Iraqi PM’s visit to Washington will fail if he is not ‘obedient’: Iraqi politician


In an interview with Afaq TV, Sa’ad al-Muttalibi, a senior member of the Iraqi State of Law Coalition says that Iraq’s prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi will fail on his imminent state visit to Washington, as US officials never treat Iraqi officials as equal counterparts and al-Kadhimi won’t be an exception.

This is especially true as al-Kadhimi is tasked by the Iraqi parliament with pulling US military forces out of the Arab country, al-Muttalibi explains.

The senior politician goes on to say that one of the major problems that US officials had with former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was that he treated American officials as ‘equal counterparts’, while other Arab leaders usually behave as ‘subservient subjects’ when they visit Washington.

Source: Afaq TV (YouTube)

Date: 24 July, 2020

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What is not considered by America and the Gulf? ما لم يكن في الحساب الأميركي والخليجي

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The only valuable impressive political bet agreed upon by Washington and the Gulf capitals during the months that preceded and followed the parliamentary elections in Iraq was the distinct political position of Al Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr among the forces that met in the Popular Crowd. The Popular Crowd that represents the project of resistance through a cooperation and alliance relationship with the resistance forces in the region especially with Iran and Hezbollah and its field partnership in the battlefield where it offered blood in the battles of defending Syria. The source of the trust in that bet and its importance stems from the fact the Al Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr is a unique example in Iraq; he inherits a popular leadership of the poor of Baghdad since the Days of his father Mohammed Sadiq Al-Sadr. He was distinguished from the Shiites leaders who entered the political process under the occupation because he did not come from the exile as them but he was in Iraq and refused the participation, he called publically to resist the American occupation. These positions especially those during the battles of Fallujah and during Al Anbar protests in the face of the government of Nour Al-Maliki have provided him a cross-sect feature, he is highly appreciated among the people, so it is difficult for the anti-resistance leaders to accuse him of partnering in the political process or in his patriotism, as it is difficult for them to accuse him of sectarianism especially the representation of an extension of Iran.
Al Sayyed Muqtada-Al Sadr’s disagreement with Iran and his repeated critical positions of its policies as well as his fundamental dispute with the President Nouri Al-Maliki made his hostile positions a separation between America-Gulf opponents and their allies. This dual distinction has encouraged the Americans and the Gulf people to make a cooperation project between him and their direct allies from Kurdistan to the governorates of the center. They built dreams on that cooperation to make a historic change in Iraq especially by depending on his position towards Iran’s allies and the resistance forces and towards Al Najaf authority by talking about an Arab religious authority that competes the non-Arab authority of Qom. The media run by the Americans and the Gulf has contributed in making an aura around the pure Iraqi positions issued by Al Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr.

During the formation of the resigned government headed by Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi, “Sairoun” bloc supported by Al-Sadr competed with “Al Binaa” bloc represented by the resistance forces on the nomination of a prime minister, finally, they agreed on nominating Abdul Mahdi. The opponents of Iran and the resistance promoted that Al-Sadr was under threat, but this justification seemed inconsistent with the facts which everyone who knows Al-Sadr and his stubbornness know. That justification was the only possible way in order not to lose the upcoming moment of collision between Al-Sadr and the resistance forces supported by Iran. Therefore, the only logic to enhance that hope is what is being said in their analyses about Al-Sadr’s aspiration to leadership at any cost.

With the outbreak of the uprising in Iraq, Al Sayyed Muqtada Al-Sadr was the real support of the uprising’s youth, the source of their protection, the one who puts the political ceiling in front of the government towards its resignation, and the one who calls for crowded demonstrations, even though the Americans and the Gulf people were running the groups that organized the uprising and providing the media coverage , employing it in slogans against Iran, they were happy that Al Sayyed Muqtada was overlooking that employment. All the Western and the Gulf analyses that deal with the Iraqi popular path concerning the Iranian presence were seeing in the position of Al Sayyed Muqtda Al-Sadr a factor that can make imbalance which the resistance forces and Iran are trying to avoid until the assassination of the commander Qassem Soleimani and the leader Abu Madhi Al-Muhandis occurred.

There was a call to oust the Americans from the region in response to the assassination, but the most important surprise in the history of the American and Gulf scrutiny is the fact that Al-Sadr has initiated this call followed by the gathering of resistance forces as their gathering behind the prime minister in the official confrontation to oust the Americans. The vote of the deputies influenced by the positions of Al-Sadr along with the approval of the parliament of the recommendation addressed to the government to start the removal was the first step. The call launched by Al-Sadr for the million demonstration under the same title was a source of the greatest concern, because the Iraqis in all their sects will emerge to meet the call of Al-Sadr, and whoever has reservation about the calls coming from the resistance forces and their relations with Iran cannot be reserved about the call of Al-Sadr since he is the symbol of the pure Iraqi patriotism, therefore, no one can remove this title from him because he calls to oust the Americans from Iraq.

America and the Gulf lost the biggest beg, and they will lose what is coming after due to the normal position of Al Sayyed Al-Sadr which they did could not understand or read, as their allies who are opponents to Hezbollah did in Lebanon in similar bets on the position of the Speaker of the parliament Nabih Berri taking in into consideration the differences of forces, people, and countries.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

ما لم يكن في الحساب الأميركي والخليجي

ناصر قنديل

خلال الشهور التي سبقت وتبعت الانتخابات النيابية في العراق كان الرهان السياسي الوحيد الذي يملك قدراً من القيمة والتأثير، وتجتمع حوله واشنطن وعواصم الخليج، هو انتقال السيد مقتدى الصدر إلى موقع سياسي متمايز عن القوى التي التقت في الحشد الشعبي وتمثل مشروع المقاومة وتربطها علاقة تعاون وتحالف مع قوى المقاومة في المنطقة، وخصوصاً مع إيران وحزب الله، وترجمت موقفها بشراكة ميدانية قدمت خلالها الدماء في معارك الدفاع عن سورية. ومصدر الثقة بقيمة هذا الرهان وأهميته ينبع من كون السيد مقتدى الصدر يشكل نموذجاً فريداً في العراق، فهو يرث زعامة شعبية يلتقي تحت عباءتها فقراء بغداد منذ أيام والده السيد محمد صادق الصدر. وهو تميّز عن أقرانه من زعماء الشيعة الذين دخلوا العملية السياسية في ظل الاحتلال، أنه لم يأت مثلهم من المنفى بل كان في العراق، وأنه رفض هذه المشاركة، ودعا علناً لمقاومة الاحتلال الأميركي، وقد وفّرت له هذه المواقف، وتراكمها، خصوصاً أثناء معارك الفلوجة، وأثناء احتجاجات الأنبار بوجه حكومة نور المالكي، رصيداً عابراً للطوائف. فهو يملك لدى عامة الناس تقديراً عالياً، ويصعب على القادة المناوئين للمقاومة اتهامه بالشراكة بالعملية السياسية والطعن ولو شكلا بوطنيته، كما يصعب عليهم اتهامه بالطائفية، وخصوصاً يصعب عليهم اتهامه بتمثيل مجرد امتداد لإيران.

تمايز السيد مقتدى الصدر عن إيران وإطلاقه لمواقف انتقادية لسياساتها مراراً، وخلافه الجذري مع الرئيس نور المالكي، الذي جعل الأميركيون والخليجيون من العداء له خطاً فاصلاً بين معسكر خصومهم ومعسكر حلفائهم. وهذا التمايز المزدوج شجع الأميركيين والخليجيين على الاستثمار في مشروع تعاون بينه وبين حلفائهم المباشرين، من كردستان إلى محافظات الوسط، وبنوا على هذا التعاون أحلاماً بتحقيق تحول تاريخي في العراق، خصوصاً أن الرهان على تموضع السيد مقتدى خارج حلفاء إيران وقوى المقاومة، فتح شهيتهم على رهان مشابه تجاه مرجعية النجف، بالحديث عن مرجعية عربية تتنافس مع مرجعية قم غير العربية. وساهمت وسائل الإعلام التي يديرها الأميركيون والخليجيون بصناعة هالة ربطت المواقف التي تستحق صفة العراقية الصافية لتلك التي تصدر عن السيد مقتدى الصدر.

خلال تشكيل الحكومة المستقيلة والتي ترأسها الدكتور عادل عبد المهدي، تنافس تكتل سائرون الذي يدعمه الصدر مع تكتل البناء الذي يمثل قوى المقاومة على تسمية رئيس الحكومة، ولكن في نهاية الطريق تم التفاهم بينهما على تسمية عبد المهدي، وروّج خصوم إيران والمقاومة أن استجابة الصدر جاءت تحت التهديد، وبدا هذا التبرير منافياً للحقيقة التي يعرفها كل من يعرف الصدر ويعرف صلابته وعناده، لكنه كان التبرير الوحيد الممكن لعدم خسارة الاستثمار على رصيد الصدر، والمضي في بناء الآمال على لحظة تصادم مقبلة لا محالة بين الصدر وقوى المقاومة ومن خلفها إيران. والمنطق الوحيد لتعزيز هذا الأمل هو ما يقولونه في تحليلاتهم عن الصدر كمتطلع للزعامة بأي ثمن.

مع اندلاع الحراك في العراق كان السيد مقتدى الصدر هو السند الحقيقي لشباب الحراك، ومصدر حمايتهم، ومن يضع السقف السياسي بوجه الحكومة، وصولاً لاستقالتها. وكانت التظاهرات الحاشدة للحراك هي تلك التي يدعو إليها الصدر، بالرغم من أن الأميركيين والخليجيين كانوا هم مَن يدير الجماعات المنظمة للحراك ويوفرون التغطيات الإعلامية، ويحرصون على توظيفه بهتافات مناوئة لإيران، ويفرحون بغض نظر السيد مقتدى الصدر عن هذا التوظيف. وكل التحليلات الغربية والخليجية التي تناولت المسار الشعبي العراقي، في ميزان الحضور الإيراني كانت تقرأ الحراك وموقع السيد مقتدى الصدر كبيضة قبان يشكل موقعها اختلالاً بالتوازن الذي تسعى قوى المقاومة وإيران لتحقيقه، حتى وقع اغتيال كل من القائد قاسم سليماني والقائد أبو مهدي المهندس.

جاءت الدعوة لإخراج الأميركيين من المنطقة رداً على الاغتيال،.فكانت المفاجأة الأهم في تاريخ المتابعة الأميركية الخليجية تصدُّر الصدر للدعوة، وتلاها اجتماع قوى المقاومة خلفه، كمثل اجتماعها خلف رئيس الحكومة في المواجهة الرسمية الهادفة لإخراج الأميركيين، وجاء تصويت النواب المتأثرين بمواقف الصدر مع إقرار المجلس النيابي للتوصية الموجهة للحكومة لبدء إجراءات إخراج الأميركيين أول الغيث، وتأتي الدعوة التي أطلقها السيد الصدر للتظاهرة المليونية تحت العنوان ذاته مصدر القلق الأكبر، حيث سيخرج العراقيون بكل طوائفهم تلبية لدعوة الصدر، ومن يتحفظ على دعوات آتية من كنف قوى المقاومة وعلاقتها بإيران لا يستطيع التحفظ على دعوة الصدر بصفته رمزاً للوطنية العراقية الصافية. ومَن أطلق عليه هذا اللقب لا يملك القدرة على نزعه عنه لكونه يدعو لإخراج الأميركيين من العراق.

خسرت أميركا وخسر الخليج الرهان الأكبر وسيخسرون ما بعده بفعل هذا الموقع الطبيعي للسيد مقتدى الصدر الذي لم يتمكّنوا من فهمه، ولا قراءته، كما فعل حلفاؤهم في لبنان في رهانات مماثلة على موقع الرئيس نبيه بري في خصومتهم مع حزب الله، مع حفظ الفوارق بين القوى والأشخاص والبلدان.


العبادي وجنبلاط مثال على حصيلة الحركة السعودية

مايو 21, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– ليس الموضوع المطروح الآن تقييم حركة السيد مقتدى الصدر في العراق وقد فازت بمكانة مميّزة في الانتخابات الأخيرة، بخطاب وميراث للسيد الصدر يجمعان إلى موقفه السبّاق بالدعوة لمقاومة الاحتلال تميّزه بالابتعاد عن الخطاب المذهبي ومكافحة الفساد، إلى علاقته المستجدّة بالسعودية وموقفها العدائي من إيران وقوى المقاومة، بحيث ربط الصدر مصير الحكومة الجديدة بعد الانتخابات بما يتخطّى شرطه السابق باستبعاد تكتل رئيس الحكومة السابق نوري المالكي الذي يتهمه بالفساد والطائفية، ليشمل الحظر تكتل الفتح الممثل لقوى الحشد الشعبي التي كان لها الفضل بالنصر على داعش، والتي ليس لها في قصر السياسة من أمسِ عصر الانتخابات، وقد سبقها التيار الصدري بالتمثيل النيابي والحكومي ويحمل مسؤولية أكبر منها عما آل إليه الحكم في العراق، بما جعل الحظر مشروعاً تقاطع فيه الصدر مع السعودية بخلفية العلاقة المأزومة مع إيران.

– الأكيد أنّ الرهان السعودي كان واضحاً على تشكيل تحالف يضمّ تكتل سائرون بقيادة الصدر مع تكتل النصر بقيادة رئيس الحكومة حيدر العبادي، وفقاً للمعادلة ذاتها، إبعاد حلفاء إيران عن المعادلة الحكومية في العراق، على أن يجري اجتذاب تكتلات نيابية تضمّ الحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني وحزب الحكمة بقيادة السيد عمار الحكيم وتكتل الوطنية بزعامة إياد علاوي لتشكيل أغلبية حاكمة تنضمّ إلى صفوفها الكتل الصغيرة تلقائياً، والأكيد في المقابل أنّ بيضة القبان في المعادلة كان العبادي وموقفه، وقد تسنّى للعبادي أن يقيم الحسابات الدقيقة، وأن يدرس الفرص والتوازنات، ويستمع للمبعوثين من القوى المحلية والإقليمية والدولية، ليكوّن موقفاً واضحاً، قبل اتخاذ القرار.

– الحصيلة التي وصل إليها العبادي تقول برفض عرض الصدر بحكومة تستبعد الحشد الشعبي والمالكي ويكون عنوانها مواجهة إيران، أو حتى الابتعاد عنها، أو إغضابها، وقد بنى العبادي هذه الحصيلة على ثلاث نتائج هي: الأولى أنّ قضية تشكيل الحكومة شأن إجرائي ينتهي مع توقيع مراسيمها، لكن تمكين الحكومة من ممارسة الحكم شأن سياسي يومي ومستمرّ تعوزه موازين قوى تجعل الحكومة التي يتمّ تشكيلها على الورق، حكومة موجودة في الواقع، والثانية هي أنّ الحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني وأحزاب أخرى أوصلوا للعبادي تمسكهم بالتفاهم مع إيران للمشاركة في أيّ تكتل نيابي. فالعلاقة بإيران جغرافيا سياسية محلية وليست جغرافيا سياسية إقليمية فقط، والثالثة هي أنّ تكتل العبادي نفسه مكوّن من أفراد وليس من أحزاب، ونصفه سيتفكك إذا سار بخيار عنوانه الخصومة مع إيران. وفي حصيلة الحصيلة خرج العبادي بموافقة الصدر على حكومة توافق تضمّ الجميع، وخصوصاً تكتل المالكي وتكتل الحشد الشعبي.

