Iraqi Resistance Against US Forces to Persist Until Full Withdrawal – Asaib Leader

Iraqi Resistance Against US Forces to Persist Until Full Withdrawal - Asaib Leader

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of Iraq’s anti-terror movement Asaib Ahl al-Haq Sheikh Qais Khazali said the armed resistance against American forces occupying Iraq will continue until they are fully removed from the Arab country.

“As resistance groups, we have taken up and will continue to take up arms to destroy any US or US military presence on Iraqi soil,” Khazali said on Thursday.

“There is no room for American military bases, neither in al-Assad nor in al-Harir,” he said. “This is the decision and promise of the men of resistance.”

Iraqi lawmakers, last year, approved a bill requiring the Baghdad government to end the presence of all foreign military forces in the Arab country.

The Iraqi MPs’ decision came two days after the high-profile assassination of top Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror commanders – General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards [IRG], and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] – near Baghdad airport in a drone strike authorized by former US President Donald Trump.

Anti-American sentiments rose sharply following the assassination of the two top commanders, who played a major role in the defeat of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] in Iraq. It is estimated that there are currently 2,500 American troops in Iraq.

“We emphasize that the current operations of the resistance will continue and will increase everywhere in Iraq, in the west and in the north of the country. This is a fundamental issue which we want to be a national stance,” Khazali said.

He said demanding the expulsion of American forces amounts to the implementation of the country’s constitution.

The United States is set to resume strategic talks with Iraqi officials this month over the status of its combat forces in Iraq.

Talks between the US and Iraq began in June 2020 under the Trump administration. But the upcoming talks are the first under the Biden administration.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Khazali warned of certain countries’ agendas in Iraq, especially that of the United Arab Emirates, saying the UAE is seeking to impact Iraq’s election results.

“Therefore, we do not accept the result of an election handled by the Emirates’ rulers,” Khazali said, adding that the UAE’s plot will not be implemented as long as national forces and the anti-terror PMU forces are present in Iraq.

Earlier in March, Khazali warned of a conspiracy against Iraq hatched by an Emirati security team which is reportedly in the country to influence the Iraqi intelligence service.

In his Thursday remarks, he also lauded the PMU forces for their sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.

Khazali also warned of secret attempts aimed at normalizing Iraq’s ties with the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime, saying that Iraq will not yield to such attempts.

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‘Truce with US occupiers is now over’: Iraq’s Sheikh al-Khazali

‘Truce with US occupiers is now over’: Iraq’s Sheikh al-Khazali

November 23, 2020

Description:

Secretary General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, announced in an interview with Iraqi state television that the truce that ‘resistance factions’ provided US occupying forces weeks ago had now ended.

Al-Khazali explained that the truce was now over because US occupying forces did not meet the main condition of providing a timetable for their withdrawal from Iraq.

The other key condition was that the Iraqi government retake control of its airspace from the Americans, which also did not occur.

The following is a translation of an Al Mayadeen TV news report about the Al-Iraqiya TV interview with al-Khazali.

Source: Al Mayadeen TV (YouTube)

Date: November 20, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Reporter:

“The truce with Washington is over.”
An announcement made by Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, the Secretary General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, declaring that the (conditional) truce had come to an end as the two conditions of the truce had not been met.


Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, Secretary General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement:

The conditions were not met, thus the truce is over. So we stress on the principle: our full right to militarily confront the foreign forces present (in our country). The implementation and tactics (of this confrontation) will depend on the developments and circumstances of the situation.

There were two conditions (for the truce), none of which were met…in exchange for the continuation of the truce. The first condition was a timetable for the (withdrawal) of the (occupying) forces, based on a reasonable timeframe. The second was the recontrol of (Iraqi) airspace by Iraq’s state and government.  

Reporter:

These were among a range of positions that Al-Khazali announced in his interview with the Al-Iraqiya TV, the most prominent of which was stressing on the principle of the full right to militarily confront (the occupying) foreign forces, in addition to stating that there is (precise) information regarding the presence of a spy within the three (branches) of government.

Between the American and Turkey military threats towards Iraq respectively, Al- Khazali described the threat by Ankara as the greater and more dangerous (of the two).

Al- Khazali:

The (looming) Turkish military threat will be graver, greater and more dangerous than the threat posed by the American military presence; as for the American military presence (in the coming days), it will definitely be contained.

