navy destroyer. The Houthis maintain that they were not involved in any missile attacks against the Mason.

For their part, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) were clear in their warning to U.S. leaders in the wake of U.S. assassinations in Iraq, promising that U.S. troops in the Arabian Gulf or the Red Sea would be targeted without hesitation if the Trump administration attempts to target Houthi leaders in Yemen.

Yemen Soleimani assassination

The Yemeni army, which is loyal to Ansar Allah, is already preparing for anticipated U.S. attacks. Ansar Allah’s leadership has reaffirmed that their anti-U.S. position is based on a principled and ideological commitment, but historically, Ansar Allah has not directly targeted the United States or its interests in the region.

During a televised speech broadcast live on January 8 during Yemen’s martyr’s week commemoration, Abdulmalik Badr al-Din al Houthi, the leader of Ansar Allah, said that “We will no longer acquiesce to Trump’s equation in killing us and interfering in our affairs and to do nothing is no longer acceptable.” He went on to say that the Houthis’ dealings with the “carelessness of the United States which targets the nation’s leaders will be different.”

The Ansar Allah leader pointed out that if there was no U.S. support for Saudi Arabia, the war against Yemen would not have occurred, adding that the role of the United States in the war against his country includes supervision, management, political protection, destruction, and the supply of weapons.

He also warned Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from continuing their military campaign in Yemen, saying that “developments in the region are not in their interests.” Implying that the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran could be used against both the United States and Saudi Arabia in some way.

The threats of Ansar Allah, a group known to strike sensitive targets without hesitation, should not be underestimated. On September 14, Yemen hit two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais in a retaliatory attack that the United States blamed on Iran. Now, they have developed their arsenal of ballistic missiles and drones even further and experts say are likely capable of hitting U.S. troops in the region.

According to Houthi officials in Sana’a, the Trump administration appears to be using allegations of an Iranian troop presence in Yemen, an allegation that Houthis deny, as a pretext for further military action in the country, despite no evidence to back the claim.

Furthermore, the contrast between the Houthi reaction to that of Iran’s allies in the region after the U.S. assassinated Soleimani further suggests that Iran has no significant measure of influence over the Houthi’s decision-making process.

In fact, the Houthis fiercely rejected any and all foreign attempts to influence their decisions after the assassination of Soleimani. The group, thus far, has not promised to retaliate against U.S. troops as revenge for the murder of Soleimani as Iran’s allies in the region did in near unanimity. Moreover, they treated the incident with caution and decided not to be drawn into an escalation despite angry demonstrations that took place in many of Yemen’s cities over the assassination.

However, the Houthis have signed a military cooperation deal with Iran as a result of the continued war and blockade against their country and may work with Iran to take action against U.S. troops in the region should the U.S. target Houthi leaders in Yemen. According to some strategic decision-makers in Sana’a, retaliatory attacks could take place if even a single case of a U.S. attack in Yemen were to take place.

A legacy of targeted killings

In the wake of the U.S. killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi military leader Abu Majd al- Muhandis, many Yemeni politicians fear the Trump administration could carry out similar operations against high-ranking leaders in Yemen. The Saudi-backed assassinations of former presidents Saleh al- Sammad and Ibrahim al-Hamdi, both popular figures among Yemenis, are cemented in the country’s collective memory.

On November 6, 2017, Saudi Arabia released a list of 40 names of Houthis leaders and senior figures that the Kingdom wanted dead or alive. The list was issued by the Saudi Ministry of Interior, which offered rewards of between $5 to $30 million. On April 19, 2018, former president of the SPC, Saleh al-Samad, was assassinated by Saudi airstrikes in Hodeida while preparing for a protest to statements made by the American ambassador that the Houthi-controlled city of Hodeida will fall.

Almost two years after al-Sammad’s assassination, a criminal court in Hodeida has begun the trial of U.S. President Trump along with 61 Yemenis and foreigners, all believed to be involved in the assassination of the former head of the SPC. After finding ten suspects guilty, the court held its first hearing, trying Trump and the remaining 51 foreign and Yemeni defendants in absentia in late October.