– في لبنان جرى توقيت حركة سعودية بالعقوبات على حزب الله، وبالنشاط الدبلوماسي والسياسي على كتل ونواب وقادة، تحت شعار تضييق الخناق على حزب الله، وخلق مناخات تسهم بإضعاف وهج حصاده الانتخابي وحصاد حلفائه، وما وصفه الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله بتوفير الحصانة للمقاومة، وتوفير بيئة مناسبة تفاوضياً لرئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري بوجه حزب الله، بعد تكليف الحريري تشكيل الحكومة الجديدة. ومحاور الحركة لا يحققها تحصيل الحاصل الذي يمثله موقف القوات اللبنانية، ولا الأمل باجتذاب مستحيل لرئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري، والحركة محصورة بثلاثة محاور، الأول هو التيار الوطني الحر والثاني هو النائب وليد جنبلاط، والثالث هو النواب الذين عادوا للمجلس النيابي من الطائفة السنية على حساب تيار المستقبل، وكانت للسعودية خطوط وخيوط على هذه المحاور الثلاثة.

– على محورَيْ التيار الوطني الحر ونواب الطائفة السنية جاء الإفطار السعودي كافياً وافياً لإعلان الفشل بغياب كليهما عن هذا الإفطار، سواء كان الغياب قراراً سياسياً لهم، أو احتجاجاً بروتوكولياً، أو رسالة سعودية لهم، فهو يكشف أزمة في العلاقة في عنوان علني ومناسبة تحرص السعودية كثيراً على تظهير موقعها الجامع فيها، وقد أصيبت بالفشل. وهذا سيكون كافياً لتظهير كيف ستسير الأمور بعدها، سيصير تطبيع العلاقات فيه سقفاً للطموح، فكيف بالتعاون في قضية عنوانها بحجم العلاقة بحزب الله، لها من الجذور في تاريخ وسلوك المعنيين ما يكفي لمعرفة نتيجة أيّ محاولة للفكّ والإضعاف؟ أما على محور النائب جنبلاط فمحاولات التطبيع تنجح وقد تنجح لاحقاً وتتوّج بزيارة ملكية جنبلاطية إلى الرياض، لكن جنبلاط يضع نقاطه على حروف العلاقة مع السعودية من بوابة خصوصيته واحترامها. العامل الأهمّ في هذه الخصوصية العلاقة بمن يصفه بحليفه الأول في لبنان، الرئيس نبيه بري، وصولاً لترجمة هذا الموقف في انتخابات نائب رئيس مجلس النواب بتوزيع أصواته بين مرشح القوات اللبنانية ومرشح التيار الوطني الحر النائب إيلي الفرزلي لأنه يحظى بمباركة الرئيس بري.

– السعودية في لبنان والعراق، مال وإعلام وسفارات وزيارات، حركة بلا بركة.

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Maliki says Iraq won’t allow creation of ‘second israel’ in country – Updated


SULAIMANI – Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki said Iraq will not allow the creation of a “second Israel” state in northern Iraq, calling for the prevention of Kurdistan independence referendum.

Maliki’s office released a statement on Sunday (September 17) saying VP met with U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad Douglas Silliman to discuss the latest development of security and political issues as well as Kurdistan Region’s referendum.

“Kurdistan independence referendum must be cancelled because it is unconstitutional and is not in the interest of Iraqis in general and the Kurds particularly,” Maliki said according to the statement.

“We will not allow the creation of second Israel in northern Iraq,” Maliki added.

He also warned during the meeting that the region’s referendum will invite risks to the country, calling for dialogue to resolve all the outstanding issues with the region in accordance with Iraqi constitution.

Kurdistan Region is set to hold the referendum on September 25 but Baghdad opposes it, with lawmakers voting to reject it. Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey, Iran and Syria, also oppose the referendum, fearing it could fan separatism among their own ethnic Kurdish populations.

The United States, Turkey and other Western powers have advised Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region to cancel the vote, worrying that tensions between Baghdad and Erbil would distract from the war on Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.


Iraq VP Warns against Second ‘Israel’ in Kurdistan

 September 17, 2017

Iraqi Vice President Nouri Maliki

An Iraqi vice president warned Sunday that Baghdad would not tolerate the creation of “a second Israel” after the Zionist entity became the only country to support a planned Kurdish independence referendum in northern Iraq.

The leaders of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan must “call off the (September 25) referendum that is contrary to the constitution and does not serve the general interests of the Iraqi people, not even the particular interests of the Kurds”, said Vice President Nuri al-Maliki.

“We will not allow the creation of a second Israel in the north of Iraq,” Maliki, a former prime minister, said at a meeting with US ambassador Douglas Silliman, in a statement released by the vice president’s office.

He warned that an independence vote would have “dangerous consequences for the security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq”, and called for dialogue between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government in the northern city of Arbil.

It is worth noting that an Israeli flag was flown alongside Kurdish flags at a rally in Arbil on Friday in support of the referendum.


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“O’ Master of Resistance, all of us are with you.”

Maliki Denounces Campaign against Sayyed Nasrallah: ISIL Evacuation Deal Right Decision

August 31, 2017

Iraqi Vice President Nouri Maliki

Iraqi Vice President and leader of the State of Law coalition Nouri al-Maliki denounced  on Wednesday “the hostile campaign of ignorance” against Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, as he commented on the deal to evacuate ISIL militants from Lebanese-Syrian border.

Maliki welcomed the recent Hezbollah-negotiated deal with ISIL as the right decision, and “part of the strategic battle against terrorism,” stressing that the issue is a Syrian and not Iraqi since it is implemented in a Syrian territory.

He denounced the “systematic campaign of ignorance and hatred against Sayyed Nasrallah.”

Some Iraqi officials slammed the deal, saying the terrorists are to be transferred to Deir Ezzor’s Al-Bukamal, an area adjacent to the Iraqi borders.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sayyed Nasarllah issued a statement stressing that the terrorists were transferred to a Syrian territory. The resistance leader meanwhile, hailed the Iraqi’s for confronting terrorism, assuring that Fraternity between Hezbollah and the Iraqi cannot be shaken up and that the joint victory against terrorism is historical.

Source: Agencies

Deputy Chief of Iraq’s Popular Forces to Sayyed Nasrallah: O’ Master of Resistance, All of Us Are with You

Deputy Chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes on Thursday sent a letter to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in which he stressed that the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces join the same front against the revetments of terrorism, extremism and Zionism.

Al-Mohandes hailed the role of Sayyed Nasrallah, describing him as the master and the spirit of the resistance which loses its value without his eminence, according to the letter.

The Deputy Chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces added, “We learnt from you how follow this path and from Hezbollah martyrs which was mixed with that of the Iraqis.”

Over three decades ago was the spark, and now Hezbollah leads a freedom project, according to Al-Mohandes.

Al-Mohandes also stressed that the followers and supporters of Sayyed Nasrallah will not be prevented from following your path despite all the borders and threats.

Finally, Al-Mohandes stressed that Sayyed Nasrallah will keep the title of glory and the conscious rejection project.

“We have been part of your project which extends from heaven to earth.”

“O’ Master of Resistance, all of us are with you.”

Source: Al-Manar Website

Resistance Finds in Qalmoun Dangerous Video Revealing ISIL Intention to Attack Lebanese Towns

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Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

In June 2014, the so-called Islamic State (IS) occupied about one-third of Iraq’s territory, including Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. It meant the radical islamists were close to capturing Baghdad and imposing its authority over all of Iraq. At that point the Iraqi government recognized the real danger of the situation and started forming militia units to liberate the country from IS. The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) played a decisive role in that process.

The PMU (Al-HashdAl-Sha’abi) are pro-government forces operating under the formal leadership of the Iraqi military and consisting of about 70 factions. They were formed at the directive of Iraqi religious authorities after IS seized large swaths of territory in several provinces north of Baghdad in 2014.

Establishment history

One of the internal political factors which led to the PMU’s appearance in Iraq was the failure of state capacity in the realm of national security, against the backdrop of the rise of IS influence. The fall of Mosul due to massive corruption and Iraqi army’s inability to carry out its key functions meant then-PM Maliki lost faith in the armed forces. According to former Minister of Interior Mohammed Al-Ghabban, “The PMU is a unique, successful and necessary experience that was produced by the period.”

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

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Having armed loyal Shia militias, in contrast to the doubtfully reliable multi-ethnic Iraq units, turned out to to be a far more effective means of restoring order.

On June 15, 204, the leader of Iraqi Shia Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling for struggle against IS and establishing the PMU. One should note here that Sistani did not limit his fatwa to Iraqi Shia. He insisted on characterizing the national mobilization forces as a national institution with the participation of all ethnic, religious, and social groups.


The core of the PMU are such armed Iraqi Shia formation as the Badr Organization, Asaib ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Harakat Hezbollahal-Nujaba, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, and Kata’ib Jund al-Imam. These units collaborate with certain Sunni tribes in the Salaheddin, Niniveh, and Anbar provinces that were occupied by IS. In addition, PMU includes units consisting of Christians, Turkmen, Kurds, and Yazidis.

Badr Organization. This formation was created in 2003 from the Badr Brigades, the paramilitary organization of the Shia Islamist party “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq” (ISCI). Its leader is Hadi Al-Amiri. At present it is not only a military organization but also a political party with 22 seats in Iraqi parliament. Its military units are 10 to 15 thousand troops strong. Its units were spotted in every PMU operation against IS.

Asaib ahl al-Haq (League of Righteous People).  This group was formed in 2006 and is closely tied to Lebanese Hezbollah. Its ideology supports the official line of Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Its leader is Qais al-Khazali. As of 2016, it had about 10 thousand troops. Its subunit, called Haidar al-Karar Brigades, is operating on Syria’s territory.

Kata’ib Hezbollah (Battalions of the Party of God). This organization was formed in 2003 in order to resist the US invasion of Iraq. Led by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and has up to 30 thousand troops. Its fighters also support government forces in Syria.

Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (Martyrs of Sayyid Battalions). Militarized Iraqi Shia militia. Formed in 2013 to defend “Shia holy sites around the world” and preserving the country’s unity. Led by Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani who used to be a member of Iraq’s Supreme Islamic Council. These units also fight in Syria in support of the government, mainly in Damascus province. No information on personnel strength.

Harakat Hezbollahal-Nujaba (Movement of the Party of God’s Nobles). Formed in 2013 in response to the drawn-out war in Syria and to disputes with Asaib ahl al-Haq leadership. The two groups still maintain close ties and often cooperate on the battlefield. Led by Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi whose ideology is consistent with that of Ayatollah Khamenei. No information on strength. These units also operate in Syria.

Kata’ib al-Imam Ali (Imam Ali Battalions). Armed wing of the Iraq Islamic Movement. Formed in June 2014 in response to IS aggression. Led by Shibl al-Zayd who earlier fought in the Mahdi Army under Moqtada al-Sadr. Its distinguishing feature is a unit formed from Christians, the Spirit of God Jesus Son of Mary Battalions. No data on strength. Its units participated in liberating Palmyra, battles for Tikrit, and the siege of Mosul.

Kata’ib Jund al-Imam (The Imam’s Soldiers’ Battalions). Its leader ‘Abu Ja’afar’ Ahmed al-Asadi is the PMU press secretary. Its ideology is consistent with that of Khamenei. No data on strength. Its units participated in the liberation of Baiji (2014-15).

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

Ahmed al-Asadi

By various estimates, the PMU today is 60-90 thousand strong. The national mobilization reserve on Iraq’s territory is up to 3 million, including women. National mobilization forces also include support units (combat engineers, medical, logistics, media). Most PMU fighters have significant combat experience amassed during the US invasion of Iraq.

The PMU is headed by Falih al-Fayyadh whose deputy and military commander is Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an engineer. In military respects the PMU are subordinate to the Iraqi army and executive authority. One should also add that the PMU has several HQs in Baghdad and Najaf.

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

Falih al-Fayyadh

Iraqi government is supporting the PMU both militarily and financially. Its budget is about 1.16 trillion Iraqi pounds. Iraq’s population is making major financial contributions to the PMU. Weapons and munitions come mainly from neighboring Iran. The government of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian Arab Army have sent their best-trained officers and junior commanders to the PMU units in order to increase their combat effectiveness.

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Weapons and equipment

PMU have a large number of Soviet-made APCs provided by the Iraqi army, and also many repaired and overhauled armored vehicles. Armor provided by Iran (such as BMP-1s, as well as T-55 and T-72 tanks and their clones) is also found in PMU. Moreover, PMU has been observed using US-made armor (M1 Abrams, M113 APCs, Humvees, MRAPs). PMU manufactures and makes extensive use of improvised rockets and munitions, and also perform major engineering preparation of the battlefield, including river crossings, fortifications, and airfields.

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

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Since the moment of its creation, PMU conducted many defensive and offensive ops against IS. The first major success is the lifting of the blockade off Amirli, in Salahaddin province in June-August 2014. Turkmen units and fighters from Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq particularly distinguished themselves in this fight. From October through December 2014, PMU liberated Dhuluʿiya and Jurf Al Sakhar.

In November 2014 the operation to liberate Anbar province capital Ramade was launched, which resulted in a decisive victory of popular mobilization forces and the Iraqi army. Radical islamists brutally killed over 1200 inhabitants, whose bodies were found in the city and its outskirts. This victory had a major psychological impact and revealed the true face of the adherents of the “one true Islam.”

The operation to liberate Baiji took place between December 2014 and October 2015. The city was home to a large oil refinery and also a construction materials factory. Participants in this battle included Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ibHezbollah, Badr Organization subunits, and others. The road connecting Baiji to Baghdad was seized by government forces which allowed them to use the city as a jumping off point for offensive on Mosul.

The battle for the capital of Salahaddin province, Tikrit, took place in March and April 2015, with PMU support. This operation saw the participation of Asaib ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, subunits of the Badr Organization, Turkmen formations (16-th Brigade) as well as Sunni militia, the Martyrs of Salahiddeen (up to 5,000 fighters).

In early March 2016, the Operation Imam Ali al-Hadi was initiated in order to liberate Samara in Salahaddin province. All PMU units participated in support of federal police and Iraqi army. This operation had several objectives: liberating Baghdad and Salahaddin provinces, ensuring access to the tombs of two military imams, surrounding Anbar province, and liberating Samarra.

On May 23, 2016, Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abbadi announced Operation Destruction of Terrorism to liberate Falluja. This operation saw the participation of Iraqi army, federal police, the Golden Division, PMU units, and local militias. PMU participation was limited to fighting IS militants on the outskirts of Falluja and the Khaldiya island. The city was liberated on June 26.