Reporter:

Al- Khazali was keen to outline the reasons Mustafa Al-Kadhimi took over as (Iraq’s) new prime minister. He elaborated that (the common) interest finally necessitated the nomination of a secular, ‘Shia’ prime minister who was ‘non-Islamic’ (i.e. did not practice Islam in the realm of politics), and who also had no relations with Iran but had close relations with the US and the Gulf.

While waiting for the (official) results of the US elections, Al- Khazali deemed the announcement of Biden’s victory a restoration of (American) policy that functioned according to specific formulas reflecting a certain rationale. However, he is convinced that Washington does not wish well for Iraq and the region, because it prioritises the strategic security of the Israeli entity.

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Iraqi Resistance Forces Vow Not to Put Down Their Weapons, Say Unmet Truce is Over

Iraqi Resistance Forces Vow Not to Put Down Their Weapons, Say Unmet Truce is Over

By Staff, Agencies

A senior Iraqi leader vowed that the Islamic resistance forces will not lay down their arms as long as Iraq is under threat.

Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, said the Iraqi government is entitled to having a monopoly on carrying and using weapons in order to restore stability to the country.

However, he noted that the Iraqi resistance forces will continue carrying arms as long as the country is in danger.

In interview with the Al-Iraqiya TV, Khazali said resistance forces carry weapons for a specific goal and reason.

“Once that goal is achieved, they will lay down their weapons,” he noted.

He said he is opposed to rocket attacks against the US embassy, and so are many other groups, as it is a diplomatic site.

“Resistance groups are opposed to [the US] occupation; we do not approve of rocket attacks against diplomatic centers,” he added.

The heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, which hosts foreign diplomatic sites and government buildings including the US embassy, has been frequently targeted by rockets and explosives in the past few years.

Washington, each time, has been quick to point the finger at popular anti-terror groups, which are now integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.

The US has time and again targeted positions of Iraq’s anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units [PMU], also known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, after blaming the major anti-terror force for the rocket attacks.

The popular group and other resistance forces have strongly denied any involvement in the strikes. They even agreed last month to stop military operations against US and foreign forces in Iraq to allow them to leave the Arab country.

Khazali, however, said the ceasefire announced by Islamic resistance groups has come to an end as two conditions for the truce have not been met.

“The two conditions included Iraq’s control over its airspace and setting up a timetable for the withdrawal of American occupying forces from Iraq,” he said in the Thursday interview.

“We will establish the principle of our full right to confront alien forces militarily,” he added.

Anti-American sentiments have been running high in Iraq since the US assassinated Iran’s anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and deputy head of Iraq’s anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad on January 3.

Just days later, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously passed a bill mandating the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq.

The US has refused to withdraw its troops, with US President Donald Trump balking at the idea with the threat to seize Iraq’s oil money held in bank accounts in the United States.

Iraqi resistance groups have pledged to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with the parliamentary order.

The US announced on Tuesday that it would slash troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 in each country, their lowest levels in nearly 20 years of invasion.

Washington still has some 3,000 troops stationed across Iraq.

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RAIN OF ROCKETS HITS US FORCES IN IRAQ. ISRAELI-UAE PEACE DEAL CRUMBLES DAYS AFTER ITS ANNOUNCEMENT

South Front

As it was expected, the ‘historic’ UAE-Israeli peace deal did not contribute to the stability in the Middle East. Instead, the situation has been slowly, but steadily moving towards a larger confrontation in the region.

Immediately after the announcement of the US-sponsored peace deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country is not going to fulfill one of its key provisions – the suspension of the annexation of West Bank territories. The prime minister emphasized that the annexation plan was just delayed, but not suspended.

“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said adding that “Israel will have comprehensive peace agreements with other Arab countries without returning to the 1967 borders.”

This unfortunate, but expected statement goes fully in the framework of the Israeli regional policy and contradicts position of the US-sponsored deal reached with the UAE. In particular, Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed emphasized that “it was agreed to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli actions strengthened the already existing controversy over the deal and on August 15-16, the situation escalated in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Palestinian protesters with explosives tried to approach the security fence and then Palestinian forces launched at least 2 rockets at southern Israel. In its own turn, IDF aircraft conducted a series of airstrikes on what Tel Aviv described as Hamas targets.

If the Israeli leadership keeps its course on the annexation of the West Bank areas, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will expectedly escalate, and even possibly expand further. For example, in this scenario, an escalation could be expected in the area of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and on the Lebanese-Israeli contact line.

