Hezbollah Officially Announces Providing Palestinian Resistance with Decisive Intelligence Reports during Al-Quds Sword Battle

July 8, 2021

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem stated that the Resistance in Lebanon provided the Palestinian resistance factions with decisive intelligence reports during “Al-Quds Sword” battle, adding that this informational coordination changed the course of the confrontation with the Israeli enemy.

Sheikh Qassem told Al-Mayadeen TV Channel that the intelligence reports Hezbollah provided the Palestinian resistance with exposed the Zionist tricky announcement about launching a ground offensive.

It is worth noting that this is the first time Hezbollah officially announces this coordination with the Palestinian resistance during “Al-Quds Sword” battle.

The editor-in-chief of the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Ibrahim Al-Amin, said during an interview with Al-Manar TV Channel on May 28 that Hezbollah, IRGC, and Hamas established a chamber of military operations in Beirut during the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza.

Al-Amin added that officers from Hezbollah, IRGC, and Hamas coordinated the military confrontation in Gaza, adding that the Commander of IRGC’s Al-Quds Force, General Esmail Qaani, visited Lebanon twice to attend the chamber meetings.

Hezbollah transmitted weaponry and ammunition to Gaza and moved a number of Palestinian Resistance officers out of the Strip during the aggression, according to Al-Amin.

Al-Amin noted that the Islamic Resistance also provided the Palestinian factions with the needed data about the movements of the Israeli occupation military, which frustrated the enemy’s plot to ambush the Palestinian fighters near Gaza border, adding that drones were employed to reach this goal.

On May 10, 2021, the Palestinian resistance waged its battle against the Israeli enemy in response to the Zionist attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosue and plots to expel the Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Al-Quds, firing thousands of missiles at the Zionist settlements in most of the Palestinian cities and inflicting heavy losses upon the Zionists. The Zionist enemy insisted on its violations and launched an aggression on Gaza, killing 232 of its civilians and injuring around 1900 others. After an 11-day confrontation, the Palestinian resistance managed to defeat the Zionist aggression and provide Al-Quds City and its sanctities with a considerable protection from the Israeli attacks and violations.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Khamenei on Demise of Jebril: He Spent his Life Fighting for His People

July 8, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei offers his condolences on the demise of Palestinian freedom fighter Ahmad Jebril.

Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Ahmad Jibril
Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Ahmad Jibril

Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has offered his condolences on the demise of Palestinian freedom fighter Ahmad Jebril.

He called the leader of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) a “brave person”, “who spent his life fighting for his occupied homeland and his oppressed people.”

The Secretary General of the PFLP-GC passed away on Tuesday, in a hospital in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

I offer my condolences on the demise of the untiring fighter Mr. Ahmad Jebril, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to the Palestinians, all those active in the Palestinians’ struggles, all members of the Resistance in W Asia, & his survivors. pic.twitter.com/FmcGD3Ph1f— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 8, 2021

Mr. Ahmad Jebril was a brave, hardworking person, who spent his life fighting for his occupied homeland and his oppressed people. I ask God to bestow great reward upon him, and I ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness for him.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 8, 2021

Qaani on Jibril: He was Part of the Axis of Resistance

Source: Al Mayadeen

Quds Force Leader Esmail Qaani offered his condolences in the death of Palestinian leader Ahmad Jibril, calling him “one of the founders of the Axis of Resistance, who always believed that the Resistance’s rifle would bring back Palestine.”

IRGC's Quds Force Leader Esmail Qaani
IRGC’s Quds Force Leader Esmail Qaani

General Esmail Qaani said that the late Ahmad Jibril “formed through his personality and march a complete model in building the ‘resistant’ character.”

He added: Al-Quds, and the liberation of all of Palestine were always Abou Jihad’s compass, from whose direction he never veered.”

Commenting on his struggle and the difficulties he had to endure for the Resistance, he said that “despite all the temptations and intimidations he faced, he always believed that the Resistance’s rifle would bring back Palestine.”

Qaani spoke highly of Jibril, declaring that “he was one of the founders of the Axis of Resistance, placing all of his energy in its service, staying true to the blood of the martyrs.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, had eulogized its Secretary General, Ahmad Jibril (Abou Jihad), who passed away on Wednesday in a hospital in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Iran Will Never Leave Palestine Alone, IRGC Quds Force Commander Reiterates

 May 22, 2021

Esmail Qaani
Commander of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force Esmail Qaani

Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Quds Force Brigadier General Esmaeil Qaani hailed the Palestinian nation’s “epical” struggle against the Zionist regime of Israel and underscored Iran’s continued support for Palestine.

Iran will not leave Palestine alone and will never end its support for Palestinians, no matter how much challenges may intensify and dangers may increase, General Esmaeil Qaani said in messages to senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements’ commanders Muhammad Zaif and Akram al-Ajouri.

“We will continue (our support) until the downfall of the occupying regime,” he added.

“You, the Palestinian resistance groups, created a magnificent epic with your steadfastness and proved the enemy’s weakness,” the general said, adding that the resistance forces humiliated the Israeli regime’s army.

“Your capabilities are far greater than the enemy has seen so far and even imagines,” the top commander stressed.

“We have no doubt that we will enter Al-Aqsa Mosque and say prayers there with dignity and strength,” he went on to say.

The message came as the Israeli regime’s “security cabinet” approved what it called “Egypt’s proposal” for a ceasefire amid continued avalanche of retaliatory attacks from the Gaza Strip in response to Tel Aviv’s escalation.

The ceasefire came into effect from 02:00 am on Friday (23:00 GMT on Thursday), according to the regime’s announcement on Thursday.

“The Security Cabinet unanimously accepted the recommendation of all heads of security services, the chief of general staff, the head of Shin Bet (the regime’s internal security service), the head of the Mossad (the regime’s spy agency), and the head of the National Security Council to accept the Egyptian initiative on a bilateral ceasefire, which will come into force later,” the statement said.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan also confirmed reports about the potential of the truce, in remarks to Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network, saying, “The resistance movement has received guarantees from the mediators that the aggression on Gaza will stop.”

According to NBC News, the Egyptian government — which has in the past been involved in mediatory efforts between the two sides — said the truce would be “mutual and simultaneous.”

The Israeli regime intensified its attacks against Gaza after the coastal sliver rose up in protest in support of the Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded West Bank, who had come under weeks of significantly violent Israeli assaults.

“Other guarantees have also been received about the expulsion of the occupying regime from al-Quds’ Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamdan added.

The resistance began its reprisal on the exact day as the escalation started and has so far, according to Tel Aviv itself, fired more than 4,000 rockets towards the occupied territories.

The reprisal has swept through the entirety of the occupied lands.

Also on Thursday, it was reported that continued avalanche of retaliatory rockets from the Gaza Strip had imposed a complete shutdown over Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv, the Israeli regime’s main air terminal.

Israeli media outlets said the airport was closed off to all inbound and outbound flights. The inbound flights were all redirected to the Ramon Airport located in the Timna Valley in the extreme southern part of the occupied territories.

The rocket attacks also earlier set off sirens throughout the whole “Gaza envelope,” which comprises the illegal Israeli settlements that lie within seven kilometers (4.3 miles) of the coastal sliver.

The Gaza-based resistance movement of Hamas identified the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon near the enclave’s border with the occupied territories as the latest target of its counterattacks.

The Israeli attacks have killed hundreds in Gaza and scores of others in the West Bank. At least 10 people have, meanwhile, been killed during the resistance’s retaliation.

Reports about the regime’s intention towards a truce came a day after deputy Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq declared victory on the part of the resistance group, and predicted that Tel Aviv would stop its attacks soon.

Source: Iranian Agencies

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Non-Prophylactically Ironic Dome over the Occupied Palestine

Non-Prophylactically Ironic Dome over the Occupied Palestine

April 25, 2021

By Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog

Exactly at 1:20 am (Tehran time) on Thursday, April 22, 2021 a missile hit near Dimona nuclear reactor, the “secret” nuclear site in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Jerusalem Post headlined the event as “Syrian missile lands near Dimona nuclear reactor, interception fails.”[1] The article went on to story the event as follows:

“It was unclear at first from where the missile was launched. Several signs indicated it having been launched from Iraq, while according to other reports, it came from the city of Daraa in southern Syria following an Israeli airstrike.”

“IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told reporters that ‘the explosion was due to the firing of an SA-5 surface-to-air missile toward Israel from Syria that exploded in the southern Negev. The firing of the missile came during Israeli airstrikes in southern Syria,’ Zilberman said, and that ‘it was an errant missile and not directed toward the Dimona nuclear reactor.’”

It was not an errant missile. It did not come from where the General said it came. It was not during Israeli airstrikes in southern Syria. The interception did not fail because there was interception. The missile was directed toward exactly where it needed to hit near Dimona nuclear reactor and it hit exactly at 1:20 am the time Sardar Soleimani, the martyred commander of Qods Force was assassinated. The hit had a message.

The missile strike (not “landing” as if it were some civilian passenger airline) on the land in the vicinity of Dimona took place 22 hours after another serious explosion that happened inside Tomer factory which develops and manufactures military equipment including missiles for Israeli Defense. About Tomer, Haaretz reported:

“The explosion occurred during a ‘routine test’ by the Tomer factory for advanced weapons, which develops rocket engines, the Ofek satellite launchers and houses various types of missiles. In response to the blast, Tomer said ‘this was a controlled test with no exceptional circumstances.’ Tomer’s factory is located in central Israel, and in proximity to residential areas. The company manufactures missiles for use by the IDF and other Israeli defense systems. They are the manufacturers behind Israel’s Arrow 4 missile interception system.”[2]

Again, no. The explosion did not occur during a routine test and it was not a controlled test. The explosion was in fact controlled but not by any force friendly to Tomer, the Zionist entity, or IDF. That explosion, too, had a message. On Tuesday, April 20, in a public speech delivered during funeral procession held for Sardar Hejazi, the vice commander of Qods Force, Sardar Qa’ani, the current Commander of Qods Force (replacing Sardar Soleimani after his martyrdom) clearly and unambiguously declared:

“Today, in the resistance fronts from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and the Children of Resistance [informal term that refers to all resistance fighters] every single day, delivers one major operation against the enemies including [US] America and Israel and they will continue this path until the global command has been achieved.”[3]

This statement was not a threat nor a warning nor a promise by Sardar Qa’ani. It was a declaration. The news vice commander of Qods Force, who was appointed after the martyrdom of Sardar Hejazi, announced on Thursday, April 22:

“The usurper Zionist regime must know that the resistance group in every segment of the planet earth are positioned right next to you and are getting you closer to your dusk.”[4]

In an interview conducted by Tasnim News Agency on Friday, April 23, with Hadi Qabisi, the director of Al-Ittihad Center for Development and Research, regarding recent explosions in Israel, he explained:

“The rules of engagement in the framework of the Resistance in terms of their demand and direction has changed. This now affects the change in balance in the region if the Resistance decides to go to war.”

“Mere shooting of missile from Syria to the occupied territories and reaching of that missile to Naqab region, regardless of what kind of missile whether it was air-to-air or surface-to-air or surface-to-surface, makes evident the inability of Israel defense system dubbed Iron Dome. This shows the erosion of Zionist Regime’s deterrence power while the capabilities of the Resistance Axis are increasing day by day. The consequence has a negative impact on all aspects of Zionist Regime. In addition, this military development cannot be separated from other events in the region such as Iran’s capability and power to strengthen its position in Vienna talks or an increasing tension between two global poles ([US] America and Russia) in other critical scenes such as Ukraine.”[5]

On Sunday, April 25, 2021, Major General Muhammad Baqeri, the Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces, said:

“The Zionists think they could permanently target Syrian soil, create mischief in other places and in the sea without backlash. For certain, several operations in recent days and operations that are forthcoming will have a sobering effect on them and the future of the Resistance is quite bright. We will not announce anything about who exactly is doing which operation but responses from the Resistance camp to Zionists are quite significant. We will not specify the operation but Zionist regime will not be in peace.”[6]

On April 22, 2021, a letter signed by two members of the congressmen, Ted Deutch and Michael T. McCaul, and co-signed by nearly 300 other members, urged the full funding of security assistance to Israel in the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bills. An excerpt from the letter reads:

“Israel continues to face direct threats from Iran and its terrorist proxies. In February, an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman was hit by a mysterious explosion that Israel has attributed as an attack by Iran. In 2019, Hizballah launched three anti-tank missiles at an Israeli Defense Forces vehicle in Israel. Hizballah is estimated to have an arsenal of over 130,000 rockets and missiles, and is believed to be developing new precision-guided munitions to be deployed in Lebanon. American security assistance to Israel helps counter these threats, and our rock-solid security partnership serves as a deterrent against even more significant attacks on our shared interests.”

“Congress is committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge and its ability to defend itself, by itself, against persistent threats. Our aid to Israel is a vital and cost-effective expenditure which advances important U.S. national security interests in a highly challenging region.”[7]

Regarding maintaining Israel’s “qualitative military edge”, firstly, maintenance is for that which already exists. The famed prophylactic dome is engineered to emulate eyed Swiss cheese and can protect Israel exactly as much as it has done for Saudi Arabia and US bases in Iraq and Persian Gulf oil well states with flag. Secondly, the cost of maintaining illusions in West Asia has decidedly increased exponentially for the United States of America and its most cherished regimes.

References

[1] Anna Ahronheim, Udi Shaham. “Syrian missile lands near Dimona nuclear reactor, interception fails.” The Jerusalem Post, April 22, 2021. Accessed online at: https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/alarms-sound-in-south-of-israel-665953

[2] Yaniv Kubovich. Powerful Explosion Rocks Sensitive Israeli Missile Factory During Test. April 21, 2021. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/powerful-explosion-rocks-sensitive-israeli-defense-factory-during-test-1.9732074

[3] Khabar Online. “Unambiguous Message of Sardar Qa’ani to Israel and [US of] America during funeral procession of Sardar Hejazi.” Farvardin 31, 1400 [April 20, 2021] @11:14 am. News Code: 506836. Accessed online at: khabaronline.ir/news/1506836

[4] Tasnim News Agency. “Sardar Fallahzadeh, Vice Commander of Quds Force: Resistance Groups are positioned right next to Zionist Regimes Bases.” Ordibehesht 2, 1400 [April 22, 2021] @ 11:02 am. Accessed online at https://tn.ai/2489397

[5] Tasnim News Agency. “Interview with Syrian Analyst: Zionist Regime’s Deterrent Capabilities are wearing out day by day.” Ordibehesht 3, 1400 [April 23, 2021] @ 21:03. Accessed online at: https://tn.ai/2490197

[6] Tasnim News Agency. “Major General Baqeri: Future Operations will bring the Zionists to their senses.” Ordibehesht 5, 1400 [April 23, 2021] @ 10:45. Accessed online at: https://tn.ai/2491070

[7] “Letter Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger” addressed to Congress of the United States, Washington DC. Accessed online at: https://teddeutch.house.gov site.

بايدن يغازل طهران عبر الكاظمي وقاءاني في بغداد: لا نعدك بشيء

محمد صادق الحسيني

قالت مصادر وثيقة الصلة بمطبخ صناعة القرار الإيراني بأنّ رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي تلقى رسالة خاصة من فريق بايدن يطلب منه نقلها الى أصدقائه في طهران، أن يتحمّلوا قليلاً ما سمّوه بالنفق الترامبي ويصبروا على استفزازاته الى حين استقرار الإدارة الجديدة والتي سيكون لها شأن آخر يختلف عن ترامب تجاه طهران…!

وقد قام الكاظمي بإرسال موفد عنه الى طهران لإبلاغ الإيرانيين هذه الرسالة الإيجابية من فريق بايدن، والتي تمّ تلقيها بكلّ مسؤولية واقتدار من دون أن يعدوا الأميركيين بأيّ شيء عدا عدم الانجرار الى ما قد يُقدم عليه ترامب من ارتكابات تصعيدية او استفزازية…!