It’s possible that the most important PMU achievement is its contribution to liberating Mosul, which began on October 17, 2016. PMU did not participate directly in the assault, but played an important role in besieging the city from direction of Tal-Afar. These operations cut off IS fighters’ retreat corridors toward Syria, and blocked possible reinforcements from Syria. The Mosul city itself was taken under control by government forces, but the operation is continuing since not all the militants have been eliminated.

Separately, the PMU also launched an effort aimed at reaching the border with Syria west of Tal Afar. PMU fighters liberated a large area from ISIS, including Al-Baaj, al-Qayrawan and Hatar, and reached the border with Syria. Controlling a part of the Syrian-Iraqi border, the PMU once again confirmed its important role in the ongoing anti-ISIS effort in Syria and Iraq and set a foothold for further operations in the border area.

The PMU are also playing an important humanitarian role, using their volunteers to collect contributions, distribute humanitarian aid, and provide medical assistance to civilians forced to leave their homes by the fighting. The PMU dramatically transformed the battlefield since it is they who undermined IS ascendancy. They were able to rapidly concentrate a large number of troops in a given sector and deploy units without the need to coordinate with higher HQs. One should also note the media component of PMU operations, which use IS’ own weapon against it. Media were used to organize objective coverage of operations which took public criticism into account.

Role in future political life of Iraq

The liberation of Mosul, IS military defeats in Syria, and the announced death of its leader, have placed a new question on the agenda—who will govern Iraq.

Western media are circulating information that Iraq’s Sunnis have begun to form a new insurgency. Tarikat Nakshbandi, Revolutionary Brigades of 1920, and Khavija City Baathists in the Kirkuk province have declared their intent to fight against the current Iraqi government after IS is destroyed.

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

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Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order. The armed wing of the Tarikat Nakshbandi Sufi order. By some estimates, its size and influence are second only to the IS. It has some 5 thousand fighters. It waged guerrilla warfare against US forces and Iraqi government forces. Remarkably, in June 2014 they participated in the assault on Mosul alongside IS. Its leader, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the Deputy Chairman of Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council between 1979 and 2003, and right now is one of the most US-sought high-ranking Saddam Hussein-era officials.

Therefore the defeat of IS will only be to their benefit, since it will eliminate the main competitor, and moreover after IS terror any other group looks more attractive to the Sunnis.

Moreover, with the defeat of IS Al-Qaeda could also reinvent itself, though it seems unlikely. IS collapse may show islamists of the whole world that Al-Qaeda’s strategy to establish a khalifate only in the final stage of the jihad, when the entire population already unconditionally shares jihadist ideology, is more productive than a khalifate established by violence. However, al-Qaeda currently does not play the role in the world of radical Islam that it played 10-15 years ago.

One also shouldn’t dismiss IS. The physical suppression of IS and Shia celebrations will hardly have a positive effect on Iraqi and Syrian Sunni dispositions. One can’t rule out new Sunni terrorist groups. Since the start of the Mosul battle, IS militants were able to carry out several major and bloody terror attacks in various parts of Iraq, including Kirkuk, Tikrit, Samarra, and Baghdad. With IS transitioning to guerrilla war after military defeat in Iraq and Syria, one can expect more of them. And it will be more difficult to determine who, radical Sunnis or IS survivors, is behind them.

One may draw a conclusion from the Middle East chaos that US policies have totally failed. But that would be incorrect. US will continue to exert significant influence on political processes. If one were to leave everything as it is, Iran would fill the created vacuum using Shia militias which exist to varying extent in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq. This will threaten the positions of such countries as Israel and Jordan.

The relations between Iraqi Kurds and the government are also complex. The Iraqi Kurdistan is a self-sufficient autonomous entity with own administration, economy, police, and army. Moreover, a referendum is planned for Sept. 25, 2017 on Iraqi Kurdistan independence, which can’t help but create tensions with Iraq’s federal government and with minorities who live on IK territory (Turkomen, Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs). The Arab-Kurd relations are mde worse by the memory of Saddam Hussein’s repressions during the Iran-Iraq war, and the Kurds’ active support of the US administration during its occupation of Iraq.

As far as PMU future is concerned, there are several nuances. PMU has no single political leader as it is a militarized entity. There are current and potential frictions within PMU due to competition for power among three factions: Khamenei’s, Ali al-Sistani’s, and Moqtada al-Sadr’s.

The Khamenei faction includes several relatively small entities formed by Iran. Its leaders are proud of that affiliation, emphasizing their religious obedience to Khamenei. These groups include, for example, Saraya Khurasani and Kata’ib Abu Fadhlal-Abbas. This faction has the aim of furthering Iranian interests in Syria, and protecting Iran’s border regions. These militarized formations are either fully formed political parties, or are becoming them in anticipation of planned 2018 provincial and parliamentary elections. These groups are close to former PM Maliki, who convinced them to join the Coalition for Rule of Law during the Iraq parliamentary elections in 2014. Though initially formed as military organizations, these formations have become genuine political parties under former PM’s leadership.

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

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The second PMU faction includes several military formations which swore allegiance to the supreme leader of Iraqi Shia, Ayatollah Sistani, and whose interests are non-political. They were formed exclusively by Sistani’s fatwa to protect Iraqi Shia holy sites and literate territory from IS. In 2014, there was a real threat that IS could destroy Shia holy sites in Baghdad and other provinces. This faction’s main formations are Saraya al-Ataba al-Abbasiya, Saraya al-Ataba al-Hussainiya, Saraya al-Ataba al-Alawiya, and Liwa ‘Al ial-Akbar. Each of those names corresponds to one of the four sacred mosques in Kadhimi, Karbala, and Najaf. According to some of leaders and members of these groups, they will be disbanded as soon as IS threat dissipates. This view is based on Sistani’s fatwa being issued in response to a specific threat and having a temporary character. Their key mission is protecting Shia zones and obeying Sistani’s orders. It means this faction’s groups could be disbanded or integrated into Iraqi military.

Peace regiments (Sarai al-Salam) were formed by radical Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr right after the slaughter perpertrated by radical islamists in 2014 in Camp Speicher. This amounted to rebranding the Mahdi Army which was disbanded in 2008 but retained its core of commanders and specialists. They were easily remobilized, since Sadr had more experience working with militarized formations than other leaders. By some estimates Sarai al-Salam could quickly mobilize up to 100,000 men. According to faction leaders, its power is not limited by number of volunteers but by shortage of resources, particularly money and military equipment. That’s because, unlike other factions, Moqtada al-Sadr’s group is largely cut off from Iranian funding. The movement, and its semi-military character, is popular in Iraq due to its activities in Iraq prior to US invasion in 2003. Unlike other parties and military groups, Sadrists were not part of the elite that returned to Iraq after US-led invasion. The movement was embedded with ordinary Iraqi citizens, not elites. Sadr has charted his own course, to the disappointment of Iran’s leaders who poured resources into Mahdi Army in 2003-10. Today Sadr and his militarized formations have a strong pro-national position, reject Khamenei’s politics, and are against the presence of any foreign troops in Iraq. This stance has introduced confusion concerning the role Sarai al-Salam in PMU. From time to time, Sadr’s supporters claim they are part of PMU, yet in other instances they claim they are not. This is partly the result of not recognizing Khamenei’s faction as part of PMU, and an even greater rejection of Iranian influence and of former PM Maliki in Iraq. However, this faction finds it useful to declare itself part of PMU due to its popularity among Iraqis.

Matters of contention within the PMU

Involvement in Syrian affairs. Khamenei’s faction remains close to Iran and favors aiding Assad’s government. Many of those groups, particularly the core of seven militarized formations, still support the legitimate government of Syria and are ready to help defend Damascus. But Sistani’s and Sadr’s supporters were against getting involved in aiding Assad. Sadr even criticized Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah for its official involvement in Syria in 2014. He claimed that Shia movements and parties ought to observe their own jurisdictions and not complicate their politics by intervening in other countries’ affairs. He also criticized Iraqi Shia militiamen for their presence in Syria. Moreover, many of Sistani’s unit commanders are more concerned with protecting Shia territory and holy sites in Iraq than intervening in Syria.

Integrating PMU into the existing Iraqi security institutions is another contentious matter. Khamenei’s faction is wary of being integrated into the Iraqi army or police, since they are still too weak post-2014. For their part, most groups tied to Sistani and Sadr voiced readiness to integrate into state institutions or even disband some of their military formations.

Whether PMU is integrated into existing armed forces or preserved as a separate branch of forces will have consequences not only for Iraq’s security but for its politics. If the acting Prime Minister Abadi is able to effectively and painlessly integrate PMU into Iraqi military, it will be a convincing argument in favor of his leadership. But the fact that Abadi kept PMU from participating in assault on Mosul and send them to a secondary sector, even though Iraqi military showed weakness and PMU could have been used effectively along the main axis of advance, shows that PMU will continue to have a decisive influence on the political balance of power in Iraq. Thus next year PMU will inevitably become a political instrument used by all parties in their efforts to attain power in Iraq.

Popular Mobilization Units: Establishment, War On ISIS, Role In Future Of Iraq

Iraqi PM is in Mosul


The PMU may be considered one of the biggest military and civilian organizations in the Middle East. They are the most likely and desirable center of  political power in Iraq. The PMU unites numerous Sunni, Shia, Christian, Yazidi, Turkoman, and Kurdish armed formations, which means that the PMU, in spite of internal disagreements, is a platform for dialogue on military and political matters, and also a guarantee against the internal or external threat of radical Islam. Currently only the PMU has major experience of conducting military operations, working with local population on humanitarian matters, and ensuring objective media coverage. Most ordinary Iraqis believe the PMU should have a political future, because it is they who broke the back of ISIS in Iraq and are ready to aid neighboring Syria.

For Iraq to be able to address own problems, it should strengthen local and federal institutions in order to combat armed terrorists and reach mutual understanding among ethno-religious communities. Only then will Iraq be able to translate its current military victories into long-term political dividends and ensure peace and stability in the region.


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Real reason why Obama was not as eager as Trump to “knock the hell out of Daesh”


In the follow up to the phone conversation between Presidents Putin and Trump, where they agreed that a top priority in bilateral relations between Russia and the US is joining efforts in fighting their main threat, international terrorism, Russian political analyst Elena Suponina reviews why Barack Obama failed to pursue this agenda.


(SputnikNews, 29/1/2017) ~ On Saturday, Presidents Putin and Trump spoke over the phone in their first discussion about international issues since Trump was sworn in.

According to the announcement on President Putin’s official website,“the two leaders emphasized that joining efforts in fighting the main threat – international terrorism – is a top priority. The presidents spoke about the close coordination of actions between Russia and the USA aimed at defeating ISIS [Islamic State, Daesh] and other terrorists groups in Syria.”

Earlier on Friday, the 45th US president had a sit-down interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, where he elaborated on the threat of radical Islam and how he plans to defeat it.

The American leader has called the Islamists “sneaky, dirty rats” for blowing people up in shopping centers and in churches.

“I don’t know Putin, but if we can get along with Russia, that’s a great thing. It’s good for Russia, it’s good for us. We go out together and knock the hell out of ISIS, because that’s the real sickness, you know the whole ISIS thing is the real sickness. But if we get along with Russia and other – not just we should get along with everybody if we can. Now, in some cases you won’t be able to but we’ve got to try,” the president then said.

Russian political analyst and expert on Asia and the Middle East, Elena Suponina delved into why Obama, Trump’s predecessor, was so reluctant to actually take on the terrorists directly.

“Nobel peace prize winner Obama repeatedly spoke about the importance of the fight against terrorism, however something always seemed to get in the way of actually doing anything practical,” reads Suponina’s article for RIA Novosti.

“Sometimes it was his indecision, sometimes – excessive caution and shortsightedness. However at times it was a deliberate intention to use the terrorists for his own purposes,” she elaborates.


The political analyst further recalls that when in the summer of 2015 Daesh terrorists were conquering one Iraqi settlement after another, setting sights on the capital Baghdad, the Americans were inactive, doing nothing to stop them, regardless of all the desperate pleas for help from the then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

She further describes how the Americans were disappointed in the policies of al-Maliki and wanted to put someone else in his place, and were thus not very eager to help. They were using the advance of Daesh terrorists as a punishment and to put tremendous pressure upon the out-of-favor prime minister.


As the result, she says, Nouri al-Maliki turned to the Kremlin and received, if not great, at least very timely military assistance.

Then-Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hoshyar Zebari then noted to Suponina that the “helping hand from Moscow was stretched just in time, when the situation had become desperate, otherwise the terrorists who had captured Mosul and other cities would have entered into the capital Baghdad.”

The situation in Syria, she says, was even more complicated. The Americans had not concealed that their main priority there was not the fight against terrorism but an overthrow of President Assad. However officially the US and its allies have been fighting against terrorism since 2014, both in Iraq and Syria.

Suponina then refers to a number of US politicians, generals and political analysts who were vocally critical of the US policies in the Middle East.

General Jack Keane, she said, criticized Obama for not having any strategy to stop or defeat ISIS. He then said that the US combat jets, which made sorties in Syria, then returned back to the base fully loaded, dropping no bombs.

The general then calculated that only 25 per cent of sorties ended up with airstrikes.

Suponina was later able to ask one of the US generals about this issue, who responded that there was no bombing either due to the lack of intelligence or due to the danger of hitting non-military targets.

She also refers to a number of analytical works of some experts and political analysts on the US strategy in Syria.

Among others, she refers to Lebanese politician Wiam Wahhab who insisted that the US has repeatedly attempted to adapt radical Islam to its own needs, in other words to use the extremists in its own interests.

Or to Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who once urged to “to live with ISIS.”

“… only a large-scale foreign intervention is likely to roll back and ultimately eliminate the Islamic State [which is not about to] happen unless a coalition of Arab states agrees to commit thousands of their own troops to the battle, because the United States will not and should not do the fighting for states whose stake in the outcome exceeds its own,” he wrote in his article What Should We Do if the Islamic State Wins? for Foreign Policy magazine back in 2015.

Elena Suponina however hopes that with the more decisive Trump in office, the fight against terrorism will finally begin to bear fruit.


Sputnik News - 29/1/2017
Submitted by Lone Bear
War Press Info Network at :

Iraq Dialogue …. The start of politics حوار العراق… بداية السياسة


Iraq Dialogue …. The start of politics

يناير 24, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

When a conference held in Iraq under the name of the dialogue, and in which the President of the Republic participated to grant it the protocol legitimacy, and when the Prime Minister, and the Speaker of the parliament participated in a speech without  compliments, and in which the political and the sectarian components involved to express publically their concerns and obsessions, and when the representatives of the Kurdistan region attend talking frankly about the self-determination and the secession, then this means that it is a public dialogue not a media manifestation that celebrates the victory of Mosul which is about to enter the crucial stage, and when you are invited to participate in this dialogue to attend, to witness, to ask , and to communicate then you have to witness that the Iraqis have surprised you that they started politics in its deep meaning, in  a way that surpasses the narrow limits of managing the authoritarian interests and the competition on sharing them. So the necessary expression must be first for the sponsor of the Dialogue the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and the Head of the Iraqi Institute for the dialogue of thought; Sheikh Dr. Humam Hamoudi who has succeeded away from circulating his name as one of the figures of the politics-making in reserving a seat among the professional policy-makers.