The trial, which has drawn national media attention, may only be symbolic, but it sends a clear message to the U.S. that its operations in Yemen and its ongoing complicity in the worst man-made humanitarian crisis in the world is unacceptable and will undermine U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Before his assassination, Al-Sammad was attempting to carry out a plan to rebuild Yemen into a modern, stable and democratic state by 2030. He penned the National Vision, a manifesto of 175 goals focused on independence, freedom and non-submission to foreign influence.

Yemenis’ concerns about .U.S and Saudi intentions towards their national leaders were reinforced when the Yemeni Defense Ministry revealed that both U.S intelligence and Saudi princes’ were involved in the 1977 assassination of popular Yemeni president Ibrahim al-Hamdi after he refused Washington and Riyadh’s interference in Yemen’s internal affairs.

At a press conference, Brigadier Abdullah bin Amer, a senior official at the Yemeni Defense Ministry, released important documents related to the assassination of President al-Hamdi, including the names of those involved in his murder.

Before his death, al-Hamdi was attempting to pivot Yemen away from the Saudi kingdom and the United States and build Yemen’s independence by developing it’s oil reserves and its strategic location on the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. Now, according to senior Houthi officials, Sana’a is in possession of evidence that confirms the role of President Carter’s administration and the Saudi regime in the assassination, including planning, supervising and covering up the crime, according to Brigadier bin Amer.

The Last Lunch

MintPress was shown documents allegedly exchanged between U.S. and Saudi intelligence that indicated the involvement of the United States and former Saudi Kings Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Fahd bin Abdulaziz and their brother Sultan in the assassination, but was unable to independently verify their authenticity.

According to the documents as well as witness testimony, al-Hamdi was invited to lunch at the residence of Ahmad al-Qashmi, who was the Army chief of staff under his command. During his stay there, Ali Abdullah Saleh, then a brigade commander, and one of his bodyguards entered the house. Moments after they entered, al-Hamdi was killed in a hail of bullets.

Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, according to the documents, was in direct contact with Saleh al-Hadyan, the Saudi military attaché in Northern Yemen’s capital Sana’a at the time of the targeted killing. Riyadh allegedly dispatched three Saudi intelligence operatives to Sana’a hours before the assassination who then left Yemen three hours after the operation concluded.

“Saudi Arabia killed al-Hamdi under the supervision of Saudi military attaché, Saleh al-Hadyan because he was an opponent of Saudi Arabia and did not comply with its instructions and interventions in Yemen,” The late Abdullah Saleh said in a 2016 interview with RT Arabic in which he claimed that he had “evidence of the involvement of Saudi Arabia.”

When al-Hamdi came to power in 1974, North Yemen lacked even the most basic services and infrastructure. Moreover, the country was on the brink of collapse and tribesmen held significant power and influence. Al-Hamdi, much like Al-Sammad, created a development plan supervised by a number of committees which encouraged local communities to contribute to road construction, school buildings, and water networks.

Under al-Hamdi’s direction, North Yemen underwent a period of rapid economic growth. The country’s GDP rose from 21.5 percent in 1974 to 56.1 percent in 1977 and per capita income rose by 300 percent. Al-Hamdi, according to WikiLeaks documents, was also working to “prepare the groundwork for eventual elections” in North Yemen.

Given the fate shared by those willing to risk charting a path free of foreign intervention in Yemen, it is unlikely that the Houthis, nor their fellow countrymen, will take attempts by foreign countries to assassinate Yemeni leaders lightly.

Russia Condemns US “Unacceptable” Threats to Assassinate New Quds Force Commander

 January 24, 2020

Russia has severely censured US threat to assassinate Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, the new commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as “unacceptable.”

“I state once again that such statements are unacceptable for us. Such remarks have been made beyond rights and law, and representatives of world states are not entitled to utter them,” the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying at a news briefing in the capital Moscow on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman  Abbas Mousavi denounced Washington’s assassination threat against Brig. Gen. Qaani, stating that the latest remarks by US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook “are an official publicizing and blatant unveiling of targeted and state terrorism by the United States.”

“Now, after the Zionist regime [of Israel], the US is the second regime to officially announce that it has employed the resources of its government and armed forces for terrorist acts and that it will continue them in the future,” Mousavi added.