On August 14, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah already declared that the movement “will not remain silent on the crime of the bombing the Port of Beirut if it is proven that Israel is behind it.” According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah would wait for results of an investigation into the Beirut port explosion and if it turns out to be an act of sabotage by Israel then it would “pay an equal price”.

The August 4 blast in the port of Beirut is still surrounded by mystery and uncertainties, and many sources, including the top US leadership, still consider the possibility that the tragedy was caused by some kind of ‘attack’. In this event, the main suspect is Israel, which has always been interested in the destabilization of neighboring Arab states to secure own dominance in the region.

Tensions are also growing between the United States and Iran. On August 14, the Department of Justice announced that US forces have seized some 1.116m barrels of Iranian fuel aboard 4 ships headed for Venezuela. The seizure came amid increasing attacks on US forces and facilities from pro-Iranian and anti-US armed groups in Iraq.

On the evening of August 16, a rocket targeted the Green Zone of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which houses government buildings and foreign missions. The strike led to no casualties. Just a few hours earlier, the pro-Iranian armed group Ashab al-Kahf released a video showing an improvised explosive device attack on a US equipment convoy in the Anbar area. The group claimed that the convoy was fully destroyed. On August 15, two rockets targeted the biggest US military base in Iraq – Camp Taji. The base is located north of Baghdad. On the same day, a convoy carrying logistical supplies for the U.S.-led coalition was targeted on the highway between Dhi Qar and Basrah in southern Iraq. The attack was conducted by another pro-Iranian group, Usbat al-Tha’ireen. Pro-US sources denied any casualties as a result of the attack. These were just the most recent in about two dozen various attacks on US-affiliated targets in Iraq during the past few weeks.

If the US and Iran continue the current confrontational course, it is expected that the number and intensity of attacks in Iraq will increase boosting the chances of an open confrontation between the US and Iranian-led forces.

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IRANIAN-BACKED FORCES CHALLENGE US MILITARY IN IRAQ WITH INCREASING ROCKET ATTACKS

South Front

In the recent weeks the US-led coalition in Iraq experienced a turn for the worse.

On the evening of August 10th, a military convoy carrying equipment for US forces near the Iraq-Kuwait border was reportedly targeted by an explosion. The Iraqi Shiite armed group, Ashab al-Kahf, issued a statement claiming that its forces had destroyed “equipment and vehicles belonging to the American enemy” in a bombing, targeting a border crossing south of the Iraqi city of Basra. The group also released a video purposely showing the attack.

Ashab al-Kahf is one of multiple anti-US resistance groups, which have surfaced in Iraq since early 2020 after the US assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, the deputy chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several other prominent Iraqi officers leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq. All these new groups declare their goal to be forcing US troops to leave Iraq and conduct attacks on US military infrastructure and forces. This has already become an everyday reality for the US military.

Additionally to the August 10 attack, there were at least 4 more military incidents blamed by the US and mainstream media on these groups during the past weeks.

Early on August 12, 3 rockets fell near the US embassy building in the Baghdad Green Zone. No casualties were reported. On August 5, at least one rocket was launched at the US embassy area in Baghdad. The rocket was reportedly intercepted by the C-RAM [Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar] system which was recently deployed in the area by the U.S. military. On July 30, two rockets targeted the military section of the Baghdad International Airport, where US forces were deployed. On July 27, multiple rockets pounded the US-operated military base ‘Camp Taji’ north of Baghdad.

The structure and intensity of these attacks demonstrate that they are mostly aimed at pressuring the US military and political leadership into directing a troop withdrawal by creating a hostile environment rather than causing large-scale damage to US forces. If Washington decides to ignore them and accepts instead an increase in casualties in the region, such a resistance may continue for years without a breakthrough. Nevertheless, an especially successful rocket strike leading to significant casualties might well lead to an open military response from the United States. The most likely scenario would then be large-scale airstrikes on what Washington would call ‘Iranian and Iranian proxy targets’ in Iraq and eastern Syria. However, such an isolated even if powerful response would not be enough to change the situation strategically. Therefore, if the situation develops in the current direction, the low intensity conflict between the US and Iranian-led forces in Iraq would enter a lingering phase. The prospects for the stabilization of the economic and security situation in the country would be seriously in question.

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Iraqi Resistance Leader: US Presence in Iraq Protects ‘Israel’s’ Security

Iraqi Resistance Leader: US Presence in Iraq Protects ‘Israel’s’ Security

By Staff, Agencies

Secretary General of Iraqi resistance movement ‘Asaib Ahl al-Haq’ Sheikh Qais al-Khazaali stressed that the US presence in Iraq aims to protect the security of the “Israeli” entity.