In politics, it is clear that each of the main participants have recorded through his participation his interest by leaving his imprint in the success of the project of the internal settlement which is in circulation, through the attempt of reconciling between democracy that depends on voting and produces according to the Iraqi demography fears of the dominance of Shiites on the political and procedural decision, and a consonance that does not disable the mechanism of the country , confines it and abolishes the democracy, but those important players did not forget scoring points in the major conflict that is about to launch, its title is the Iraq’s Parliament 2018 which will be an image of new balances, but it will draw the new image of Iraq.

Politics and scoring points are present; it is clear from the words of Al-Abadi his announcement of the transition from the position of the Prime Minister in a way that is closer to proxy, to become a player who aspires to stay in the arena with the same position, a project of a future Prime Minister with a political speech, its basis is the success in liberating the Iraqi provinces which are under the control of ISIS and restoring them to the Iraqi sovereignty, in addition to his sponsorship of helping the army to get up from the setback of Mosul, targeting the political sect with a symbolism that targets whom he considers them rooted competitors  in the political game, at their forefront the former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, thus the supporters of Al-Maliki responded by saying; that the popular crowd which took upon itself the accomplishment and which was the most prominent party and has protected Baghdad and has paved the way for the reformation of the army has moved on before the new government, where Al Maliki was at the forefront of its sponsors. The problem with Al Abadi was that he has returned the Americans whom were brought out of Iraq by Al Maliki, while Mr. Ammar Al Hakim the Head of the National Alliance for which Al Maliki will belong, and which took over the responsibility of nominating Al Abadi clarified that the seven points which presented by Al Abadi are the alliance project, and that the crowd has been formed by the fatwa of reference and the alliance’s decision. During the dialogue and the communication the Speaker of the Parliament Salim Al Jabouri as the most powerful representative of Sunni participated by saying that the formation of the Iraqi scene within the multiple regions alone ensures the settlement. The Kurds at the spokesman of Barham Saleh announced their sticking to the right of determining the till the secession.

This wide area of the political engagement seems closer to the entry into the serious politics instead of being a division project. The sharp political conflict is waged this time carefully in order not to fall into the traps that make the victory on ISIS a political paper inside the Shiite house, since the popular crowd is a common investment that its assets cannot be distributed, or make this victory a gateway for the exit of the Sunni leaderships from the position of the defeated. The experience has taught all, now they are professing what they have learnt. The emergence of ISIS has showed the Sunnis that the strike of politics do not leave them immune from the dangers of who targets Iraq, even when it makes the title of its war sectarian. The Sunnis have spent high cost for the expansion of ISIS in provinces most of them are from them. Their leaders know how to deal with the disputes under the roof of the quest for consensus, not linking it with the regional variables that strengthen the positions of the countries which present themselves as sponsor for them as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It became clear their inability to adjust the balances in their favor in the light of the war of Syria, as it is clear that they adapt themselves through their special considerations with the other regional involved in Iraq, not through the Iraqis’ considerations. The Shiite leaders disclose that they learnt the meaning of depriving ISIS from the incubating background, the importance not to neglect what is going on in the Sunni arena, and to be sufficient with the legitimacy of having control over the power according to the simple equations of democracy. Both of Mr. Ammar Al-Hakim and Al Sheikh Humam Hamoudi ensure in explaining the philosophy of the historical settlement which searches in the equation of the balance the need to comply with the need of democracy, while the Kurdish speech about the self-determination does not disturb anyone, so Adel Abdul Mahdi Barham Saleh replied that the Kurds do not want the secession and its circumstances are not mature yet, but when the opposite happens no one will wait our approval. The attendance of the Kurds in Baghdad’s Dialogue is a sign that neither they want nor the circumstances have got mature. Therefore the recalling is a political negotiation and everyone is ready and willing of that negotiation.

The determination and the openness are available, they are main conditions but not sufficient. The difficult equation between the consensus and the democracy is known by the Lebanese people that it is not just a desire. The Iraqis bet on the Saudi understanding and responding to the settlement requirements as they did in Lebanon, but they do not have yet enough signals, while Iran has a high representation through the Chairman of the Commission of the Foreign Affairs in Al Shura Council Alaeddin Broujerdi to say that it blesses, and the Chairman of the Commission of the Foreign Affairs in the Egyptian and the Jordanian Parliaments attend to say that we are awaiting, but this is not enough.

The big question which is faced by the Iraqi Dialogue is how Iraq is not a playground, since through its size, wealth, and its geographical position cannot be outside the attention, so in order not to be a playground it must be a player, and this means to have a clear position in the regional geography, not to be afraid of identifying the compass of its security between a concept that sees Israel as a source of danger, and a concept which sees the danger from Iran, and not to be afraid also from the engagement in forming a security economical bilateral with Syria that is imposed by the challenges, risks, interests, and roles, because without the first part is an internal confusion and variations, and without the second part is a red US line. So will the Iraqis wage the risks through these two issues? Or will the American and the Saudi precede them to cope with the settlements, and thus the complexities will be easy? Or will ISIS precede all and target Saudi Arabia?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,


حوار العراق… بداية السياسة

يناير 16, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– عندما ينعقد في العراق مؤتمر تحت عنوان الحوار ويشترك فيه إلى رئيس الجمهورية لمنحه الشرعية البروتوكولية رئيسا الحكومة والمجلس النيابي للخوض في خطاب بلا مجاملات وتشارك المكوّنات السياسية والطائفية للبوح بصوت عالٍ بمكنوناتها وهواجسها، ويحضر ممثلو إقليم كردستان متحدّثين بصراحة عن حق تقرير المصير والانفصال، فهذا يعني أنه حوار في الهواء الطلق وليس تظاهرة إعلامية تحشد للاحتفال بنصر الموصل الذي يوشك على دخول المرحلة الحاسمة، وعندما تُقيّض لك المشاركة في هذا الحوار حاضراً وشاهداً وسائلاً ومحاوراً، فعليك أن تشهد أن العراقيين فاجأوك بأنهم بدأوا بالسياسة، بمعناها العميق بما يتخطّى ضيق أفق إدارة المصالح السلطوية والتنافس على تقاسمها. والشهادة الواجبة أولاً لراعي الحوار نائب رئيس مجلس النواب ورئيس المعهد العراقي لحوار الفكر الشيخ الدكتور همام حمودي، الذي نجح من خارج التداول باسمه كواحد من شخصيات الصف الصانع للسياسة في ما مضى بحجز مقعد متقدّم بين الصنّاع المحترفين.

– في السياسة، الواضح أن كلاً من المشاركين الرئيسيين سجل بمشاركته اهتمامه وعنايته بترك بصمة في إنجاح مشروع التسوية الداخلية المطروحة في التداول، بمحاولة للتوفيق بين ديمقراطية تعتمد التصويت وتنتج وفقاً للديمغرافيا العراقية مخاوف طغيان الشيعة على القرار السياسي والإجرائي، وبالمقابل توافقية لا تشل آلة الدولة وتكبّلها، وتلغي الديمقراطية، لكن لم يغب عن هؤلاء اللاعبين الكبار تسجيل النقاط في صراع كبير يوشك على الانطلاق عنوانه برلمان العراق 2018 الذي سيكون صورة لتوازنات جديدة، ولكنه سيرسم صورة العراق الجديدة.

– السياسة وتسجيل النقاط حاضران، فالواضح من بين سطور كلمة العبادي إعلانه الانتقال من رئيس حكومة الضرورة بطريقة أقرب للوكالة، ليصير لاعباً طامحاً للبقاء في الملعب وبالمنصب ذاته، مشروع رئيس حكومة مقبل بخطاب سياسي قوامه، النجاح في تحرير المحافظات العراقية التي استعادها من يد داعش للسيادة العراقية، ورعايته لقيامة الجيش من نكسة الموصل، وتصويبه على الطائفية السياسية برمزية تستهدف من يراهم منافسين متجذّرين في اللعبة السياسية، وفي مقدمتهم الرئيس السابق للحكومة نور المالكي، ليردّ مناصرون للمالكي بالقول، الحشد الشعبي الذي تولى الإنجاز أبرز من حمى بغداد، وأفسح المجال لإعادة بناء الجيش انطلق قبل الحكومة الجديدة والمالكي كان في مقدمة رعاته. والمشكلة مع العبادي أنه أعاد الأميركيين الذين أخرجهم المالكي من العراق، بينما يوضح السيد عمار الحكيم كرئيس للتحالف الوطني الذي ينتمي إليه المالكي والذي تولى تسمية العبادي، أن النقاط السبع التي عرضها العبادي هي مشروع التحالف، وأن الحشد تشكل بفتوى المرجعية وقرار التحالفز ويدخل على خط الحوار والتجاذب رئيس مجلس النواب سليم الجبوري كممثل أقوى في الساحة السنية ليقول إن تشكيل المشهد العراقي ضمن الأقاليم المتعددة، وحده يضمن التسوية، ويعلن الأكراد بلسان برهم صالح تمسكهم بحق تقرير المصير حتى الانفصال.

– هذه المساحة الواسعة من الاشتباك السياسي تبدو أقرب لتمرين الدخول في السياسة الجدية، بدلاً من أن تبدو مشروع انقسام، فالصراع السياسي الحاد يُخاض هذه المرة بعناية عالية لعدم الوقوع في فخاخ تجعل النصر على داعش ورقة سياسية داخل البيت الشيعي باعتبار الحشد الشعبي استثماراً مشتركاً لا يمكن توزيع أرصدته، أو تجعل هذا النصر مدخلاً لخروج القيادات السنية في موقع المهزوم. فالتجربة علمت الجميع وها هم يجاهرون بما تعلّموه، أن ظهور داعش قال للسنة بأن الإضراب عن السياسة لا يتركهم بمنأى عن مخاطر مَن يستهدف العراق، حتى عندما يجعل عنوانه حرباً مذهبياً، فقد دفع السنة ثمناً غالياً لتمدّد داعش في محافظات أغلبها منهم، وتعلم قادتهم معالجة الخلافات تحت سقف السعي للتوافق، وعدم ربطه بمتغيرات إقليمية تعزز مواقع الدول التي تقدم نفسها كراعٍ لهم، مثل تركيا والسعودية، بات واضحاً عجزها عن تعديل الموازين لصالحها في ضوء حرب سورية، كما هو واضح أنها تتأقلم بحساباتها الخاصة مع المعنيين الإقليميين الآخرين في العراق، وليس بحسابات العراقيين. كما يفصح قادة الشيعة أنهم تعلموا معنى حرمان داعش من البيئة الحاضنة، وأهمية عدم إدارة الظهر لما يجري في الساحة السنية، والاكتفاء بشرعية إمساك السلطة وفقاً لمعادلات الديمقراطية البسيطة، كما يؤكد كل من السيد عمار الحكيم والشيخ همام حمودي في شرح فلسفة التسوية التاريخية، الباحثة عن معادلة توازن الحاجة للتوافق مع الحاجة للديمقراطية، بينما لا يقلق أحداً الكلام الكردي عن حق تقرير مصير، فيجيب عادل عبد المهدي برهم صالح في منصة الحوار ذاته، الكرد لا يريدون الانفصال وظروفه ليست ناضجة، وعندما يحدث العكس لن ينتظر أحد موافقتنا، ومجيء الأكراد لحوار بغداد علامة على أن لا هم يريدون ولا الظروف نضجت، وأن التذكير هو تفاوض سياسي، والجميع جاهز وراغب بهذا التفاوض.

– تتوافر العزيمة وتحضر المصارحة. وهما شرطان أساسيان لكنهما غير كافيين، فالمعادلة الصعبة بين التوافق والديمقراطية يعرف اللبنانيون أنها ليست رغبة فقط، ويراهن العراقيون على تفهّم سعودي وتجاوب مع متطلبات التسوية، كما فعلوا في لبنان، لكن ليست لديهم بعد إشارات كافية بينما تحضر إيران بمستوى تمثيل عالٍ عبر رئيس لجنة الأمن والخارجية في مجلس الشورى علاء الدين بروجردي لتقول إنها تبارك، ويحضر رئيسا لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في البرلمانيين المصري والأردني ليقولا إننا ننتظر، لكن لا يكفي أهل العريس والمدعوين ليكتمل العرس، بينما العروس وأهلها غائبون.

– السؤال الكبير الذي يواجهه الحوار العراقي هو: كيف لا يكون العراق ملعباً، وهو بحجمه وثرواته وموقعه الجغرافي لا يمكن أن يكون خارج الاهتمام، فكي لا يكون ملعباً يجب أن يصير لاعباً. وهذا يعني أن يملك موقعاً واضحاً في الجغرافيا الإقليمية، لا يخشى تحديد بوصلة لأمنه وسط تجاذب بين مفهوم يرى «إسرائيل» مصدر الخطر وآخر يرى الخطر من إيران، ولا يخشى الانخراط في تشكيل ثنائية أمنية واقتصادية مع سورية تفرضها التحديات والمخاطر والمصالح والأدوار، ودون الأولى ارتباك داخلي وتباينات، ودون الثانية خط أحمر أميركي، فهل يقدم العراقيون على خوض المخاطر فيهما؟ أم يسبقهم الأميركي والسعودي بالتأقلم على خط التسويات فتهون التعقيدات؟ أم يسبق داعش الجميع ويضرب ضربته في السعودية؟

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The West and ISIS

From Failure to Disaster



Far from the boasts made by the US, British, and French governments that IS would be destroyed, they have been unable to even contain the extremist jihadi group as it marches from city to city and town to town in Syria and Iraq, seemingly without constraint, sowing chaos and carnage in the process.

There are a number of reasons why the West has made a virtue of failure and disaster in the region. The first, of course, is the determination to prosecute a hegemonic strategy regardless of the consequences. We can trace the modern incarnation of this strategy to the 2003 war in Iraq, which only succeeded in destabilizing the country preparatory to it descending into the abyss of sectarian violence and schism, where it exists today, 12 years later.

The short-lived Arab Spring of 2011/12, which after decades spent living under corrupt dictatorships gave millions of people across the region reason to hope for a better future, gave way to an Arab Winter in the form of a counter-revolutionary process driven by Western intervention – first in Libya with the air war unleashed against the Gaddafi regime, and then in Syria with its support for the opposition against Assad. The resulting chaos laid the ground for the emergence of various al-Qaeda affiliated groups, followed by ISIL/ISIS, later morphing into IS (orDaesh in Arabic).