في هذه الأثناء كان قائد لواء القدس في الحرس الثوري الإيراني اللواء اسماعيل قاءاني العائد لتوّه من زيارة رسمية مهمة لسورية التقى خلالها الرئيس بشار الأسد تمّت خلالها مناقشة كلّ القضايا الإقليمية والدولية لا سيما تنسيق المواقف تجاه تطوّرات المرحلة الانتقاليّة بين فريقي ترامب وبايدن، كان يحضر لزيارة بغداد في إطار زيارة رسمية من رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي…

وبالفعل فقد قام قاءاني بزيارة بغداد الأربعاء الماضي والتقى المسؤول العراقي الأول وعدداً من الفصائل وقادة الأحزاب العراقيين، تحت «ظلال رسالة فريق بايدن»، لكن برنامج الزيارة كان معداً سلفاً لأمرين: العلاقات الثنائية والانتخابات العراقية البرلمانية المبكرة وكيفية مساهمة طهران في إنجاحها وتخفيف حدة التوتر بين الفصائل العراقية المناهضة للاحتلال الأميركي والكاظمي الذي يراهن كثيراً على توازن صداقاته مع كلّ من واشنطن وطهران…!

قاءاني كان واضحاً جداً مع الكاظمي بأنّ طهران لا تريد إلا الخير والاستقرار والاستقلال الناجز للعراق بناء على رؤية عراقية مستقلة، كما أنها لا تريد مطلقاً التدخل في الشأن العراقي الداخلي وكيفية إدارة كلّ الملفات المتعلقة بهذا الخصوص من انتخابات او أجندات تتعلق بمستقبل ونوع نظام الحكم العراقي، ومنها قضية الانتخابات التي هي شأن عراقي داخلي محض…

وفي ما يخصّ سؤال الكاظمي إنْ كان الموفد الإيراني يحمل رداً عليه قال قاءاني: لسنا مهتمّين بغير استقرار المنطقة، ولا نعدك بأيّ شيء آخر…!

متابعون وخبراء مطلعون على أجواء وفضاءات المنطقة وإقليم غرب آسيا يؤكدون في هذه الاثناء بأنّ أطراف حلف المقاومة في كلّ من طهران ودمشق وبغداد وبيروت متفقة على ضروة تهدئة المواقف العامة وتمرير ما اتفق على تسميته بـ «النفق الترامبي» الذي يبحث عن بقية ماء وجه لمن خسر كلّ معاركه الخارجية والداخلية وآخرها الانتخابات الرئاسية (أيّ دونالد ترامب)، وانتظار استقرار الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، وحينها سيكون لكلّ حادث حديث..!

في هذه الأثناء نفت المصادر الآنفة الذكر أنّ يكون قاءاني قد زار بيروت، كما نفت أنه كان في سورية أثناء القصف الاسرائيلي لبعض مواقع الجيش العربي السوري الأسبوع الماضي، والذي ادّعت تل أبيب كذباً بأنها استهدفت مواقع لقوة القدس، ذلك انّ زيارة قاءاني كانت قبل ذلك بأيام ولم يتخللها أيّ تحرّك عسكري من جانب العدو الصهيوني، تماماً كما انّ العدوان الذي تلى تلك الزيارة لم يستهدف أيّ موقع استشاري للحرس الثوري الإيراني على الإطلاق.

بانتظار تحوّلات كبرى تزيد من خسارة الأميركي وهزائمه المتكرّرة والجسيمة في المنطقة مع استقرار إدارة بايدن في البيت الأبيض، وهي الإدارة التي ستأتي ضعيفة ومنعدمة الرؤية الواضحة تجاه محور المقاومة، ستقوم عملياً محلّ مقام إدارة منهكة ممزقة متقطعة الأوصال خائرة القوى تخرج بخفي حنين من كلّ معاركها الخارجية والداخلية كما أشرنا آنفاً.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

قاآني: أيام عصيبة تنتظر أميركا و«إسرائيل» والجيش الأميركيّ أصبح منهكاً New Quds Force commander threatens US, Israel: ‘The difficult days have not come yet’

البناء

أكد قائد قوة القدس في حرس الثورة الإيراني الجنرال اسماعيل قاآني أن «الجيش الأميركي أصبح منهكاً»، لافتاً إلى أن «أياماً عصيبة تنتظر أميركا وإسرائيل».

وأضاف قاآني أن «ما حدث لحاملة الطائرات الأميركية هو نتيجة العمل والسلوك والجرائم التي ارتكبوها، وردّ على جرائم الحكومة الأميركية ونتيجة أعمالها وسلوكها»، وقال إن «على الأميركيين أن لا يتهموا الآخرين عبثاً في ما حدث لحاملة الطائرات فهم مَن أشعلوا هذه النار»، لافتاً إلى أن «الحادثة نفذت على يد عناصر أميركية، والله ينفذ عقابه ضدكم بأيديكم وهي رد على جرائمكم».

قائد قوة القدس أشار إلى أن «الحقيقة هي أن الجيش الأميركي منهك وتحوّلت تجهيزاته العسكرية إلى قطع حديد مهترئة»، متوعداً الولايات المتحدة و«إسرائيل» بأن «هناك أياماً صعبة تنتظرهما».

كلام قاآني يأتي بعد انفجار المدمرة الأميركية في سان دياغو في ولاية كاليفورنيا الأميركية يوم الأحد الماضي، والتي أصيب فيها 17 بحاراً من البحرية الأميركية و4 مدنيين لم تتضح طبيعة وظائفهم. وتشير المعلومات إلى أنّ المدمرة كانت تحمل صواريخ بعيدة المدى ما عقّد أعمال الإطفاء. وفتح البنتاغون تحقيقاً حول انفجار السفينة الحربية الأميركية.

وفي سياق آخر، قال أمين مجمع تشخيص مصلحة النظام في إيران محسن رضائي «ثأرنا القاسي للشهيد قاسم سليماني بدأ لكنه لم ينته بعد». وأضاف «ينتهي ثأرنا للشهيد سليماني بعد أن نُخرج الولايات المتحدة من المنطقة».

رضائي أكد أن «مدرسة الشهيد سليماني يمكن أن تساعد على إرساء نظام عالمي جديد».

New Quds Force commander threatens US, Israel: ‘The difficult days have not come yet’

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:40 P.M.) – What happened to the American aircraft carrier is the result of the work, behavior and crimes committed by the U.S., said the commander of the Quds Force, General Ismail Ghaani, the successor of the late Major-General Qassem Soleimani.

He said in a military meeting, as quoted by the Iranian Al-Alam TV channel:

“The Americans should not accuse others for what happened to the aircraft carrier because it was the result of the fire they set,” noting that “the difficult days have not come yet and there are very difficult days awaiting the United States and the Zionist entity.”

“The U.S. military is exhausted and its military equipment has turned into worn-out iron parts. America must accept its current state and not harm humanity and its people any more,” he added.

Brigadier General Ghayeb Bror, the senior adviser to the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was also quoted by Al-Alam as saying:

“This psychological warfare does not affect any of the leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards by one iota. Our issue is to eliminate the fake and usurped regime that committed the worst crimes against humanity.”

He continued, “It is better for you to think about completing and protecting the high concrete walls that you have built around you so that the sons of Islam will not tighten you down.”

According to the New York Times, the U.S. and Israel formed a “joint strategy” to assassinate leaders of the IRGC.

Hostility between Tehran and Washington has grown since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iran that paralyzed its economy.

Iran responded by gradually reducing its obligations under the agreement signed in 2015.

The hostility reached unprecedented levels in early January, when the Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike near the Baghdad International Airport.

On January 9, Iran later responded by firing missiles at two bases hosting American forces in Iraq.