The Iranian diplomat further noted that Washington’s recourse to terrorist acts is a clear sign of “weakness, desperation, and confusion” among the officials of the American regime.

Mousavi then condemned “brazen remarks and terrorist acts” by US leaders, calling on the international community to also condemn them, “because the continuation of this trend would sooner or later befall everyone.”

Hook told the Arabic-language and Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat that the new Quds Force commander could face the fate of his predecessor, Lieutenant General Qassem Suleimani, who was assassinated along with the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their companions near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.

In a message addressed to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei on January 9, Brig. Gen. Qa’ani vowed to continue the path pursued by Lt. Gen. Suleimani “with might.” He said the goal was to drive American forces out of the region.

On January 8, IRGC fired a number of ballistic missiles at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western province of Andar, where more than 1,000 US troops are based, and another American military facility in Kurdistan’s regional capital Erbil.

The attack was in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s authorization of a drone strike that assassinated Lt. Gen. Suleimani and his companions earlier this month.

Source

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Over 4 Million People Join March Against US Presence in Iraq. 24 January 2020

By Telesur

Global Research, January 25, 2020

At least four million people Thursday demanded the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq with a march in Baghdad, which was convened by cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr three weeks after the murder of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani..

At the country’s capital, streets were filled with an endless column of people who paraded to express their repudiation of the U.S. military presence.

Banners showed slogans such as “No, No to the U.S. and Yes to Iraqi sovereignty,” “The willingness of free nations is stronger than the U.S. aggression,” and “Global terrorism is made in the U.S.”

While some protesters burned images of Donald Trump, others marched raising photos of the U.S. president’s face crossed out with a red “X”.

“We have not obtained anything from the U.S. except problems, wars, and sieges,” Ziyad Qasim Abdullah, a 39-year-old chauffeur, said.

The U.S. has “created sectarian conflicts in Iraq and divided people to plunder the wealth of our country,” he added and explained that he wants to “expel the occupation forces” from his country.​​​​​​​

Trump and Esper: No Evidence, Just a “Sneaky Feeling”. Time for the Invaders to Go Home

Video

Initially, the U.S. government justified the presence of its troops in Iraq by arguing the fight against the Islamic State, which managed to control large areas of Iraqi territory in 2014.

Since the defeat of this radical group in 2017, however, those troops have not been removed from this country.

As a result of the events unleashed by Jan. 3 bombings, in which Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani was killed, the Iraqi parliament approved a procedure for the departure of foreign troops​​​​​​​.

“If the U.S. meets these demands, then it is not an aggressor country,” Al-Sadr said and added that if the U.S. will become a “hostile country” if it violates the conditions specified for its departure.

The highest Shiite religious authority in Iraq, Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, also reaffirmed today “the need to respect the sovereignty of Iraq, the independence of its political decision, and its territorial unity.”

For his part, Iraq’s President Barham Salih posted a photo of Friday’s march on social media and wrote that Iraqis deserved a “fully sovereign state that serves its people.”

Initially, the U.S. government justified the presence of its troops in Iraq by arguing the fight against the Islamic State, which managed to control large areas of Iraqi territory in 2014.

Since the defeat of this radical group in 2017, however, those troops have not been removed from this country.

As a result of the events unleashed by Jan. 3 bombings, in which Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani was killed, the Iraqi parliament approved a procedure for the departure of foreign troops​​​​​​​.

“If the U.S. meets these demands, then it is not an aggressor country,” Al-Sadr said and added that if the U.S. will become a “hostile country” if it violates the conditions specified for its departure.

The highest Shiite religious authority in Iraq, Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, also reaffirmed today “the need to respect the sovereignty of Iraq, the independence of its political decision, and its territorial unity.”

For his part, Iraq’s President Barham Salih posted a photo of Friday’s march on social media and wrote that Iraqis deserved a “fully sovereign state that serves its people.”The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Telesur, Global Research, 2020

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I love our country. I’ve served as a soldier for nearly 17 years, deployed twice to the Middle East, and served in Congress for over 7 years. If Hillary & allies can destroy my reputation by implying I am a traitor to the country I love, they can do it to anyone #StandWithTulsi

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