Despite carrying out airstrikes against the organization both in Syria and Iraq, it has taken Ramadi in western Iraq and the ancient city of Palmyra in the district of Homs in central Syria with alarming ease. After failing to take the Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria, next to the Turkish border, and losing Tikrit to Iraq government forces earlier this year, its butchery and barbarism is once again resurgent.

The loss of Ramadi in particular, a mere 80 miles from Baghdad, is a major embarrassment for Washington, despite Obama’s incredulous statement that it merely constitutes a “setback.” The billions of dollars funnelled into Iraq by the US to finance the reconstitution of the Iraqi Army has proved akin to pouring money down a drain. The elite Golden Division, for example, stationed in Ramadi, tucked tail and fled almost on first contact with IS forces, leaving in its wake a significant amount of US-supplied hardware and equipment.

What’s clear by now is that a full-blown Sunni-Shia conflict is underway across the region, pitting Sunni-supported IS against an Iranian-supported Shia militia that has already proved its mettle with the taking back of Tikrit. The context of this struggle is the deep enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia, informing a series of proxy local conflicts in Yemen and most prominently in Iraq and Syria.

Further, when it comes to this conflict, the West is on the wrong side – friendly with those it has no business being friends with, and enemies of those it has no business being enemies with. The Saudis, Qataris, and Turkey have been guilty of fomenting the chaos and carnage with both the active or passive support for IS, without which it could not sustain its existence and enjoyed the success it has.

In particular the Saudi gang of corrupt potentates, sitting in gilded palaces in Riyadh, have long been dredging a deep well of hypocrisy as part of the US-led grand coalition against IS and its medieval barbarism. A state that beheads almost as many people in public as IS, the oil-rich kingdom’s status as a close Western ally is beyond reprehensible. Money talks, but in Riyadh it flows alongside a river of blood spilled in the name of Wahhabism, the perverse and extreme Sunni ideology that underpins the obscene luxury and ostentation of the nation’s ruling clan.

Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, supported by Russia, are currently leading the ‘real’ struggle against the savagery of IS. Yet each of them is regarded as a threat to regional stability and Western interests, and scorned as such.

The need for a major reorientation of the West’s entire Middle East policy is glaringly obvious. Instead of lurching from one disaster to another – all in the name of ‘democratism’, which is not to be confused with democracy – a coherent strategy to defeat IS and its butchery rather than make it stronger would entail the formation of a coalition of the willing, comprising Iran and the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

Syria’s survival as a secular state, in which the rights of minorities are upheld, is from guaranteed as the conflict that has ripped the country apart enters its fourth year. Its people have suffered immeasurable harm over the course of this brutal conflict, suffering that evinces no sign of letting up soon.

The Assad government and the Syrian army, which has bled like no other army has in recent times, have proved unbelievably resolute in resisting both Syria’s invasion by thousands of foreign jihadis, and the enormous pressure levelled against the regime by US and its allies, both within and without the region.

As for Iraq, the damage wrought by the sectarianism of the Maliki government, prior to it being ousted in August 2014, is even worse than most thought. The Iraqi Army is unfit for purpose, riven with corruption and a lack of morale. The fact that 200 IS militants were able to rout the 2000 Iraqi troops defending Ramadi tells its own story. It is also evident that IS has been able to exploit the disaffection of the Sunni population throughout Anbar Province – otherwise known as the Sunni Triangle – without whose either active or passive support they would not have been able to take first Fallujah and now Ramadi.

Iraq’s permanent schism along sectarian lines is closer now than it has ever been. This rather than a Western-style democracy is the end result of Bush and Blair’s war of 2003.

The spreading destabilization of the Middle East is a threat to stability and security everywhere. With every gain made by IS more disaffected young Muslims throughout the West are attracted to its ideology. As Malcolm X said, “You can’t understand what’s going on in Mississippi if you don’t understand what’s going on in the Congo.”

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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Advice to Walid Jumblatt نصيحة الى وليد “بيك” جنبلاط

 لم أتعود أن أبخل بالنصيحة على أحد .. ولكنني مع الأوغاد أفضل أن لاأغمس النصيحة في مستنقع ضمائرهم وأخلاقهم لأنها ستموت غرقا في الوحل .. وأفضل ان أرميها في النهر أو في البحر أو في النار على أن أعطيها لهم ولو مقابل مال قارون .. ولكنني مع وليد بيك جنبلاط أحس أنني مضطر لأن أغمس نصيحتي في مستنقعات ضميره لا لأهين النصيحة بل من أجل من أحببت ..

ولخصوصية كلمتي اليه اليوم أجد لزاما علي أن لاأرمي نصيحتي في البحر ولاأحرقها بالنار بل سأذهب اليه الى عتبة داره في المختارة وأدق الباب وأقدمها له بقلب صادق وهي ملفوفة بعناية بشريط ملون لماع كما تقدم الهدايا الثمينة .. لن أدخل بيته طبعا لأنني لن أكون آمنا على نفسي .. فالرجل لايؤمن غدره وليس له أمان ولاعهد ولاميثاق .. وقد يصافحك ويدعوك الى تناول الغداء معه ولكن مايدريك أنه يطهو لك السم الزعاف .. ويستطيع أن يصدر فتوى يتنكر فيها لما قاله وهو يصافحك .. فأخلاقه من أخلاق جبهة النصرة وأخلاق الاسلاميين الذين يدارونك ماداموا في دارك .. وأخلاقه الرفيعة لاتقل رفعة عن أخلاق القرضاوي الذي تناول الطعام في خيمة القذافي ودعا له بالنصر على أعدائه وبعد أن خرج وقد ملأ معدته من الطعام غرز أنياب فتاواه في لحم “ملك الملوك” وملأ رقبته من دم العقيد حتى كادت تنفجر .. ووليد بيك لن يكون أفضل من السفاح أردوغان ولص المدن الذي دخل ضيفا فأراد أخذ البيت ومافيه ومن في البيت الى استانبوله .. ولايزال موقف وليد بيك من السوريين محط احتقارهم بعد أن جاء معتذرا ملايين المرات وعفونا عنه ملايين المرات وصفحنا عنه ملايين المرات .. فاذا به لايقدر الا أن يلدغ كالعقرب كلما منا اقترب ..

وخشيتي ليست على وليد بيك بل خشيتي هي على الكرام أبناء الكرام .. وأقصد بذلك من يمثلهم رمزيا واجتماعيا وسياسيا وليد جنبلاط .. فالكل يعلم أن وليد ليس لديه حزب تقدمي ولا اشتراكي وليست عنده نظرية ثالثة اقتصادية .. بل حزبه يمثل أبناء بني معروف الكرام في لبنان لأن الطوائف تعلّب في أحزاب طائفية وفي صناديق دينية ومذهبية وفق ديكور التصميم الفرنسي للبنان .. وشئنا أم أبينا فان جنبلاط استولى على رمزية تمثيل المسلمين الموحدين الدروز في لبنان حتى صار أهم ممثل لهم في ذلك البلد .. ويريد ان تتوسع مستعمرته الطائفية ليلحق من بقي من بني معروف في المنطقة برمزيته هو وببيته الجنبلاطي وحلم دولة جنبلاطية يرثها ابناؤه من بعده الى يوم الدين ..

وحتى هذه اللحظة فليس في هذا شيء يهمني أو يهم أحدا منا لأننا نحترم النأي بالنفس عن خصوصيات الجماعات والطوائف .. ولكن هذا لايجب أن يمنعنا من اسداء النصيحة والقاء المحاضرات على شخص لايبدو أنه يرى عبر الضباب ماهو آت من المستقبل ولاحجم الاذى الذي يلحقه برعيته .. فمن يريد الحاق بني معروف برمزيته عليه أن يعكس طباعهم وأخلاقهم الحقيقية ليكون مصدر فخرهم واعتزازهم .. وعليه تقع مسؤولية تاريخية في منتهى الحساسية وهي ألا يساهم في عملية تنميطهم بصورة سيئة وسجنهم في الذاكرة الاجتماعية خلف قضبان التخوين واللاثقة وذلك بأن يكون مثالا على هيبة الكلمة وفروسية الموقف .. وعليه أن يكون شديد الحذر في كل مايقول ويفعل لأن صورة رعيته ستكون مقتبسة عنه بين الناس .. أقول هذا لأن الذاكرة الجمعية لأي مجتمع تصنعها الأكثرية .. والأقليات الاجتماعية والعرقية تأخذ صورتها دوما من حكم الاكثرية عليها .. وعملية التنميط والنحت لصورة ما تتم ببطء احيانا عبر عملية تخزين متواصل لملايين الصور والمواقف فنعرف مثلا أن مجتمعا ما هو ميال للكرم وآخر ميال للشجاعة أو للكرم .. وغيره ميال للغدر والنذالة والأنانية .. وهذه كلها انطباعات قد تكون حقيقية وقد تكون منحرفة بسبب ما ..ولكن حتما لها جذورها واسبابها ..

ولكن هناك مفاصل حاسمة في الذاكرة الاجتماعية وفي الذاكرة التاريخية وبالذات في الأحداث الساخنة تتم فيها عملية الحكم والنحت وصناعة الصورة النمطية بسرعة فائقة وبأثر غائر لايمحى مثل انطباعة المستحاثة في الرسوبيات .. وهذه قد تلغي تراكم ملايين الصور والأعمال والانطباعات التي تكونها المجتمعات عبر مئات وربما آلاف السنين عن جماعة ما أو مكون اجتماعي آخر ..وعملية التنميط غالبا تبحث عن رمز يمثل جماعة ما .. قد يكون فلاحا بطلا .. أو ملكا فاتحا .. أو زعيما دينيا .. وكل تنميط اجتماعي اذا انتشر يصبح كالوشم على الجلد .. لايزول ولايتغير ..وقد تصبح له صفة المورثات الجينية التي تنتقل من جيل الى جيل وتلتصق بأصحابها كما تنتقل الصفات العرقية والجسمية للأعراق والأجناس .. ومنها جاءت محاولات تصنيف أنواع الناس وصفاتهم كالعرب والعجم والفرنجة في كتاب الملل والنحل للشهرستاني وفي كتب ابن خلدون وفي كتب الاستشراق الكثيرة التي صنعت صورة المسلمين والشرقيين عموما .. ولكن هناك قاموس شعبي آخر أكثر أهمية أحيانا يسير موازيا لهذه التصنيفات والأنماط ذات الطابع الوصفي البحثي .. والقاموس الشعبي قوي بقوة العرف .. فاليهودي مراب مراوغ محتال .. والاسكتلندي بخيل والانكليزي بارد المشاعر .. والفرنسي عنصري .. والالماني خشن فظ .. الخ

اذا اراد وليد جنبلاط التلاعب في السياسة وممارسه البهلوانيات والتذبذبات فهذا شأنه ولكنه للأسف يتصرف وهو يحمل على ظهره رمزية اجتماعية وصورة عن الرجل الذي ينتمي للمسلمين الموحدين من بني معروف وينتمون اليه .. الذين سيدفعون ثمنها من صورتهم عندما يصبح كل واحد منهم في نظر المجتمعات الشرقية مجرد نسخة عن وليد جنبلاط الحاقد الكاره المتقلب الذي لايوثق به .. الذي يصافحك وهو يتحسس خنجره .. والذي يتناول معك الغداء ثم ينصرف الى ضفة النهر ينتظر أن يحمل النهر جثتك اليه .. يصفح عنك ليطعنك في ظهرك .. يعتذر ويقبل يدك ثم يشتمك عندما تدير ظهرك له .. يبتسم في وجهك وهو يعرف أنه ان ظفر بك فسيغرز نابيه في عنقك في المحاكم الدولية الصهيونية .. غدر ووخز وتقلب وقلة رجولة .. واخلاق قطاع الطرق ..

في الحقيقة أنا لاأصدق أحيانا أن هذا الرجل يمكن ان يكون تربى على قيم الدروز الموحدين الأصيلة .. لأنني في مرحلة هامة من حياتي تعرفت على أصدقاء من بني معروف تعلمت منهم معنى الشهامة والرجولة والصدق .. بل أن اهم درس في الفروسية وأخلاقها النبيلة تلقيته من أصدقاء من بني معروف أيام الدراسة الجامعية .. حيث ذهبت الى قراهم .. صغيرها وكبيرها وعشت معهم أياما طويلة وتعرفت على عاداتهم وطباعهم الجبلية ومصادر فخرهم واعتزازهم وتجولت معهم في معظم قراهم وأعجبتني مضافاتهم وكرمهم واعتزازهم بعهودهم .. وعلمت أن هذا النوع من الرجال نادر واصيل وأن وعده وعد وكلمته عقد .. ولذلك كنت أحيانا لاأصدق أن وليد بيك يمكن أن يكون تربى بينهم وعلى قيمهم .. أو تشرب ثقافتهم أو تأثر برجولتهم ..

واذكر أنني يوما وفي احدى زياراتي الى مدينة السويداء التقيت بشقيق البطل السوري سلطان باشا الأطرش الذي تلطف وتجول معنا في قريته وكان يعرفنا على بعض تاريخها ودورها .. وبينما كان يتحدث ويشرح مر مزارع يقود بعض الماشية ومن بينها عجل .. فتوقف مضيفنا وقال ممازحا وهو يشير بعصاه الى العجل: وهذا هو العجل الذي نعبده (وقصد السخرية من صورة نمطية اشيعت زورا عن عبادة العجل في قراهم) .. وضحك وضحكنا .. ثم اضاف محتجا: الى متى يظل الناس يقومون بتنميط الناس ويفترون عليهم بالادعاءات الباطلة ..؟؟ ومالم يدركه مضيفنا يوما أن وليد جنبلاط يقوم بعملية تنميط بشعة بحق ابناء بني معروف بسبب تهوره وسيره خلف ثاراته الشخصية وخناقاته مع بعض السياسيين ..

وليد جنبلاط يقدم على حبس بني معروف في صورة نهائية ليست حقيقية ووضع وشم لايليق بهم سيلازمهم بسببه أجيالا طويلة ويدفعون بسببه اثمانا من رصيدهم الكبير .. وسيخسرون ثقة الناس لأن صورة وليد جنبلاط المراوغ تدمر أجمل صورة لهم في الوفاء والصدق حيث ستسبق صورته أيا منهم الى اي مكان او حوار او نشاط انساني .. ووليد يلتهم كالدودة أوراق شجرة خضراء عليها أسماء عظيمة ويثقبها ورقة ورقة ليصنع شرنقته .. وشرنقة ابنه تيمور ..

ان الأذى الذي يلحقه الزعماء بمحطة من محطات الحياة قد يسافر عبر الاجيال ..ومسؤولية الزعيم ليست في ان يحكم ويحل مشاكل يومية بل في أن يستشرف المستقبل ويحمي المجموعة البشرية التي ينتمي اليها ويحمي اسمها وخصائصها وخصائص أجيالها .. والخطأ دوما يكون عابرا للأجيال ..