الزرفي يسقط بـ«ضربة» قاآني: مصطفى الكاظمي رئيساً للوزراء؟

 العراق 

نور أيوب الإثنين 6 نيسان 2020

الزرفي يسقط بـ«ضربة» قاآني: مصطفى الكاظمي رئيساً للوزراء؟
يحظى الكاظمي (الكادر) بتوافق شيعي وقبول وطني وكذلك برعاية إقليمية (أ ف ب )

مصطفى الكاظمي إلى الواجهة مجدّداً. أركان «البيت الشيعي» رشّحوه رئيساً للوزراء بديلاً من المكلّف عدنان الزرفي الذي سقط بضربة إسماعيل قاآني «القاضية». برهم صالح، بدوره، سيوقّع «كتاب التكليف» لحظة انسحاب الزرفي «رسميّاً» من سباق الظفر بمنصب «حاكم بغداد»لا يزال رئيس الوزراء المكلّف في العراق، عدنان الزرفي، مصرّاً على استكمال مهامه وفق «السياقات الدستوريّة». أنهى صياغة «منهاج وزاريّ» مقتضب، واضعاً مسوّدةً أولى لتشكيلته. أعلن رفعها إلى البرلمان خلال الساعات المقبلة من دون أن يجزم بقدرته على «تمريرها» لدى النواب. هذا التعسّر مردّه إلى «موقف» أركان «البيت الشيعي»، الذين اتفقوا خلال الساعات القليلة الماضية على بديل يحظى بدعمهم، في اجتماع عُقد في مكتب زعيم «تحالف الفتح» (ائتلافٌ برلماني يضم الكتل المؤيدة لـ«الحشد الشعبي»)، هادي العامري. أبرز الحاضرين إلى جانب الأخير كان زعيم «ائتلاف دولة القانون»، نوري المالكي، وزعيم «تيّار الحكمة الوطني»، عمّار الحكيم، إلى جانب قيادات شيعيّة أخرى. كتلة «سائرون»، المدعومة من زعيم «التيّار الصدري»، مقتدى الصدر، لم تحضر، لكنّها أكّدت مضيّها في أي توافق شيعي. أما «تحالف النصر»، بزعامة رئيس الوزراء الأسبق حيدر العبادي، فلم يشارك متمسّكاً بمرشحه الزرفي، ورافضاً أي مساس بـ«السياقات الدستورية»، لكنّه في الوقت عينه مع المضيّ بأي إجماع.

مخرجات الاجتماع أسفرت عن ترشيح رئيس جهاز المخابرات، مصطفى الكاظمي، للمنصب، إثر «صياغة» رؤية متكاملة للمرحلة الانتقاليّة، تحظى بتأييد ودعم «الفضاء الشيعي»، ومنها يُنطلق إلى «الفضاء الوطني»، أي تحقيق توافق مع المكونين «السُنّي» و«الكردي». هذا الترشيح جاء مغازلاً لمعايير «المرجعيّة الدينيّة العليا» (آية الله علي السيستاني) بالدرجة الأولى، من دون أن يستفز طرفاً دون آخر بالدرجة الثانية، كما أنه يحظى بدعم إقليميّ ــــ دوليّ بالدرجة الثالثة، ما يشكّل عنصراً لـ«التهدئة» في المرحلة الانتقاليّة، ضمن مهمة رئيسية هي إجراء الانتخابات التشريعية المبكرة، في غضون عام على أبعد تقدير.

تسلّمت بغداد رسالة أميركية تطلب فيها «فتح حوار استراتيجيّ»


عمليّاً، نجح قائد «قوّة القدس» في «الحرس الثوري» الإيراني، إسماعيل قاآني، في زيارته الأخيرة لبغداد، موجهاً «ضربة قاضية» للزرفي ومشروعه. كما شكّلت زيارته رفعاً لـ«فيتو» قيل إن طهران سبق أن وضعته على ترشيح الكاظمي. هذه الخطوة، وفق تعبير أكثر من مصدر، من شأنها أن ترسم ملامح المرحلة المقبلة التي يصفها البعض بـ«الهادئة»، وأنها محاولة لضبط الاشتباك القائم بين واشنطن وطهران في الميدان العراقي. هنا، يبرز استقبال رئيس الوزراء المستقيل، عادل عبد المهدي، السفير الأميركي لدى بغداد، ماثيو تولر، أمس، وتسليم الأخير رسالة من الإدارة الأميركية تطلب فيها «فتح حوار استراتيجيّ بين الحكومتين، اقتصاديّاً وثقافيّاً وتجاريّاً وأمنيّاً، بما يحقق مصالحهما المتبادلة، في ظل القرارات والمستجدات في العراق والمنطقة».

لكن تسمية الكاظمي رسمياً مرهونةٌ حتى الآن بإيجاد مخرج للزرفي، في ظل تضارب الأنباء عن إمكانيّة التصويت له برلمانيّاً، وسط تأكيد أنّه لحظة «خروجه من السباق» سيوقّع رئيس الجمهوريّة، برهم صالح سريعاً «كتاب التكليف»، وبذلك يكون مدير المخابرات أمام اختبار التأليف المحدّد دستوريّاً بثلاثين يوماً؛ فهل يكرّر سيناريو محمد توفيق علّاوي ويعتذر، أم سينجح، وخاصّةً أن حظوظ نجاحه كبيرة نوعاً ما في ظل الدعم الممنوح له «شيعيّاً»، و«وطنيّاً» عامة (علاقات الكاظمي مع مختلف الأطراف العراقيّة قويّة نوعاً ما، وخصوصاً مع قيادات «إقليم كردستان»)، وبصورة أعمّ الغطاء الإيراني ــــ الأميركي الموفّر له لتأدية مهمته المرتقبة؟

أمام هذا المستجد، يبقى عبد المهدي في منصبه شهراً جديداً وسط تقديرات أن يُطلق الحوار المرتقب مع واشنطن «قريباً جدّاً»، لحاجة الطرفين إلى ذلك في الظروف المحليّة والإقليميّة والدوليّة الراهنة. حوارٌ، إن استطاع عبد المهدي، أو خليفته، الوصول به إلى «اتفاقية» ما، سيشكّل منعطفاً كبيراً وتحوّلاً في العلاقة بين الجانبين من جهة، وفي تموضع «عراق ما بعد صدام» وشكله من جهة ثانية.

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Turkish Forces Shell Syrian Army. U.S. Claims Iran Prepares Attacks In Iraq

South Front

Syrian Army positions in the town of Saraqib came under joint shelling from the Turkish Army and Turkish-backed armed groups late on April 1. Strikes were carried out from the area of Almastumah, where Turkish military positions are located. The April 1 incident became the second attack on Syrian Army troops in the area in the last 3 days.

At the same time, Turkish forces continue their military buildup in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Two more convoys with armoured vehicles and artillery pieces crossed the border into Syria. Before the start of Ankara’s Operation Spring Shield in February 2020, the number of Turkish troops in Idlib was estimated at 5,000. Syrian sources say that by April 2020 this number reached 7,000.

And there are no indications that Turkey is going to use this force to put an end to the presence of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups in the region. Rather, it sees these groups as important allies and the pillar of its policy aimed at strengthening its control over northwestern Syria and turning it into a quasi-state under a Turkish protectorate.

Just recently, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, one of the groups that Turkish forces protect from the Syrian Army, executed a civilian accusing him of spying for Syrian government forces. 68-year Rifaat Mahmoud al-Daqqah, a former member of the Syrian Parliament, was detained by militants in May 2019. Terrorists claimed that he was providing the Syrian military with information on terrorists’ positions in the southwestern part of Greater Idlib, mainly around the town of Kabani.

Al-Daqqah, originally from the town of al-Janoudiyah, abandoned his position in the Syrian Parliament in 2011, in the early days of the crisis. Back then, militants pressured many officials and service members to defect by threatening their lives, families and businesses.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other Idlib groups regularly arrest and execute civilians, accusing them of spying for Syria, Russia or Iran. In most cases, they do not bother to support these claims with any evidence, rather they use such claims as a pretext to terrorize and subjugate the local population.

These atrocities happen right under the nose of Turkish observation posts, which have supposedly been set up by the Turkish military to restore security in the region. Nonetheless, it seems that Ankara has no problem with the execution of civilians, training of suicide bombers, arming of al-Qaeda-affiliated  groups or public calls to cleanse a majority of the population living in the government-controlled part of Syria as long as organizations doing this serve its foreign policy interests.

On April 1, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, paid an unofficial visit to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. He reportedly met with several influential Iraqi commanders and politicians, discussing with them the current security and political situation in Iraq. In March Brig. Gen. Ghaani visited Syria, where he inspected the frontlines in the northern province of Aleppo.

Ghaani succeeded former Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Qassam Soleimani, who was assassinated in a US strike on Baghdad Airport in January 2020. His visit to Iraq comes amid the ongoing US effort to regroup its forces in Iraq and reinforce them with Patriot air defense systems. Two Patriot batteries are already there.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump announced that the US has “information” and “belief” that “Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq.” Top US officials often make such claims before conducting strikes on targets affiliated with Iran and/or before announcing a new round of sanctions.