Al-Khazaali’s remarks were made during a Monday address on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

Questioning the intentions of the US military forces withdrawal, al-Khazaali said that “the American presence in Iraq is in order to protect the security of the ‘Israeli’ entity.”

He further stressed that “there is a popular and courageous public will that refuses to keep any foreign force on Iraqi soil.”

“We are not warlords, not bloodthirsty, but patriots, and we are looking for the dignity and sovereignty of the nation,” he added.

Al-Khazaali further voiced the Iraqi resistance’s readiness to pay lives and blood for dignity and sovereignty: “We are not warlords nor thirsty for blood, but patriots, and we are searching for the dignity and sovereignty of the homeland.”

“The United States, which is a superpower, could 

Statement of Leaders of Resistance Axis on Al-Quds Int’l Day

Statement of Leaders of Resistance Axis on Al-Quds Int’l Day

Translated by Staff, Live Coverage

Resistance Axis leaders and several figures are giving televised statements on the occasion of the al-Quds International Day organized by the International Committee to Revive al-Quds International Day in cooperation with Islamic Radios and Televisions Union [IRTVU].

The first statement was delivered by head of the Political Bureau of Hamas Movement, Ismail Haniyeh.

Hanyieh started his statement by shedding light on the situation in al-Quds saying it “is temporarily suffering three sieges,” warning “Israelis” of committing any stupid move in dealing with al-Aqsa Mosque.

Hanyieh then called for a comprehensive move in facing the so-called “deal of the century”, adding that “Al-Quds is suffering one of the most dangerous stages”.

Elsewhere in his statement, the Hamas leader said, “Iran has not hesitated to support the resistance in all its types”.

“We salute the Islamic Republic for its support for the Palestinian Cause and we salute Imam Khomeini, who launched the International al-Quds Day”, Haniyeh said.

The Hamas leader concluded his statement by reiterating that “al-Quds is the capital of the state of Palestine on all of its land, from its sea to its river”.

The second statement was delivered by al-Quds Bishop Atallah Hanna.

Hanna began his statement by insisting that “al-Quds must be liberated”.

He added, “We call for toppling all schemes and conspiracies against our Holy City in particular and the Palestinian Cause in general”.

Bishop Hanna further said, “Al-Quds in particular is a cause that directly concerns both the Christians and Muslims in this world”.

“We will not abandon Al-Quds, which was and will remain the capital of Palestine, despite all deals and schemes, all normalization and conspiracies,” the cleric added.

Moreover, Hanna addressed the Arabs saying, “The Zionists attack al-Quds on daily basis and every hour. The ‘Israelis’ seek to undermine its history and identity”.

The third statement was delivered by Head of the Sunni Endowment of Iraq Sheikh Abd al-Latif al-Humaym.

Sheikh al-Humaym asserted that “al-Quds is the key to liberation”, stressing that “unlike any other day, al-Quds Day is an eternal and historic one”.

“Terrorism is made by the Zionist,” Sheikh al-Humaym said, adding, “We confront the occupier with determination and stubbornness, because al-Quds will not return to us except by fighting, and we confirm that it will not be a memory of the past”.

He further declared, “Nobody thinks that al-Quds could be bought or sold, and no one thinks that the way to liberate it is close”.

Sheikh al-Humaym concluded his statement by emphasizing that “normalization with the Zionist entity is Haram [forbidden], because it resembles a betrayal of the nation’s principles by all standards”.    

The fourth statement was delivered by Bahrain’s top Shia cleric His Eminence Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim.

Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim in his statement said, “The International al-Quds Day is now more than necessary to preserve the nation and its unity,” and “The choice of the Bahraini people is resistance in face of the occupation”.

“Remembering Martyr Qassem Soleimani is remembering al-Aqsa Mosque, its sanctity and importance. He is a resemblance to the Palestinian Cause,” Ayatollah Qassim said.

However, the Bahraini cleric warned, “Seeking to establish an alliance with ‘Israel’ serves the enemies of the Arab nation”, explaining that “Today, we witness an escalation in media talk demanding normalization and submission to the American and Zionist will”.

The fifth statement was delivered by Secretary General of Asaib Ahl al-Haq Movement Sheikh Qais al-Khazali.