وليد جنبلاط مثل خالد مشعل الذي لوث مع اسماعيل هنية بموقف واحد سمعة الشعب الفلسطيني وأعطاه زورا تنميطا قبيحا وصورة بشعة عن الغدر والخيانة وقلة الوفاء .. 

وسيدرك الفلسطينيون كم سيدفعون ثمن حماقة مشعل وهنية وهم يظهرون في الذاكرة كشعب منسوخ عن خيانة خالد مشعل الذي سيبقى كالوشم على ظهورهم .. وكلما اقترب منهم أحد خشي أن يكون الفلسطيني خسيسا وسافلا كما هو خالد مشعل .. وصارت صورة الفدائي البطل المقاوم تتآكل لتحل محلها صورة مشتقة من نمط خالد مشعل وغدره وطعنته الشهيرة لمن أدخله بيته .. وقد يحتاج الفلسطينيون الى عقود قبل تنظيف صورتهم من وشم غادر اسمه خالد مشعل ..

 الزعماء التاريخيون يحكمون أجيالا لانهاية لها .. ومن هنا كان الزعيم الخالد حافظ الأسد يفكر في كل قرار يتخذه بالأجيال التي ستحمل معها تبعات هذا القرار .. وأذكر أنني في مصارحة نادرة مع مثقفين سياسيين سوريين الذين ربما فهموا الرئيس حافظ الأسد أكثر مما فهمه كثيرون .. ففي احدى الجلسات الصريحة سألتهم عن رأيهم ان كان الأسد سيحصل على مايريد عندما كان بيل كلينتون قد دعاه الى آخر لقاء في جنيف لأن معه أخبارا هامة بشأن الجولان واتفاق السلام .. يومها قال أحدهم وهو يبدو على يقين:”لن يقدم كلينتون للأسد مايريد على الاطلاق” .. فلم افهم لأن الأنباء تحدثت عن عرض لايمكن ان يرده الأسد .. فقال شارحا: “لو أعطى كلينتون كل الجولان للاسد لاأعتقد أن هذا هو مايريده الأسد؟؟ ما يريده الأسد حقيقة هو فلسطين .. واسترداد الجولان يعني أنه سيطلب منه أن يتخلى عن فلسطين .. لذلك فان الأسد يفضل تحرير الجولان بالحرب وليس باتفاق سلام .. ولكن اذا أعيد له الجولان غير منقوص ودون انتقاص لكرامة السوريين فانه لن يأخذه باتفاق السلام مالم يكن كاملا وكذلك لايلزمه على الاطلاق بحملة تطبيع وتقبيل مع الاسرائيليين وتبادل للسفراء .. لأن هذا يعني قبوله بالتخلي عن فلسطين وشعبها وان يدير لها ظهره .. وهذا يشبه المستحيل .. ولذلك يصر الاسرائيليون على تجريده من فلسطين معنويا بشروط تطبيع اجبارية وهو مصرّ على رفض مابعد استعادة الجولان من تطبيع ..

واستطرد الرجل قائلا: “حافظ الاسد يقرأ التاريخ بشكل ممتاز .. وهو مدرك ان المشروع الصهيوني الى زوال مهما طال الزمن وأن أبناء المنطقة سيحكمون فلسطين مهما طال الزمن .. وهو لايريد للتاريخ أن يقول للعلويين بأنهم صالحوا وسالموا العدو ووقعوا معه اتفاقا ناقصا ولو مثقال ذرة .. وفي ذاكرته أن قتال الأمراء العلويين للفرنجة وقتلهم لقادة وامراء كبار من الفرنجة لم يشفع لهم حيث أصر كتاب مناوئون لهم في التاريخ على ظلمهم لغايات سياسية وانكار جهادهم بل واتهامهم بأنهم لم يقاتلوا الفرنجة انما تعاونوا معهم (كما يقول الوهابيون اليوم ان حسن نصرالله لايقاتل الاسرائيليين بل يتعاون معهم) .. 

لذلك يفضل الأسد أن يقول التاريخ بأن العلويين هم الوحيدون الذين رفضوا توقيع سلام مع العدو لايكون شاملا وعادلا وحافظا للكرامة ولحق فلسطين .. أي الرئيس الاسد يدرك أنه رئيس سورية كلها بكل أطيافها ان صمد وحرر وقاتل وانتصر .. ولكنه ان وقع اتفاق سلام منقوصا فسيكون رئيسا للعلويين فقط في حكم التاريخ الذين سيظهرون وكأنهم سلموا فلسطين وهم في حكم سورية .. أي سيذكره التاريخ رئيسا للطائفة التي وقعت اتفاق سلام مع الأعداء .. وستحمل الطائفة وزر هذا الاتفاق لأنه هو من وقعه حتى لو كانت له مبرراته اللحظية وقد سبقته حملة استسلام عربية ومعاهدات سلام تحاصره وتقدم له كل الأعذار ليسالم ويصافح العدو .. لأن التاريخ قد يقول بقسوة بأن سورية لو كان من يقودها مسلما سنيا لما رضيت سلاما مع العدو بأي ثمن .. 

والرئيس الاسد كان يفضل أن يناور في السياسة الى أن تتغير المعطيات دون أن يعطي اتفاقا أو وعدا لايعطيه كل مايريد حتى حقوقه في علاقة خاصة بفلسطين .. والاسرائيليون يدركون نقطة ضعفه هذه ومع ذلك لم يجرؤوا على عرض السلام بجولان كامل دون أن يعطي وعدا بالنأي بالنفس عن فلسطين وشعبها .. في هذا كان الأسد يريد أن يكون رئيسا لسورية الصامدة كلها وأن ينجز اتفاقا باسم سورية كلها عندما لايكون منقوصا .. ولكنه حرم التاريخ من ان يتهم طائفته بالخيانة في مسألة التعامل مع العدو او انتقاص الحق الشرعي لسورية في كامل ترابها وفي علاقتها الخاصة بفلسطين .. ويستطيع العالم والعدو والصديق ان يقول أي اتهام لعهد الأسد من أي نوع الا التسليم للعدو ومصافحته وانتقاص الحق السوري .. وهذا الشرف سيحمله له التاريخ وسيباهي به العلويون ويقف الزمن لايقوى على مناكفة الحقيقة ولامجادلتها ..

وبالمقابل لو تفحصنا قلة حكمة الساسة العراقيين الذين وافقوا على اعدام الرئيس صدام حسين في يوم العيد لوجدنا أن مافعلوه جعل فقراء العراقيين وأجيالهم يدفعون الثمن باهظا منذ تلك اللحظة التي صنعت التطرف وأسطورة مظلومية أهل السنة .. التي لم تتوقف طاحونتها حتى الآن وقد سحقت مئات الالاف .. فرغم أن الجميع يعرف أن من أسقط الرئيس العراقي ومن شنق الرئيس العراقي هم الاميريكيون وايباك الصهيوينة ودول الخليج .. 

ولكن اعدامه في يوم العيد في ظل حكم المالكي (الشيعي) كان فخا اميريكيا لاطلاق سعير الحرب الدينية لأن الناس قد تنسى كل شيء الا الحدث العاطفي الذي يهزها ويشق قلبها وخاصة اذا لامس عقائدها الحساسة وولاءاتها المذهبية .. ولو كان عند قادة العراقيين الذين في السلطة بعض النظر والتروي آنذاك ورفضوا التوقيع وتنفيذ الحكم حتى ينقضي العيد ربما لكان حجم الغضب اقل ورمزية الراحل تتراجع وامكانية التصالح مع الآخر أكثر اتساعا وبدت الفاصلة المذهبية قليلة القيمة .. ولكنه قصور النظر وقلة الخبرة السياسية والحماقة والطيش عندما يقودان السياسة خاصة عندما يكلل مشهد الاعدام بأناشيد طائفية لايكترث بها الساسة ..

ومن هنا يبدو وليد حنبلاط اقل حنكة وتدبيرا .. ولاتقرأ عيناه الجاحظتان أكثر من عشرة ايام للأمام .. لأنه ليست له نظرة عابرة للأجيال ..ولايبدو أنه لايدرك أن البقاء والنجاة بالطائفة في توازنات معقدة لايعني تحميلها بالآثام واللوثات التي يرتكبها خاصة أنه يستغل الطائفة في معاركه الشخصية وحسابات مزاجه ..

ويذكرني وليد بيك دوما بتلك القصة الشهيرة التي تحكي عن أعرابي يسافر على حصانه في الصحراء فيلتقي رجلا يسير منهكا تائها في الصحراء فيدعوه بشهامة لأن يركب خلفه على حصانه ليساعده في ادراك أهله .. وعندما ينطلق الحصان بهما يبادر الرجل الى مديح الحصان بالقول: ان حصانك قوي وسريع .. وبعد قليل يقول للأعرابي: ان حصاننا قوي وسريع .. وماهي الا دقائق حتى يدفع بالأعرابي الى الأرض ويكز الحصان وهو يقول: ان حصاني قوي وسريع ..

والقصة حسب الرواة لاتنتهي هنا بل ينادي الأعرابي الرجل ويستوقفه ليقول له شيئا قبل أن يغيب في الصحراء .. ولما توقف قال له:

 استحلفك بالله ألا تخبر أحدا بهذه الحكاية لئلا تموت المروءة في الصحراء ويخشى فاعل الخير من غدر اللئام ..

فالأعرابي خشي أن تصبح هذه الحكاية سببا في سلب الصحراء قيمها في اغاثة الملهوف اذا ماانتشرت وخلقت انطباعا أن

 اللصوص يتربصون بك في الصحراء وليس المحتاجين للغوث .. فيصبح كل تائه في الصحراء لصا في عرف الناس لايستحق المساعدة ولايؤمن جانبه ..

قصتنا مع وليد بيك ليست تماما عن حصان مسروق .. بل عن مكون اجتماعي كريم يريد جنبلاط سرقته بأنانية والصاق تهمة لاتليق به ولابمكانته ولابتاريخه العريق الضارب في النخوة والفروسية والشهامة والمروءة والرجولة .. .. ووليد بيك مرة يكون فوق الحصان خلفنا ممسكا بثيابنا ومرة يمسك باللجام ليسرق الحصان .. ومرة يعتذر ومرة يحاول القاءنا ارضا ثم يتعثر ويسقط فيعتذر ويعود يطلب ركوب الحصان ..

وان كان هناك من ناصح حوله فليقل له بأن التاريخ يسجل الآن وعقل الناس الواعي واللاواعي يقوم بالتنميط والتدوين وهو يتصرف في السياسة .. وكأن جنبلاط يقول ان جميع الموحدين على هذه الشاكلة نسخة طبق الأصل عن جنبلاط ..ولكن جميع السوريين الذين أكلوا من موائد الكرم في السويداء وشبعوا كما لم يشبعوا من قبل .. وجلسوا في تلك المضافات الأصيلة وسمعوا كلاما لايقوله الا من كان من سلالات الفرسان يعلمون أن السياسي وليد جنبلاط يريد أن يمحو هذه الصورة بصورته وهو يقفز فوق الأحصنة ويمسك باللجام .. ويغير السروج .. ويرمي من حمله خلفه على الحصان .. 

والحقيقة أن جميع من يعرف الموحدين يعرف أنهم لايقفزون ولايغيرون الحصان ولاتعرف كل الصحراء عنهم الا أنهم يغيثون ويكرمون ويمارسون ذروة الفروسية والشجاعة .. ومثالهم لايبدأ بسلطان باشا الأطرش أبو السوريين الثوار .. ولاينتهي بالبطل العميد عصام زهر الدين .. قاهر داعش ..

ولمن يريد أن يعرف كيف أن شهداء بني معروف لايستحقون ان يقوم مجنون مثل وليد بيك بأخذهم معه الى معاركه

 الدونكيشوتية وهم الذين يخوضون معركة الدفاع عن سورية والشرق كالأساطير انظروا الى هذه الصفحة التي ترفع رأس السوريين والعرب بأبناء جبل العرب .. وتغسل طرقات الوعي التي يلطخها جنبلاط .. تغسلها بالعطر وماء الورد .. وترسم النمط الذي يستحقه الموحدون .. نمط الشجاعة والفداء وصهيل الدم الذي يتردد صداره في كل الشرق ..

فهل لايسمع جنبلاط أصوات صهيل الخيول الأصيلة وهل لايعرف ماذا تقول له ؟؟ هل نسمح للصوص بسرقة صهيلها وبيعه في أسواق السياسة؟؟ ..

    ( الأحد 2015/05/10 SyriaNow)

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Tragedy of Iraq 

Anton VESELOV | 12.03.2015 | 00:00

Iraq has gone through real hardships in recent years. There were times when the country claimed to be the regional leader but the foreign intervention set it many years back. The events of 2014 put into question the very existence of Iraq as a state. In February 2015 Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, «If Iraq wants to stay together it has to pursue a different system of governance».

Actually the country has become divided. It’s extremely hard to piece it together again. There are influential forces that go to any length to prevent the unification process. The resurrection of Iraq as a strong, independent state is a nightmare for those who have achieved the main goal: it’s a long time since the issues of supporting Palestine and eliminating the «Zionist entity» (as they used to call Israel) vanished from the Iraqi agenda. Now they throw up their hands and complain about the intrigues of outside enemies. They believe that internal enemies are even more threatening. And they find them. Hatred and greed have become driving motives behind the actions of leading Iraqi political forces. Their miscalculations and intended deeds have moved the country to the brink of disaster – a full-scale civil war. Iraq has lost one third of its territory, including the cities of Mosul (with the population exceeding 2, 5 million till June 2014), Tikrit, Ramadi and other populated areas captured by radical extremists and sundry riffraff acting under the banners of Islamic State. In 2014 over 17 thousand people lost lives as a result of violence – the biggest death toll in the recent eight years.

There were other things that happened in 2014. The Iraqi financial-economic system collapsed. Baghdad started to make official statements about bankruptcy taking place in the country rich in oil and gas. Unemployment has risen to 25% among able-bodied people. The government of Nouri al-Maliki even failed to come up with a draft budget leaving the country without a document of fundamental importance. The rampant corruption in «the new and democratic Iraq» has reached an unprecedented scale. They steal wherever and whatever they can. Iraqi embezzlers don’t invent complicated schemes. Contracts with front companies guarantee multi-million benefits with no responsibility to face. There is a plethora of examples. On November 28, 2014 Lebanese special services detained in Beirut Ahmed al-Maliki, the son of Iraqi former Prime Minister and current Vice President of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki. Ahmed was arrested for having more than US $1.5 billion cash with him. Security sources in Lebanon mentioned that Ahmed had received the money via an Iraqi bank that transferred it to one of the Lebanese banks for him. They also stated that it was not the first time Ahmed received a large sum from an Iraqi bank. According to them, the money was sent to buy property in Lebanon, as well as in some European countries.