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TRUMP SENDS THREATS TO IRAN AS NEW COMMANDER OF QUDS FORCE VISITS BAGHDAD

Trump Sends Threats To Iran As New Commander Of Quds Force  Visits Baghdad

South Front

On April 1, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, paid a secret visit to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, according to RT.

“The commander of the Quds Force has been in Baghdad since this morning, he met with some Iraqi politicians,” a source told the Russian news channel, adding “Ghanni discussed with them the formation of the Iraqi government and Iran’s position on Adnan Zarfi, who is charged with forming it.”

Ghaani succeeded former Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Qassam Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike on the Baghdad Airport in January of 2020. Last month, the commander visited Syria, where inspected the frontlines in the northern governorate of Aleppo.

Following the reports of Ghaani’s visit to Iraq, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Iran, vowing to response to any attack on U.S. troops in Iraq.

The last few months witnessed a series of rocket attacks on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops. The U.S.-led coalition is now carrying out a partial withdrawal from the country. Most of the troops are being relocated to well-protected bases where air-defense systems are being deployed.

Ghanni’s secret visit and Trump’s threat indicate that Iraq may soon witness a new stand-off between Iranian-backed Shiite groups and U.S. forces. The situation could escalate very quickly. Washington is reportedly preparing for a war with Iran’s allies in the country.

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Suleimani Will to Be Read during Ceremony Marking 40 Days on His Martyrdom

 February 9, 2020

The will of Iranian powerful commander Qassem Suleimani who was killed by a US strike last January will be read on February 13 during a ceremony marking 40 days on his martyrdom.

Commander of the Tehran division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Reza Yazdi, said that the ceremony will be held on Thursday evening from 18:30 to 20:30 local time at Tehran-based Mosallah, Mehr news agency reported.

The new commander of Quds Force Brigadier General Ismail Qaani, who succeeded Suleimani, is going to read the will, Yazdi said, noting that IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami will also address the event.

“Since the will of Martyr Suleimani is long, as he has left special wills for each segment of the society, only selected parts of the will is going to be read in the event,” added Yazdi

He went on to say that guests from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, some Persian Gulf states, and some African countries will attend the event.

General Suleimani was assassinated alongside Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi paramilitary force, by a US strike on Baghdad international airport on January 3. Millions of people in Iran and Iraq came to streets on funeral ceremonies of Martyr Suleimani and Al-Muhandis in different cities to pay tribute to their hero.

Source: Iranian media

Sheikh Qassem: Resistance Will Liberate Entire Palestine from the River to the Sea- Qaani, Haniyeh Discuss US New Plot against Palestine

February 2, 2020

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem stressed that the extent of unfairness, injustice and oppression observed in the so-called ‘deal of the century’ made it inviable, adding that all the Palestinians as well as the Arab and world leaders have rejected it.

Sheikh Qassem said that the US President Donald Trump announced his plan to achieve electoral purposes and rescue his Zionist ally Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasizing that the Palestinian resistance will frustrate this scheme.

His eminence also explained that the US plan aimed at eradicated the Palestinian existence in the occupied territories, adding that in 1948 the Zionists controlled 21 out of 28 thousand square kilometers and that in 1976 ‘Israel’ scattered its settlements in the remaining area which is about 6 thousand square kilometers.

Domestically, Sheikh Qassem called for giving a chance for the new government to prove its efficiency, highlighting the importance of the political stability in Lebanon.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Qaani, Haniyeh Discuss US New Plot against Palestine

February 2, 2020

Following the unveiling of the so-called ‘Deal of Century’ by the US administration, a top Iranian commander discussed the situation with Hamas leader.

In a phone conversation on Saturday evening, Quds Force Commander Brigadier General Esmail Qaani and Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas, conferred on the US new plot for the region.

Qaani said that Iran is ready to foil this plot and confront its following dangers with the cooperation of the Palestinian people, especially the Resistance forces. Iran will continue its support for the Palestinian resistance and people as it did in the tenure of Martyr Suleimani, said the commander.

For his part, Haniyeh appreciated Iran’s stance towards Palestine, saying that all Palestinians reject this plan. Haniyeh said he is sure Palestinians enjoy the required power and determination to defeat this plot.

Qaani also held a separate phone conversation with secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziyad Al-Nakhalah on Saturday.

Standing beside Israeli regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump unveiled the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ some days ago.

Trump repeated his highly controversial endorsement of occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “undivided capital” as he outlined his administration’s self-styled plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which Palestinians have already dismissed.

He endorsed his contentious recognition in December 2017 of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital,” a move he took in the face of Palestinian demands that the holy city should serve as the capital of their future state. He said the plan envisages the city as the Israeli regime’s “undivided capital.”

The so-called peace plan is widely expected to take the US’s pro-Israeli brinksmanship to a whole new level, with various reports warning that it seeks to lay the groundwork for Israel’s annexation of about half of the West Bank, which the regime occupied in 1967, including most of the Jordan Valley.

Thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza, and people across the West Bank and Jerusalem voiced their objection and anger over the contentious plan.

SourceMehr News Agency

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Murderer of Qassem Suleimani Killed in US Plane Crash in Afghanistan: Reports

Source

Michael D’Andrea, head of CIA operations in Iran known as Ayatollah Mike

Michael D’Andrea, head of CIA operations in Iran and who orchestrated the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, was killed in a US plane crash over Afghanistan’s Ghanzi on Monday, Veterans Today (VT) reported, citing Russian intelligence sources.

VT described D’Andrea as the most prominent figure of the CIA intelligence in the region, adding that the plane, with US Air Force markings, had reportedly served as the CIA’s mobile command for D’Andrea.

After the news was reported by Veterans Today, Iranian news agency Tasnim relaunched the topic. Then, other Iranian outlet Mizan did. Lastly, British media (the Mirror and the Daily Mail) as well as Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post also reported the news.

Also known as Ayatollah Mike, the Dark Prince, and the Undertaker, D’Andrea was appointed head of the agency’s Iran Mission Center in 2017. Under his leadership, the agency was perceived to take a more aggressive stance toward Iran. He was also reportedly involved in the assassination of Hezbollah top military commander Imad Mughniyah in Damascus, Syria (2008).

On Monday, the Taliban announced to have shot down the plane, while the US has denied the claim but has acknowledged the loss of a Bombardier E-11A plane in central Afghanistan. Images online have already circulated purportedly showing some of the charred remains of those on board.

Retaliation to Suleimani?

The Middle East Monitor reported that Suleimani’s successor as head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, has established ties in Afghanistan going back to the 1980s, hinting out that the downing of the plane could be Iran’s retaliation to the assassination of Suleimani.

The media outlet also mentioned previous remarks by the chief commander of the IRGC, General Hossein Salami, who warned that no American military commanders will be safe if the US administration continues to threaten Iranian commanders.

D’Andrea CIA Record

D’Andrea, has been speculated to provide cover for CIA operations.

He also oversaw hundreds of drone strikes, which according to The New York Times “killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians”.

D’andrea is credited with being the mastermind behind the CIA’s notorious “signature strike” used to kill people based on their behavior, not identity, subsequently used to determine someone’s guilt or likelihood of being a “terrorist”.

He was central to the post-9/11 interrogation program and ran the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Assassinations and torture were central to his approach. He also oversaw the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Source: Websites

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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.

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HOW ARE IRAN AND THE “AXIS OF THE RESISTANCE” AFFECTED BY THE US ASSASSINATION OF SOLEIMANI?

 

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the “Axis of the Resistance”, the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the “Axis of the Resistance”: once deprived of their leader, Iran’s partners’ capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this “Axis of the Resistance” said “Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani”.

“In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the “Axis of the Resistance” members in logistics, training and finance,” said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran’s allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the “Axis of the Resistance”. They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the “Islamic State” (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

Front left: President Rouhani, Sayyed Khamenei, IRGC-Quds Chief Ismail Qaani

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah’s long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei and IRGC General Ismail Qaani during the Iraq-Iran war

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the “Axis of the Resistance” doesn’t depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces’ departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani’s wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an “increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present.”

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the “Axis of the Resistance” is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the “Axis of the Resistance” who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei, in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the “Axis of the Resistance”: push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

Iran general Ismail Qaani with Hamas Leader Ismail Haniya and various Palestinian leaders in Tehran.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani’s funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, “not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei’s request,” said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: “Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem”.