For his part, Sheikh Qais al-Khazali began his statement by hailing the Martyr Leaders, “The blood of martyr leaders will destroy the American and ‘Israeli’ interests”.

“This aggressive ‘Israeli’ entity is not only harmful to Palestine and the Palestinian people, but to the entire Arab and Islamic world,” al-Khazali declared.

He went on to say, “Imam Khomeini’s announcement of al-Quds Day is a renewal to the memory of this Cause and a reminder to the whole world about it”.

Sheikh al-Khazali remembered martyrs General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis saying that their assassination was “an ‘Israeli’ decision in particular”.

“Ending the US military presence in Iraq and the region is an imperative thing and a matter of time,” said the SG of Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

The Iraqi leader concluded his speech declaring, “Ending the ‘Israeli’occupation to our Arab lands after the ending of the American military presence in our region is an inevitable issue”.

The sixth statement was delivered by Head of Yemen’s Ansarullah Movement Sayyed Abdul Malik al-Houthi.

Sayyed al-Houthi began his statement by condemning “all forms of normalization with the ‘Israeli’ enemy, considering them as prohibited by Islam”.

According to Sayyed al-Houthi, “the main reason behind the assassination of martyr Soleimani is his role in confronting the ‘Israeli’ enemy and the American hegemony, as well as standing by the peoples of the region”.

Sayyed al-Houthi further called for the liberation of the Palestinian detainees stating, “We are ready to raise the level of the deal by adding another Saudi pilot and 5 other officers to previous ones we have captured”.

The seventh statement was delivered by the Secretary General of Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine Ziyad Nakhalah.

Al-Nakhalah said, “Imam Khomeini’s announcement of al-Quds Day is for rising the nation and achieving its unity in face of ‘Israel’”.

He explained that “Al-Quds International Day is a day to renew the pledge to al-Quds – that: we are coming!”

Al-Nakhalah slammed governments that prevent their people from reviving al-Quds Day saying that this acts is “under the pretext that it is an Iranian occasion”, stressing that to al-Quds would not be given up in favor of “Israel”.

In the conclusion of his statement, the SG of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine said, “They are talking about the rights of the Jews in Palestine and not talking about the rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine”.

Finally, the eighth statement was delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Sayyed Nasrallah began his statement by hailing al-Quds day as “one of the blessed announcements of late Imam Khomeini”.

His Eminence said, “Today, due to faith, steadfastness, patience, honesty, sincerity and communication between countries and powers of the Axis of Resistance, we find ourselves closer to al-Quds and to its liberation”.

“Al-Quds Day expresses Iran’s firm commitment to the Palestinian Cause,” Hezbollah SG stated.

Sayyed Nasrallah explained that the image of people normalizing with the enemy “is not the true image of our nation, but rather it is of those who were concealing their stance; and today they have been exposed”.

Moreover, martyr Qassem Soleimani was not absent from Sayyed Nasrallah’s statement, as His Eminence said, “We miss this year the martyr of al-Quds, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, who was a major pillar of the resistance in the region”.

In the statement, the Secretary General assured Hezbollah’s commitment to the Palestinian Cause and explained, “The Zionist officials are terrified of the Axis of Resistance’s victories and anxious from the defeat of their and the US’ allies”

Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say, “We will continue in the path of martyr Soleimani and vow to achieve his aspirations. We will proceed in this path and be present on the fronts, as he taught us”.

Elsewhere in his statement, His Eminence said, “All the conspiracies to divide us have failed, and the meeting between us confirms that attempts to isolate Palestine also failed”.

Moreover, Sayyed Nasrallah made a pledge to martyr Hajj Soleimani as well as to all the martyrs and all the Mujahedeen, that “the day to liberate al-Quds is coming”.

“We assure the spirit of martyr Soleimani that we will complete his path and achieve his dreams and his most precious aspirations, regardless of psychological wars, sanctions, sieges and threats,” Hezbollah SG declared.

Sayyed Nasrallah also said, “We are paving the ground for the day – that will inevitably come – when we will all pray in al-Quds”.

As a conclusion, Sayyed Nasrallah said, “Today, I appeal to all the people of our nation to revive al-Quds Day in ways that are appropriate: be it in the media or in the cultural, political, social and artistic terms, with taking into consideration all required preventive measures amid Covid-19”.

“This year, al-Quds Day must be strongly present in our conscience, minds, hearts, emotions, will, culture, programs and actions”, Sayyed Nasrallah ended his statement.