At the beginning of 2014, the US saw clearly that the time was ripe for changing the Iraqi government. US State Secretary John Kerry openly called on then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign. The main goal of Washington is to maintain its control over the country. The prospects for losing the access to Iraqi oil made the West take more resolute actions than just weak protests condemning the Islamic State. In August an ad hoc meeting of the European Union was called in Brussels to discuss the measures to counter illegal oil trade practiced by the Islamic State militants. Two United Nations Security Council resolutions related to the issue were adopted in the following six months. Multiple conferences, meetings and consultations were held to discuss the problem.

It’s not an easy mission for the West. Iran defends its interests in Iraq. It has enough leverage to challenge the United States. For instance, on September 8, the Iranian Ambassador to Iraq said his country would not support the new Iraqi government if Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of the radical Iranian-backed Badr Organization, did not head the Interior Ministry. Al-Ameri is an extremely odious figure in the eyes of Iraqis. At the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1988 Hadi al-Ameri changed sides and was personally involved in the tortures of Iraqi prisoners of war. He saw military service in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and was promoted to General’s rank. During the Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure he was appointed the Minister of Transportation. Big «Law Above All!» posters appeared at airport buildings. Only the transport of one company could be used to get to and from national airports. It became a rule applied to all, except foreign diplomats. The company belonged to the Minister’s son. They tell a story that once al-Ameri Jr. was late for a MEA flight from Beirut to Baghdad. The captain was forbidden to land in the Iraqi capital and the plane had to return and pick up the latecomer. An international scandal sparked but Hadi al-Ameri apologized only when MEA suspended all flights to Baghdad in protest.

In the spring of 2014 Iranian advisors came to Iraq. Qasem Soleimani, a Brigadier General in the Iranian Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and the commander of the Quds force – a division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations – has visited Iran on a number of occasions. Tehran let know the inviolability of Shia shrines in Iraq became its direct responsibility. Amiri makes no secret of his close relationship with Iran — and squarely credits it with frustrating the Islamic State’s advances. «If it wasn’t for Iran, Baghdad would have fallen,» he said. «Iran supported us very well. They gave us weapons, they gave us ammunition, they gave us their military experience».

The West did not watch the situation idly. Almost daily Baghdad and Erbil received US and European delegations visiting Iraq. As a result of employing a very crafty multi-phased scheme, the Iraqi ruling structures were completely changed without actually changing anything. Formally the changes were significant with only four ministers of previous government remaining in the cabinet and only one of them retaining his position. The decorations were changed accompanied by reshuffling the old pack of cards. The majority of old timers one way or another remained in the ranks of top echelon of power. Only spheres of responsibility and influence were changed. New positions were established (three vice-premiers and three vice-presidents) to make the old guard comfortable. Nouri al-Maliki became Vice President of Iraq to let know soon that he was not satisfied with the position of just another figurehead. According to him, he was ready to head the government if people wanted him to.

The power is divided between Pro-Iranian and pro-Western (some politicians managed to join the both) groups. It’s a pity there is no pro-Iraqi representation. The absolute majority of those who came to power in Iraq have spent 20-30 years abroad – they are all united by the feeling of hatred towards the previous regime and everything related to it. In 2003 many of them were transported to Baghdad from London by allied aircraft. Today they are the ones the West relies on. In late December 2014, Iraqi President Fuad Masum waived his passport and nationality given to him by Britain and returned them back to the authorities. The Iraqi constitution stipulates in its article 18 on the «inadmissibility of the multiplicity of sexual Iraqi forces while serving in a position of a sovereign or a senior security abandoning any other nationality that is regulated by law». The President spared no words of gratitude to the United Kingdom. Nothing has ever been reported about other top officials refusing their British citizenship, for instance: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, his deputy Ayad Allawi, Ibrahim Jafari, Iraq’s Foreign Minister.

The list is not long. The advocates of Western type of democracy had to be mixed with those who have spent no less time in Tehran that the pro-Western opposition in London. They act as fierce supporters of Iran. Hadi al-Ameri is the best known among them. Many believe him to be a rather dividing than consolidating figure. Sunni Muslims offered stiff resistance opposing his appointment, but their opinion is ignored at best, and quite often force is used to quell them.

The Sunni politicians allowed to make it to the top are not popular even among their community. For instance, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq barely escaped execution by Sunni Muslims when he visited the province of Anbar in 2012. Sunni protesters have been rallying in the area for more than a week to protest over second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government. The demonstrators insisted the Sunni official show support for their protest by submitting his resignation from the government. The appointment of Khaled al-Obeidi as Defense Minister may be considered as a kind of success reached by Iraqi Sunni community. He took over the position from Saadoun al-Dulaimi, his wishy-washy predecessor with dubious reputation who failed to get a permanent appointment and served as acting minister for three years. The new defense chief is a well-educated technocrat (a former military aeronautical engineer) never reported to have any relation to political squabbles. Pretty soon he was accused of …oppressing Shia Muslims. The accusations were voiced in the parliament after the Defense Minister fired 29 Air Force officers.

Part 2

Haider Al-Abadi was appointed the head of government in August 2014. He was deputy leader of the Islamic Dawa Party (the Islamic Call Party) when it was headed by Nouri al-Maliki, his old time associate. In October 2014 the Iraqi parliament held hearings on the defeat suffered by the military when the Islamic State forces took Mosul and Tikrit. Nouri al-Maliki accused everyone around him attempting to deflect blame for the rout. For instance, Kurds were condemned for betrayal. He never admitted his responsibility as the supreme commander.

The breathtaking success of the Islamic State in 2014 in Iraq would have been impossible if the Shia government led by Nouri al-Maliki had agreed to meet the demands (mainly just ones) of Sunni community in late 2013 for the sake of preserving the country’s territorial integrity. Instead it made Sunni Muslims, who account for a third of the country’s population, take arms. By the middle of January, Sunni Muslims established their control over almost the entire province of Anbar, large parts of Ninawa and Salah ad Din provinces and swathes of territories in four Iraqi other governorates (provinces). It opened the way for the Sunni Islamic State to enter Iraq from the neighboring Syria where it was retreating beforethe Bashar Assad’s forces and Kurds self-defense units of peshmerga volunteers.


In a few months the military of Iraq suffered defeat while the Islamic State formations approached Baghdad with only 20-30 km left to get to the capital. The Iraqi regular forces fled leaving behind weapons and equipment. Five army divisions and a division under the command of the Ministry of Interior ceased to exist. Over 7 thousand military surrendered and were fusilladed, over 12 thousand are still listed as missing in action. The Islamic State seized 2,500 armored military vehicles (including 100 US-produced Abrams М1А1 tanks), artillery pieces, ammunition storages etc. The United States has spent around $22-24 billion on the Iraqi army which happened to be fully demoralized when it the time came to act. Actually there was no army in the «new Iraq» – it’s hard to call «an army» a crowd of armed people in uniform plunged into a vicious cycle of corruption and patronage. In September 2014 it came to light that there were over 60 thousand «ghost servicemen» crowding the payrolls of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior (they call them «spaceman soldiers» or ‘fadhaiyin’ in Iraq) in major fraud. The money was pocketed by thieves in civilian clothes and in uniform. Selling military positions and ranks has become a popular business in the country. The anticorruption commission has recently revealed that there were senior officers on active service without military education who did not know how to read and write.

Haider Al-Abadi, the new Prime Minister said the disarmament of armed formations and para-military forces operating outside the government control was a priority mission along with the fight against the Islamic State. But the new government still refuses to admit the fact that Iraq is split along ethnic lines. The plight of Sunni Muslims, who are insulted and humiliated, calls into doubt the accomplishment of set goals.

It their turn, Sunnis put forward the conditions for the support of the newly formed cabinet. They demand a formation of a national guard and the amnesty for former members of the Baath Party. It should be noted that not only Sunni Muslims were the party members as the US propaganda says. Iraqi Sunnis want their formations to have an official status to join the government forces in their struggle against the Islamic State. Their tactical alliance with the Islamic State came to an end in the summer of 2014 after the supporters of the caliphate went on a rampage introducing barbarian laws. They took hostage the entire populated areas and mercilessly eliminated everyone suspected of resistance. Back then Sunnis began intensive activities in the enemy’s rear preventing the seizure of Baghdad. The Sahwa (or Awakening Councils) forces are a military militia of Sunni fighters. In their fight against the Islamic State they are joined by the Naqshbandi Army (the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order), which is mainly manned by former professional military who served in the armed forces in the days of Saddam Hussein’s rule, as well as other Sunni armed formations. They all want one thing – up-to-date weapons. The central government stubbornly refuses to meet their demands. It went as far as to make the sheiks of Anbar province ask Iran for arms supplies. They approached Tehran on the issue in December 2014.

As before, the Shiite members of parliament constitute an irreconcilable majority now. They have certain apprehensions concerning the request for arms supplies. Sunnis formations are 80-120 thousand strong, according to various estimates. Providing them with weapons may lead to the creation of a powerful force which could turn against the central government after the Islamic State is pushed out of Iraq. Baghdad finds this prospect more frightening than the emergence of Islamic caliphate. The bill prepared by Haider Al-Abadi was first sent back to the government. Then the Shiite members of parliament came up with an idea to include the people’s militia into the national guard or unite the Sunni armed units with the formations under the command of Hadi al-Ameri who believes that all Sunnis are supporters of the Islamic State and calls for their elimination on account of religious faith! He controls the Ministry of Interior which has twice as many personnel as the Ministry of Defense. The Shiite armed groups Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Peace Brigades (the Mahdi Army formerly) and Hezbollah come to the fore. New armed organizations have emerged like Division Abbas, for instance. They fill their ranks with Shiites only.

Kurds are a special case. 95% of Kurds are Sunni but the religious factor is not as strong as ethnicity. They enjoy the support of the West and have gained ground to significantly strengthen their positions. A US air base is under construction near Erbil in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The Kurdish authorities consider Kirkuk and oil rich chunks of land to be the territory of Kurdistan. They are ready to use force to protect the Kirkuk’s status. Kurdish President Barzani says Kurds will not allow neither the Iraqi government forces, nor Shiite militia formations, nor anybody else enter the area. This land will always remain to be an inalienable part of Kurdistan. The Kurdish peshmerga forces did well fighting the Islamic State groups near Sinjar (Nineveh governorate), as well as in the provinces of Diyala and Kirkuk. Their commanders say they will join the Iraqi forces in the battle of Mosul but only because this city is located near Kurdistan and the radicals pose a threat to the Kurdish autonomy. Before that, Iraqi Kurds had actively supported Syrian Kurds by sending reinforcements to Kobane. Kurds have little desire to join the fight in the near-by areas which do not belong to what they consider as their sphere of interests (for instance, the Province of Anbar).

The Islamic State does its best to expand the battle area to other parts of the Middle East. They have attacked a Saudi border guard force, they threaten Jordan and try to get to US military facilities in Iraq. They have attacked air bases in Tikrit and Balad (2014), Ain al-Asad and Habbanii (2015) – the facilities with US military presence. The mission is to cause casualties among Americans and make them have boots on the ground. Shiites have let their stance known – in case of US ground forces intervention they will turn their weapons against Americans to change the correlation of forces.

The Islamic State has turned into a global threat, that’s what everybody agrees with. Jordanian king Abdullah II believes it’s the start of WWIII. 60 states have joined the anti-Islamic State coalition while citizens of 90 countries have come to fight under the Islamic State banners. The militants’ armed formations are 20-80 thousand strong. The estimates vary according to different sources.

Diversified, well-coordinated, tough and resolute steps are required to successfully counter the Islamic State. Nothing like that is on the horizon. The coalition announced its readiness to offer diplomatic, humanitarian and military support to Iraq. Some countries have sent military instructors to upgrade the Iraqi military skills. They all refuse the idea of boots on the ground.

Jurgen Todenhofer, former German politician, who has fiercely opposed the war in Iraq, visited Mosul in 2014 and could see with his own eyes what the caliphate was like from inside. He was shocked by unbelievable cruelty of the militants and the scope of their plans. “The first strong impression is that the Islamic State is much stronger than I thought, much cleverer.” He said the extremist fighters have an “incredible enthusiasm and sense of victory”, with total certainty that they will win the war for the Middle East. He described how he saw hundreds of fighters arriving each day to join the Islamic State with recruits from all over the world and all walks of life. Todenhofer stressed that the fighters display an “enthusiasm” about “killing hundreds of millions of people”. He concluded chillingly, “I do not see anybody who has a real chance to stop them.” According to him, “Only Arabs can stop the Islamic State; the Western countries will never stop it.”

The United States and its allies have been constantly saying that the caliphate had to be eliminated. Since August 2014 the US aviation has been delivering air strikes against the Islamists with 15-20 sorties a day (two thirds of strikes are delivered against the Islamic State forces deployed in Syria). For comparison the anti-Iraq coalition made over 1000 sorties daily in 2003.

On March 2, Baghdad announced its intention to launch an offensive to re-take Tikrit considered to be the main springboard for subsequent liberation of Mosul. The seizure of Tikrit and Mosul by Iraqi forces could become the starting point of the Islamic State’s debacle. It’s worth to note that the United States refused to provide air support in Tikrit because the Iranian Quds units (special operations) are taking part in the combat.

On March 8, Iraqi media reported that Tikrit was fully encircled citing the sources linked to the people’s militia led by Hadi al-Ameri. On March 9, US Army General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi during a day-long visit. He listened to the opinion of US advisers who took part in the planning of the operation. Looks like Americans are in no hurry to exploit the success. Anyway, this is the sixth attempt to recapture Tikrit during the recent ten months. In 2014 they cautiously predicted in Washington that the war against the Islamic State would last at least three years. Pentagon spokesman Rear-Admiral John Kirby has recently said it will take five years to defeat the Islamic State. It’s hard to imagine how much grief and suffering it will bring to many thousands of people.

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An exclusive interview with Nuri al-Maliki:Maliki: Syria’s Steadfastness Foiled Plots against Region

Local Editor

Iraqi Vice President Nouri Al-Maliki

Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki stressed that Syria’s steadfastness foiled the plan which was plotted against the region for its specification as the gateway to Iraq and Iran.

“Those who were betting on a military solution are now seeking a political solution for the crisis in Syria,” Maliki said during an interview with Al-Manar TV on Saturday.

The Iraqi official said that the policies of states in the region and major players on the international arena produced the terrorism which affected Iraq and instability in the region, noting that he had warned more than two years ago that the crisis in Syria would spill over to Iraq.

Maliki underlined that Iraq rejected to take part in the siege on Syria, which contradicted with the West desires.

“Iraq also rejected the war on Syria as it represented a prelude to war on Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and the whole region,” the former Iraqi PM said.