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the “Axis of the Resistance”. The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that “their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq”. They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the “Axis of the Resistance” remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.


By Elijah J. Magnier
Source: Elijah J. Magnier

مشعل لهنية: لو كنت مكانك لشاركت في عزاء سليماني

فلسطين الأخبار الأربعاء 22 كانون الثاني 2020

لتقى هنية ومشعل في الدوحة خلال الأيام الماضية أكثر من مرة (الأخبار)

ضمن الحملة المتواصلة على «حركة المقاومة الإسلامية» (حماس)، أشاعت مواقع «فتحاوية» وأخرى مدعومة من السعودية وجود خلاف بين قيادات الحركة، ولا سيما بين رئيس المكتب السياسي الأسبق خالد مشعل، والرئيس الحالي إسماعيل هنية، عنوانُه مشاركة الأخير في عزاء الشهيد الفريق قاسم سليماني في العاصمة الإيرانية طهران، وإلقاؤه كلمة هناك. تعقيباً على ذلك، يقول مصدر مقرّب من قيادة «حماس» إن مشعل «على عكس ما يروَّج تماماً، مقتنعٌ بأهمية زيارة وفد الحركة لطهران وتقديم التعزية باستشهاد سليماني»، وإنه داعم لـ«خطوات قيادة الحركة (الحالية) في هذا الاتجاه»، علماً بأن مشعل عضو في مجلس الشورى الحركي. ويضيف المصدر: «مشعل قال في اللقاءات الأخيرة إنه لا يَسَع الأخ أبو العبد (هنية) إلا أن يترأس بنفسه الوفد في هذه الزيارة، ولو كنت مكانه لفعلت ما فعل».

وكان موقع «إندبندنت عربية»، المموّل سعودياً، نقل عن مصدر وصفه بأنه في قيادة «حماس» أن مشعل وَصَف تصرّف هنية بأنه «خطأ استراتيجي»، وقال إنه «كان يكفي أن ترسل الحركة وفداً متواضعاً لمثل هذا الحدث، خاصة أن هنية تعهّد للمصريين بعدم زيارة طهران» قبل خروجه من القاهرة. وأضاف المصدر نفسه، بحسب الموقع، أن أوساطاً في الحركة رأت أن «تصرفّ هنية ومَن حوله أحرج حماس في عدد من المحافل المهمة، خاصة مصر والأردن والسعودية، وكان على القيادة أن تفكّر ملياً قبل الهرولة إلى جنازة سليماني». لكن المصدر المقرّب من قيادة الحركة ذكر، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن مشعل قدّم بنفسه التعزية بسليماني عبر اتصالات هاتفية مع وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف، والأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله، ونائب سليماني الذي عُيّن خلفاً له العميد إسماعيل قاآني، في أعقاب الاغتيال مباشرة، لافتاً في الوقت نفسه إلى لقاءات متواصلة بين هنية ومشعل في الدوحة.

كان هناك إجماع في «حماس»، ولا سيما لدى العسكر، على خطوة هنية

وعلمت «الأخبار» أنه منذ إعلان مراسم التشييع، كان التوجّه في غزة، ولا سيما لدى قيادة الذراع العسكرية للحركة، «كتائب القسام»، هو ضرورة أن يترأس هنية الوفد الذاهب إلى طهران للتعزية، فضلاً عن إجماع باقي أعضاء المكتب السياسي في القطاع على ذلك. وإلى جانب الحديث عن خلاف «حمساوي» في هذا الشأن، روّجت المواقع القريبة من «فتح»، ولا سيما من القيادي المفصول من الحركة محمد دحلان، أن حركات سلفية هدّدت بتنفيذ عمليات في غزة جرّاء مشاركة «حماس» في التشييع، وأن أجهزة الأمن التابعة للحركة بدأت حملة ضدّ تلك الحركات، وهو ما يردّ عليه المصدر بالقول إن «متابعة ملفّ المنحرفين فكرياً متواصل بغضّ النظر عن هذه الإشاعات».
في غضون ذلك، قال نائب رئيس الحركة في غزة، خليل الحية، إن «حماس لا تقبل بديلاً من مصر لإدارة القضايا الوطنية الفلسطينية»، لكنه أقرّ، خلال لقاء مع الإعلاميين في غزة أمس، بأن «مصر اتخذت موقفاً من زيارتنا إلى إيران»، مستدركاً بأن «المصريين عقلانيون وتجاوزنا الأمر معهم… لا علاقة لأزمة الغاز المصري (والبضاعة) بزيارة هنية، بل هي لأسباب وحسابات تجارية بحتة». وأضاف: «نختلف ونتفق مع مصر، والسياسة تتطلّب ذلك، ونحن نعمل على ترميم العلاقات مع كلّ الدول والكيانات». ووسط أنباء عن طلب هنية من الرياض المشاركة في التعزية بوفاة الأمير بندر بن عبد العزيز الذي توفي أمس، تتواصل الانتقادات الفصائلية والشعبية لمشاركته في عزاء سلطان عمان الراحل قابوس بن سعيد، خاصة أن الأخير استقبل رئيس حكومة العدو، بنيامين نتنياهو، قبل مدة قصيرة. لكن مسؤولين في الحركة دافعوا عن المشاركة بوصفها ضمن خطة العلاقات العامة التي يعملون عليها. وسبق لطاهر النونو، وهو المستشار الإعلامي لهنية، أن أكد قبل يومين أن جولة الأخير «تسير كما تمّ الإعداد لها في شأن الأهداف التي رصدناها، وهي حشد الدعم السياسي لقضيتنا، وتعزيز صمود شعبنا، والالتفاف حول القدس». ونفى النونو «أيّ توتر مع الأشقاء في مصر، لأن العلاقة معها محورية، ووصلت إلى حالة من الاستقرار والتعاون والتنسيق في الملفات كافة… علاقة الحركة مع أيّ دولة لا تتمّ على حساب أو ضدّ أيّ دولة أخرى».

فيدوات متعلقة

Iran: “Assassinations will make us stronger” – Hamas leader at Soleimani funeral
Palestinians in Gaza pay tribute to slain Iranian commander
Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar: If Not for Iran’s Support, We Would Not Have Our Missile Capabilities

مقالات متعلقة

Senior Hamas official: ‘Qasim Soleimani gave us everything Iran has to offer’

January 15, 2020

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/senior-hamas-official-qasim-soleimani-gave-us-everything-iran-has-to-offer/

(Please support MiddleEastObserver.net on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver)


Description:

In an extended interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, senior Hamas official Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar discusses the role of the late Iranian General Qasim Soleimani in supporting ‘Palestinian resistance groups’ and particularly his relationship with the Hamas movement.

The following translation contains keys excerpts from the interview.

Source: Al-Mayadeen TV

Date: 11-01-2020

Transcript:

The host:

Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, welcome back. There is no doubt that Hamas’ great solidarity with Iran regarding the martyrdom of General Qasem Soleimani has raised many questions and triggered analyses. So we are turning to you to get our facts straight. Has the martyrdom of Hajj, or rather General, Qasem Soleimani actually brought Iran and Hamas closer together and cemented their alliance, following periods of ups and downs in their relationship for regional reasons? Is that true?

Dr. al-Zahar:

Actually it has, but I would like to clarify – after saying in the name of Allah the Merciful the Compassionate, praise be to Allah, and peace and prayers be upon His prophet… I think that the relationship (between Iran and Hamas), according to my experience in this field, started in 1991 when a group was deported to Marj al-Zohour (in southern Lebanon). At the time, Iran sent civilian envoys to listen to the demands of Palestinians in the region, in order to support this group that stood at the borders of Palestine and was able to come back a year later. Therefore, Iran’s proxy groups and personalities dealing with this matter were known and plain to see. And they are still present to this day.

While the next significant moment was when Hamas took office in 2006 after the elections. As the minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, I visited Iran and met with all political parties and other officials. So our relationship deepened and their support increased not only in the military field, but also at the political level as they backed the government. After that, the relationship carried on until the shared vision become indisputable: the battle to free Palestine, is a real battle, a Qur’anic fact that might come true with cooperation, especially this cooperation that is not founded on short-term interests, but on a strategic dimension, i.e.  achieving comprehensive goals including the ending of the occupation and establishing a Palestinian State on the entire soil of Palestine. All of that while maintaining balanced, respectful relationships with all parties who helped to free Palestine. I think that this cause is not related only to Soleimani. Even though he had a crucial role, and was a very important personality as he knew even the smallest details. Therefore, I think that our cause will not be affected. The only issue is finding the person who will be able fill in Soleimani’s shoes during this period.