US Preparing Ground in Iraq for ‘Deal of Century’

US Preparing Ground in Iraq for ‘Deal of Century’

By Staff, Tasnim

Iraqi resistance movement Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq warned that the US is paving the way for the implementation of the so-called ‘deal of the century’ in certain parts of Iraq, where it plots to settle displaced Palestinians.

In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Spokesman Mahmoud al-Rabiee said the movement has irrefutable evidence that the American forces are in cahoots with terrorists in Iraq.

“The US is trying to turn certain parts of Iraq into gateways for implementing the deal of the century and the western al-Anbar ploy. According to this plan, the Palestinians mentioned in the deal of century will be relocated to the western regions of al-Anbar province.”

Pointing to the active presence of American forces in western al-Anbar and in areas near al-Tanf border crossing between Iraq and Syria, Rabiee said the US is also trying to transfer terrorists from Syria into Iraq.

The Americans are attempting to take control of those regions to make them safe for the implementation of the deal of the century, the spokesman added, deploring certain Iraqi parties for cooperating with the US to fulfill their personal interests.

Rabiee further emphasized that the US must respect the Iraqi Parliament’s decision to ratify a bill on the expulsion of foreign forces from his country. “They [the Americans] may delay withdrawing from Iraq and want to settle in areas that are a little far from the reach of the resistance forces, but it does not mean that resistance does not have access to them, and, if necessary, we will once again begin armed resistance.”

In early January, Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution telling the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq and ensure they do not use its land, air, and waters for any reason.

The move came after the assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, the deputy head of Hashd al-Shaabi Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and a number of their comrades in a US airstrike in Baghdad.

The strike was carried out by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of January 3.

U.S. Confirms Deployment Of Patriot Missiles In Iraq. Iran Prepares For Conflict In Straight Of Hormuz

South Front

On April 5, a series of large explosions rocked the village of al-Kastan in southwestern Idlib injuring 8 people, including 3 members of the so-called White Helmets. According to local sources, an ammunition depot located in the civilian area inside the city became the source of the explosion.

Al-Kastan is located near the town of Jisr al-Shughur, controlled by the Al-Qaeda-linked Turkistan Islamic Party. The exploded weapon depot likely belonged to the terrorist group or persons affiliated with it.

On the same day, the Turkish military established three new ‘observation posts’ around Jisr al-Shughur. They are located at the villages of Baksariya, al-Z’ainiyah and Furaykah. Idlib militants see Turkish positions as an important defense line that would allow containing possible Russia- and Iran-backed anti-terrorist operations in the area.

The 46th Regiment Base of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo came under Turkish artillery shelling. In response, Syrian forces struck position of Turkish-backed militants near Kafr Amma. The attack on the 46th Regiment Base became a third incident between the Turkish military and Syrian troops in less than a week. On April 3, two Syrian soldiers were killed in a Turkish artillery strike on their positions near Tell Abyad.

On April 4, Iraq’s largest resistance groups released a joint statement calling the US military “occupation forces” that “respect the language of force only”. In the statement, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat al-Awfiy’a, Saraya Ashura, Harakat Jund al-Imam and Saraya al-Khurasani added that recent attacks on US forces and facilities in Iraq were only a “minor response” to the US aggression and the decision to carry out full-scale attacks was not taken then.

Two days earlier, on April 2, Usbat al-Tha’ireen, the armed group that claimed responsibility for rocket strikes on Camp Taji and other US positions, released a 3-minute long drone footage of the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone. This is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world, and is nearly as large as Vatican City.

The US Central Command officially confirmed deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Iraq. However, the US military announced that it will not provide “providing status updates as those systems come online” for security reasons. At least two Patriot batteries are now located in at the US military bases of Ayn al-Assad and Erbil. Two more Patriot batteries will reportedly be deployed soon.

As part of its plan to redeploy forces to larger, more fortified bases, the US evacuated its troops from the al-Taqaddum Air Base in the province of al-Anbar. It became the fourth US military facility abandoned in Iraq within the last few weeks. The previous ones were located in al-Qaim, Kirkuk and al-Qayyarah.

Iraqi sources say that the US actions demonstrate that Washington is preparing for a new round of military confrontation with Iran and its allies in the region. Recently, President Donald Trump stated that the US was expecting attacks by Iranian-led forces on US troops and facilities, claiming that Iran will ‘pay price’ for this. Following the statement, Iran deployed additional anti-ship missiles and multiple rocket launchers on the Qeshm Island in the Strait of Horumz.

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