The host:

Abo Khaled, did the martyr General Qasem Soleimani ever visit the Gaza Strip? Have you ever met?

Dr. al-Zahar:

No, that is very hard. It is very difficult to come to Gaza. To get to there, there are only two ways: you can come either from Egypt or from the Israeli entity. Either way, that actually never happened. Not to my knowledge at least.

The host:

In a statement delivered yesterday, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon said that Soleimani visited the Gaza Strip multiple times.

Dr. al-Zahar:

I honestly have no information on that matter. I don’t know.

The host:

So maybe yes, maybe no..

Dr. al-Zahar:

Either way, it is a risk that Soleimani could assess. I don’t know. I don’t know everything. Some security and military issues are confidential, and only one or two people might know of them. But to my knowledge – I honestly don’t know.

The host:

Okay. Dr., have you ever met (Soleimani) in person? Do you have a personal relationship with him?

Dr. al-Zahar:

Yes, I have met him multiple times. I believe he highly appreciated the role Hamas has played in all areas. I have actually met him multiple times. And every time, I was more and more confident that this man, who named himself the commander of the Quds Force, attached his name to al-Quds because he was sincere in his support for the Palestinian cause, and for al-Quds in particular. He chose this title and lived up to it indeed. He was a man of his words. In fact, this man was ready to give, and has actually given everything the Islamic Republic can offer to support the Resistance’s cause.

The host:

In return for this support, has Iran ever asked you for anything, at the political or military levels? Or has it asked (Hamas) to adopt certain positions?

Dr. al-Zahar:That’s actually a very important question. Because the side wishing to weaken the Resistance project insists that Iran wants to use Hamas or the al-Qassam Brigades as proxy forces in her regional conflict. During the past period, we have never witnessed – nor did it cross our minds – that Iran might ask us for anything. Our long experience with them from 1991, as I have mentioned, until today, has never revealed, even for a moment, that Iran wants to use us for any cause beyond Palestine. Our whole energy was devoted (to our cause) and they were aware of that. Qasem Soleimani was one of many who insisted that the Palestinian cause should aim all its attention and forces at the occupation to free Palestine. Only after that, parties can sit down to manage their relationships. Some countries that have nothing to do with Palestine, and are fighting it, tried to claim that the Iranian intervention in Palestine serves Iran’s interests and not the interests of the Resistance. I testify before the Almighty Allah that over the past years, from 1991 until the past year, I have never felt, not for a second, that there was a single Iranian request made to the detriment of the Palestinian cause.

The host:Dr., regarding the relationship with the new IRGC’s Quds Force commander Ismail Qa’ani, reports state that Qa’ani met with a delegation from Hamas, and with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Sayyed Ali Khamenei… Have you looked at the results of these meetings? How does the relationship with the new commander seem to you? Do you think General Qa’ani will have the same abilities as General Soleimani, or will offer you the same cooperation Soleimani has offered you?

Dr. al-Zahar:

In fact, we should stress that the Iranian policy is not dependent on one person, not even on the president. The policy is decided by a system and a group of interventions that control the relationship between Iran and the Palestinian cause. I’ve told you that when I was assigned as a minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, I met with President Ahmadinejad, the foreign minister, the martyr Qasem Soleimani, and a lot of officials. We were also invited to conferences. Each and every conference mentioned the same cause: the Palestinian cause, that is of central importance to Iran. This is how they’ve talked about it. We’ve heard about it in every forum and every place. This is what we have confirmed. This is also one of the key reasons for which we enjoy a good relationship with Iran. It is not a relationship where a party is taking advantage of another.

Therefore, this long experience at the political, diplomatic or security levels, and in terms of other aids and self-defense techniques (shows that this relationship) is not dependent on individuals. Even if Soleimani is gone, all the accomplishments we’ve made won’t be lost, and previous relationships will continue, that’s my opinion. I’ve actually never met Qa’ani and I don’t know if any of my brothers (colleagues) did, even though it is eminently logical to meet with the new commander of this force that has the honor, as every person, to be associated to al-Quds. As everyone knows the promised final battle is a Qur’anic fact. And everyone who takes part in this battle will not only change the geopolitics of the whole region, but will also, God willing, go to heaven.

The host:

According to the pictures taken in the funeral, there was a meeting between the Hamas delegation that went to Tehran to pay its respects, and Ismail Qaani. However, it is not clear if that meeting was just to show condolences, or it was an actual meeting with deliberations and acquaintances. I don’t know.

Dr. al-Zahar:

Of course, they should make deliberations and acquaintances. It’s also totally logical for Hamas to ask for the continuity of the relationship between not only Hamas but all Palestinian resistance forces especially in the Gaza Strip, and the important (Quds) Force and this country that supports the resistance project. This assassination is the biggest proof of the sincerity of Iran’s policy. If Iran was part of this group of hypocrites, and if it didn’t put pressure on the Israeli entity, and on the Western-Israeli interests related to Christian, Jewish and even Arab Zionism… if that was true, there wouldn’t be an assassination. The assassination was carried out because there were practical measures taken by the (Quds) Force and by Iran through its members, constituents and leaderships to support the Resistance project.

The host:

“My father’s blood will pave the way for us to pray in al-Quds”. Dr. al-Zahar, those are the words of a Muslim girl (Soleimani’s daughter) who lost her father, but is still talking about al-Quds, about Palestine, in Arabic and in front of a crowd of worshipers, while holding a weapon in her hand, even though she can’t be more than 20 years old. Dr. al-Zahar, what is your comment on such a scene? And how much does this scene problematise an notion which many tried to reinforce, and for which large sums of money was paid to transform it into public opinion. I am talking about the notion of sectarian division, and turning people who belong to different sects away from the causes that Muslim people, from Iran to Pakistan and Indonesia, are sympathetic towards.

Dr. al-Zahar:

First, allow me to offer my sincere condolences to this lady, the daughter of the man who devoted himself to Palestine. If Qasem Soleimani was not loyal to Palestine, his daughter would not have said such words. If his words were politically motivated and dishonest, his daughter would not have stressed (on the importance of the Palestinian cause) that she heard her father talking about time and time again. She became certain that he believes in freeing Palestine and in the promised final battle. Otherwise, she would not have come out, stood, held a weapon, and said those words. As the English saying goes: “like father like son”. Soleimani’s daughter, son, brother, etc. will all follow his footsteps. Therefore, may all our martyrs everywhere rest in peace.

The host: Amen.

Dr. al-Zahar:

Regarding the next part of the question. Please remind me what it was.

The host: The sectarian issue.

Dr. al-Zahar:

They have said that Iran is spending money to develop ideological centres in Palestine. I say that I dare anyone to come to the Gaza Strip, and find someone who converted to Shiism, or find a place, a center or an institution for the Shia. These (accusations) are spread only to create a rift between us. Why? Who are those? Does the Sunna (tradition of Prophet Muhammad) allow cooperation with the Israeli occupation? Does the Sunna allow giving money to the Israeli entity, and supporting Christian Zionism? Aren’t Muslims brothers, who shouldn’t let each other down? Muslims, whether Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, Afghan or Pakistani are brothers; regardless of their nationality, country, identity, or identity card. Muslims are brothers. Islam is both believed in the heart, and translated in the actions (of Muslims). Therefore, saying that Iran is seeking influence in Palestine is a lie. We dare anyone to say the opposite. We have never heard anyone asking for a price in return. (Iran) provided us with all kinds of support, even at the political level (to serve) the Palestinian cause. However, it never asked us for such a thing. And if anyone has (evidence), then I invite them to present it to the people for the truth to be revealed. But as a witness during this long period, from 1991 until this very moment, I assure you that the Iranian support to the Palestinian cause is altruistic. They, however, became certain that Hamas and the Palestinian resistance are absolutely serious about freeing Palestine and attaining the promised final battle.

The host:

I am sure you heard of, or followed up on the criticism that was directed at Hamas when its delegation, headed by Ismail Haniyeh, paid respects and participated in the funeral (of Soleimani), and after the speech delivered by Mr. Haniyeh who considered General Soleimani the ‘martyr of al-Quds’. Some of this criticism came from the Islamic movement (in the region) general speaking, not from Hamas and its personnel in particular. But rather from the Islamic community as a whole. How did you receive this criticism, or these voices, that questioned (Hamas’ loyalty), attacked it, and thought that it exaggerated its feelings?

Dr. al-Zahar:

In fact, the problem, or the problems, that aroused before were exaggerated, and some took a stand (against Iran) because of these problems. We were hoping that both sides, Sunni and Shia Muslims, make some steps to bridge the gap between the political – and not the sectarian – positions. Every human has his own beliefs, behavior, style and approach. But what brings us together is the saying: “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger”. I want – so that we don’t get deep into this subject and get drawn into disputes- I call upon Islamic scholars, Shia, Sunni and others, to hold a conference to settle the dispute and find solution, a common solution, for all the current disputes; and to advise Muslims, Shia, Sunni and others, to follow precise instructions. Only then, the scheme run by colonialists, Zionists and others will collapse. As you know a lot of people are sectarian, even within Sunni, Shia and others. Those narrow-minded people shouldn’t distract us from the bigger project.

I want to remind them of a hdith of the Prophet reported by Thawban. I am going to say it in short. The Prophet said: Allah, the Almighty, gathered up the world (or the earth) for me so that I saw its east and its west; and indeed the dominion of my nation will reach what was gathered up for me”. He didn’t say Shia or Sunni. We all follow the Sunna of Prophet Muhammad. Is there a prophet other than Muhammad for us to follow his Sunna? There are some doctrinal differences, and some personal judgments of some scholars. However, in essence, our judgment comes from our belief that Allah is our God, and our absolute loyalty is to him.

The host:

So what I understand is that Hamas doesn’t care about the opinions of extremists, whether Sunni, Shia or other?

Dr. al-Zahar:

In fact, we are hurt by this subject, especially by the hurtful words that were harsh towards the Resistance and Hamas. We’ve heard a lot of words on this matter. But I suggest that, to overcome this crisis and avoid being bogged down in the swamp they want us to fall into, our scholars should hold a conference to unite their word, and adopt a single approach. That way, we will no longer be targeted whether in bad faith, or by simple-mindedness, regarding these suggestions and ideas.

IRAQ IS THE NEXT BATTLEGROUND.

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

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By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Well-informed and established sources at Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi’s office in Baghdad believe “the US is unwilling to listen to reason, to the Iraqi government or the parliament. It has the intention of bringing war upon itself and transforming Iraq into a battlefield, by refusing to respect the law and withdraw its forces. The US will be faced with strong and legitimate popular armed resistance, even if some Iraqis (in Kurdistan) will break the law and will accept the US presence in their region, though without a heavy price.”

Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi suggested to the parliament to agree on a new law asking the US to leave the country. The parliament listened to Mr Abdel Mahdi and agreed on a new law terminating the contract between Iraq and the US forces and asked the government to implement it. Mr Abdel Mahdi, in a phone conversation with US Secretary Mike Pompeo, demanded the presence of a delegation to organise the total withdrawal of all US forces from the country. The answer did not have to wait for long: “The US shall not withdraw from Iraq but respects its sovereignty and decisions,” said Secretary Pompeo. The US official failed to explain how Washington can reject the Iraqi sovereign decision asking for the withdrawal of the US troops and yet respect it at the same time.

President Donald Trump took a harsh position asking the Iraqis to pay billions of dollars for the development of the Iraqi bases his forces are hosted in. Otherwise, he threatened to “charge the Iraqi with sanctions like they’ve never seen before” and “it’s Central Bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with $35 billion could be shut down”.

US Ambassador to Iraq Mathew Tueller delivered to Iraqi officials – including PM Abdel Mahdi, who has asked for the US forces removal of Iraq — a copy of all the possible US sanctions Iraq could from if the government insists on the total withdrawal of all US forces. This has triggered an immediate reaction from Iraqi groups willing to fight the US forces once declared an occupation force by Iraq.

Iraqi groups who fought against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq visited the newly appointed Iranian General head of the IRGC-Quds brigade Ismail Qaani who replaced Sardar Qassem Soleimani. They asked for military and financial support to fight the new “occupation forces”. The Iranian General promised to assist in implementing the parliament, government and people’s decision to fight the US occupation forces. Qaani is expected to visit Iraq, where over 100 Iranian advisors work in Baghdad security and command Control Base along with Syrian and Russian counterparts to fight ISIS.

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Trump’s decision to take control of Iraq’s oil revenue account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York could create a devaluation of the local currency and a crash in the financial system. There is also an implicit threat in Trump’s words, to confiscate Iraq’s national gold reserves, held at the New York Fed.

Clearly, the US administration could not care less about the stability of Iraq and consequences for the nearby European continent, which could suffer the most from Iraqi migration and increased instability in the Middle East.

Secretary Pompeo wrongly claimed the Iraqi parliament’s decision is non-binding. What grounds would a US official have, to consider an Iraqi political decision void?

When the US assassinated Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and other officers in their company, the Iraqi Prime Minister asked for the revocation of the US-Iraq agreement signed in 2014 that regulated the US forces’ presence in Iraq.

The original agreement was terminated in 2011 when all US forces pulled out of Iraq. In 2014, the deal was re-activated by the government to join forces in the fight against the “Islamic State” (ISIS).

In its Preamble, the agreement states that the US will support Iraq against “threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity and against its democratic, federal and constitutional system.”

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The US is violating the agreement by using its land and airspace – as stated by Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi – without asking Baghdad’s permission. The US forces are allowing Israel to assassinate Iraqi commanders and attack Iraqi warehouses – as the US ambassador to Iraq informed Mr Abdel Mahdi. By killing Iraqi and Iranian commanders at Baghdad’s airport, US forces are causing the termination of the agreement by non-respect, in accordance with its articles 2 and 3.

The US government is further violating Iraq’s sovereignty by ignoring the Iraqi parliament’s resolution and refusing to schedule the withdrawal of all forces. Not only this: President Trump has openly threatened to break the Iraqi economy by disregarding the UN and international law, thereby imposing his “law of the jungle.”

At the Iraqi parliament, 173 MPs out of 328 voted for the withdrawal of the US forces. The suggestion of the caretaker Prime Minister is not binding. The government can only suggest and offer its opinion. The legislative decision goes back to the parliament, and its decision is a binding law applied to the present and future government (unless a new parliament revokes decisions of the previous one).

Even if all Kurds and most Sunni MPs (3 were present) were absent, the Constitution doesn’t rely on the presence of religions or ethnicities, the vote and the source of law are based on the majority (half plus one). This is how the Speaker, the President and the Prime Minister are elected, always by the most significant political coalition group.

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The parliament will meet again to read the resolution for the second time, ask all MPs to sign the document, and agree upon a deadline for the US withdrawal. The agreement doesn’t require the signature of the President in this case, as declared by the Speaker Mohamad al-Halbousi, but requires Halbousi’s presence, which is the case.

President Trump asked Iraq to pay him “billions of dollars” for the expansion of military bases to suit the US forces. Again, the US deliberately ignored article 5 of the agreement that all “Iraq owns all buildings, non-relocated structures… including those that are used, constructed, altered or improved by the US. Upon their withdrawal, the US shall return to the government of Iraq all the facilities free of any debts and financial burdens…The US shall bear the costs of construction, alterations, or improvements in the agreed facilities and areas provided for its exclusive use.”

Article 24 also states that the “US recognises the sovereign right of the government of Iraq to request the departure of the US forces from Iraq any time.” Trump disregards this treaty obligation, and instead says: “Iraqi will pay if they want us out.” It shows the US administration’s intention to remain in oil-rich Iraq for a long time.

Thus, following the assassination of the generals, there is little doubt 2020 will be a hot year in Iraq and hard on US forces if their President continues to ignore Iraq’s sovereignty and constitutional decisions. The US forces will now be considered a force of occupation, legitimising armed resistance against it. Iraq is back to 2003 when George W. Bush declared the country occupied. This was when the resistance took off. Trump’s last year of his first term will not likely bring any stability to the Middle East, and will certainly be very dangerous for US service personnel deployed in the region.

Proofread by  C.G.B and Maurice Brasher

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