Source: Websites

07-12-2014 – 12:37 Last updated 07-12-2014 – 12:37

An exclusive interview with Nuri al-Maliki 

بين قوسين _ حوار خاص مع الرئيس نوري المالكي _ ايوب بتول نعيم | المنار


حديث اليوم _ بعد العراق وسوريا ، هل يتوسع التحالف الدولي الى ليبيا ؟ | الاتجاه

مع الحدث _ داعش في ليبيا .. الخطر الداهم | العالم 

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Baghdad… When Plane of Iran’s Suleimani Landed

Israa al-Fas

Edited and Translated by Mohamed Salami


“This is my enemy… I wish that one of my officers could match him.” –Obama

ISIL lost around half of the territories it occupied since June 10, 2014. Since then till September 18, the day which preceded the first US-led coalition’s airstrikes, a number of political changes and battlefield developments occurred in Iraq. ISIL’s image that was consecrated after the fall of Mosul as the “invincible monster” was altered by the army’s achievements. Securing Baghdad as well as its belt, Samarra, al-Dajil besides al-Balad and regaining control over Talaafar, Amerli, Suleiman Beik, in addition to large parts of Salahuddine province corrected the scene and proved that the monster is a paper tiger.

On June 10, 2014, ISIL controlled the city of Mosul, pushing the political and military leadership in addition to the religious authority in Iraq to take the necessary measures to protect the capital and to urge the citizens to encounter the terrorist group.

At that time the Saudi media played a vital role in promoting ISIL’s propaganda by claiming that the terrorists’ shells reached Baghdad’s airport.

What changed the course of the events? What turned the table on ISIL?

Commander of IRGC Quds Forces Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad

Well-informed sources told Al-Manar that after the fall of Mosul into the hands of the terrorists, the plane of the commander of IRGC Quds forces Major General Qassem Suleimani landed in Baghdad. The sources added that Iranian and Lebanese military experts were on board.

At that moment, the Iraqi army was not collapsed, and the different factions which fought the US occupation started to order its ranks. Also, thousands of volunteers flocked to the training camps in preparation to defend their cities and towns against ISIL.

Al-Manar correspondent to Iraq, our colleague Mohammad Nesr, quoted Iraqi fighters as saying that Suleimani used to attend the battles in person, leading the advancing troops into the fronts to defeat the ISIL terrorists.

Nesr added that Suleimani used also to perform his religious duties regularly and to show signs of confidence, boost the morale of the fighters.

Suleimani called Hamas official Khaled Meshaal and al-Barazani in iraq’s Kurdistan as he also used to follow news bars of different TV channels, including Al-Manar, according to Nesr.

US War against Maliki

As the fierce clashes between ISIL terrorists and the Iraqi army erupted, the US administration launched its political war against PM Nuri al-Maliki, requiring the formation of a transitional government in order to strike the terrorists’ strongholds.

Failing to contrive major achievements, the US airstrikes against ISIL sites in Iraq started only when the terrorist group reached Kurdistan where the Western investments exist.

On the other hand, the Iraqi army and the volunteer military factions benefited from the relative political stability which resulted from forming a new government and continued its operations against ISIL terrorists regaining major towns in Diyala and other provinces.

All these achievements were led by the commander Qassem Suleimani whose battlefield photos pushed the US president Barack Obama to say,

“This is my enemy… I wish that one of my officers could match him.”

Source: Al-Manar Website

28-11-2014 – 18:05 Last updated 28-11-2014 – 19:13

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Barrett: ISIL Israeli mercenary army

Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:40AM GMT

Dr. Kevin Barrett

Video here

An outspoken American author and Islamic studies expert says the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group is advancing the agenda of the Israeli regime.

Dr. Kevin Barrett told Press TV from Madison that the ISIL is a “mercenary army,” which has been organized by the Zionists.

The ISIL has been fighting on behalf of Zionism in order to “destabilize Syria” and “cripple the anti-Israeli resistance” across the region, Barrett said.

He also said that the ISIL ideology is similar to the Israeli forces committing crimes against the Palestinians in East Jerusalem al-Quds and elsewhere across the occupied Palestinian territories.

He strongly criticized the “Zionist-dominated” Western media for demonizing Muslims by attributing the ISIL atrocities to Islam. The analyst said that the Saudi-backed Wahhabi fanatics and ISIL terrorists were contributing to the Zionists’ global war against Islam.

“The former members of the defunct Iraqi Ba’ath Party and the supporters of slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein have teamed up with the ISIL in order to commit acts of terror against thousands of innocent people,” Barrett said.

The ISIL terrorists control several areas in Syria and Iraq. They have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities in the two countries, including against Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.

A US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria, but there is wide skepticism about the real objective of the airstrikes as well as their effectiveness.

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Press TV that the United States’ military strategy in Iraq and Syria has failed.

Barrett concluded by saying that Press TV is the sole news channel that has played a crucial role in exposing the Takfiri militants’ crimes.


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ISIL Loses Half of What it Occupied since June 2014

Local Editor

DiyalaAfter the successive military achievements of the Iraqi army in its counter combat against ISIL, the terrorist group lost around half of the territories it occupied since June 10, 2014.

In Salahuddine, the Iraqi army regained control over Baiji and its oil refinery as well as several other towns; whereas, Tikrit and other towns kept under ISIL control.

ISIL also still controls Fallujah and a large part of Ramadi in the province of Anbar.

In a related context, ISIL leader in Heet was killed in an airstrike.

Iraqi security sources told Al-Manar that the army as well as the peshmerga and the volunteer forces regained its control over several towns western Diyala as ISIL terrorists escaped from them.

The sources added that defenses of the terrorists collapsed as the army has been shelling their last besieged sites.

Source: Al-Manar Website

26-11-2014 – 13:17 Last updated 26-11-2014 – 13:52

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ISIS was the illegitimate fetus born and nurtured inside the uterus of the USA

“America is using ISIS in three ways: to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance,” Garikai Chengu, a research scholar at Harvard University, wrote in on last September 19.

Dismantling what the former US President George W. Bush once described as the Syria – Iran component of the “axis of evil,” or interrupting in Iraq the geographical contiguity of what King Abdullah II of Jordan once described as the “Shiite crescent,” was and remains the strategic goal of the US – Israeli allies in the Middle East unless they succeed first in “changing the regime” in either Damascus or Tehran.

The US, Israel and their regional allies have been on the record that the final target of their “regime change” campaign in the Middle East was to dismantle the Syria – Iran alliance.

With the obvious failure of Plan A to dismantle the self- proclaimed anti-Israel and anti – US Syrian – Iranian “Resistance Axis” by a forcible “regime change” in Damascus, a US – led regional alliance has turned recently to its Plan B to interrupt in Iraq the geographical contiguity of that axis.

This is the endgame of President Barak Obama’s strategy, which he declared on last September 10 as ostensibly against the Islamic State (IS).

This would at least halt for the foreseeable future all the signed and projected trilateral or bilateral Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian pipeline networks to carry oil and gas from Iran and Iraq to the Syrian coast at the Mediterranean.

Israeli Col. (res.) Shaul Shay, a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a former Deputy Head of the Israel National Security Council anticipated in writing on last January 21 what he called the “Salafi Crescent” that is dangerously emerging to challenge the “Shia Crescent.”

“The growing involvement of Sunni Salafi jihadis in Iraq (since 2003), among the rebels in Syria (since 2011), and in Lebanon has created a ‘Salafi Crescent’ … from Diyala [in eastern Iraq] to Beirut,” he wrote.

“A positive outcome” of this Salafi Crescent “will be the decline in Iranian influence in the region,” Shay concluded.

Conspiracy theories aside, the eventual outcome is a sectarian Sunni military and political wedge driven into the Iraqi geographical connection of the Iran-Syria alliance in a triangle bordering Turkey in the north, Iran in the east, Jordan in the west and Saudi Arabia in the south and extending from north eastern Syria to the Iraqi province of Diyala which borders Iran.

Iraqi Kurdistan is already effectively an independent state and cut off from the central government in Baghdad, but separating Iran and Syria as well and supported by the same US – led anti – IS coalition.

Amid the misinformation and disinformation, the fact is that the IS threat is being used as a smokescreen to confuse and blur this reality.

The IS was conceived and delivered in an American womb. The US – drafted and enforced current constitution produced the sectarian government that is still trying to rule in Iraq. Sectarian cleansing and exclusion of Sunnis could not but inevitably create its antithesis.

The IS was the illegitimate fetus born and nurtured inside the uterus of the US – engineered political process based on a constitution legalizing a federal system based in turn on sectarian and ethnic sharing of power and wealth.

This horrible illegitimate creature is the “legacy” of the US war on Iraq, which was “conceived” in the “sin” of the US invasion of the country in 2003, in the words of the president of the Arab American Institute, James J. Zogbi, writing in the Jordan Times on last June 16.

US Senator John McCain, quoted by The Atlantic on last June 23, thanked “God,” the “Saudis and Prince Bandar” and “our Qatari friends” for creating the “monster.”

The pro-Iran government of former Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki was squeezed by the IS military advances to “request” the US help, which Washington preconditioned on the removal of al-Maliki to which Iran succumbed. The IS gave Obama’s IS strategy its first success.

However, al-Maliki’s replacement by Haider al-Abadi in August has changed nothing so far in the sectarian component of the Iraqi government and army. The US support of Iraq under his premiership boils down only to supporting continued sectarianism in the country, which is the incubator of the survival of its IS antithesis.

Moreover, the destruction of the Iraqi state infrastructure, especially the dismantling of Iraq’s national army and security agencies and the Iraqi Baath party that held them intact, following the US invasion, has created a power vacuum which neither the US occupation forces nor the sectarian Shiite militias could fill. The IS was not powerful per se. They just stepped in on a no-man land.

Similarly, some four years of a US – led “regime change” effort, which was initially spearheaded by the Muslim Brotherhood and which is still financed, armed and logistically facilitated by the US regional allies in Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia as well as by allied western intelligence services, has created another power vacuum in Syria, especially on border areas and in particular in the northern and eastern areas bordering Turkey and Iraq.

US Senator Rand Paul in an interview with CNN on last June 22 was more direct, accusing the Obama administration of “arming” and creating an IS “safe haven” in Syria, which “created a vacuum” filled by the IS.

“We have been fighting alongside al Qaeda, fighting alongside ISIS. ISIS is now emboldened and in two countries. But here’s the anomaly. We’re with ISIS in Syria. We’re on the same side of the war. So, those who want to get involved to stop ISIS in Iraq are allied with ISIS in Syria. That is the real contradiction to this whole policy,” he said.

The former 16 – year member of the US Congress and two – time US presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, writing in the on last September 24, summed it up: The IS “was born of Western intervention in Iraq and covert action in Syria.”

The US ‘Trojan horse’

The IS could have considered playing the role of a US “Frankenstein,” but in fact it is serving as the US “Trojan horse” into Syria and Iraq. Fighting the IS was the US tactic, not the US strategy.

On record, Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that “the best way of fighting ISIS and terrorism in the region is to help and strengthen the Iraqi and Syrian governments, which have been engaged in a serious struggle” against the IS. But this would not serve the endgame of Obama’s strategy, which targets both governments instead.

Beneficiaries of the IS “Trojan horse” leave no doubts about the credibility of the Syrian, Iranian and Russian doubts about the real endgame of the US – led declared war on the IS.

The United States was able finally to bring about its long awaited and promoted “front of moderates” against Iran and Syria into an active and “air-striking” alliance, ostensibly against the IS.

In Iraq, the IS served the US strategy in wrestling back the so called “political process” from the Iranian influence by proxy of the former premier al – Maliki. Depriving al – Maliki of a third term had proved that there is no unified Iran – backed “Shia house” in Iraq. The US has its own influence inside that “house.”

Installing a US Iraqi satellite was the strategic goal of the US – led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Instead, according to Doug Bandow, writing in Forbes on last October 14, “Bush’s legacy was a corrupt, authoritarian, and sectarian state, friendly with Iran and Syria, Washington’s prime adversaries in the Middle East. Even worse was the emergence of the Islamic State.”

This counterproductive outcome of the US invasion, which saw Iran wielding the reigns of power in Baghdad and edging Iraq closer to Syria and Iran during the eight years of al-Maliki’s premiership, turned the red lights on in the White House and the capitals of its regional allies.

Al-Maliki, whom Bush had designated as “our guy” in Baghdad when his administration facilitated his premiership in 2006, turned against his mentors.

He edged Iraq closer to the Syrian and Iranian poles of the “axis of evil.” Consequently he opposed western or Israeli military attack on Iran, at least from or via the Iraqi territory. In Syria, he opposed a regime change in Damascus, rejected direct military “foreign intervention” and indirect proxy intervention and insisted that a “political solution” is the only way forward in Iraq’s western Arab neighbor.

Worse still was his opening Iraq up to rival Chinese and Russian hydrocarbon investments, turning Iraq a part of an Iran-Iraq-Syria oil and gas pipeline network and buying weapons from the Russian Federation.

Al- Maliki had to go. He was backed by Iran to assume his second term as prime minister in spite of the US, which backed the winner of the 2010 elections for the post, Ayad Allawi. The US had its revenge in the 2014 elections. Al-Maliki won the elections, but was denied a third term thanks to US pressure.

The IS was the US instrument to exert that pressure. US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Baghdad on last June 23 warned that Iraq was facing “an existential threat.”

It was a US brinkmanship diplomacy to force al-Maliki to choose between two bad options: Either to accept a de facto secession of western and northern Iraq on the lines of Iraqi Kurdistan or accept the US conditional military support. Al-Maliki rejected both options, but he had paid the price already.

The turning point came with the fall of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul to the IS on last June 10. Iraqi Kurdistan inclusive, the northern and western Iraq, including most of the crossing points into Syria and Jordan in the west, were clinched out of the control of Baghdad, i.e. some two thirds of the area of Iraq. Al-Maliki was left to fight this sectarian Sunni insurgency by his sectarian Iran-backed Shiite government. This was a non-starter and was only to exacerbate the already deteriorating situation.

Al- Maliki and Iran were made to understand that no US support was forthcoming to reign in the IS until he quits and a less pro-Iran and a more “inclusive” government is formed in Iraq.

The creation of the IS as the sectarian Sunni alternative against Iran’s ruling allies in Baghdad and Damascus was and is still the US tactic towards its strategic endgame. Until the time the US strategy succeeds in wrestling Baghdad from Iran influence back into its fold as a separating wedge between Iran and Syria, the IS will continue to serve US strategy and so far Obama’s strategy is working.

“America is using ISIS in three ways: to attack its enemies in the Middle East, to serve as a pretext for U.S. military intervention abroad, and at home to foment a manufactured domestic threat, used to justify the unprecedented expansion of invasive domestic surveillance,” Garikai Chengu, a research scholar at Harvard University, wrote in on last September 19.

As a doctrine, since the collapse of the Ottoman caliphate early in the twentieth century, western powers did their best to keep Arabs separated from their strategic depth in their immediate Islamic proximity. The Syria – Iran alliance continues to challenge this doctrine.

* Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (nassernicola UBd

Daily Beast: Only Way to Beat ISIL Working with Assad, Iran

Leslie H. Gelb – The Daily Beast

To Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with loveThe Obama administration has pulled together a coalition as ineffectual as it is unwilling. It’s time to join up with the forces, however unsavory, that can do the job.

Earlier this week, outside Washington, the Obama team hosted senior military leaders from nations pledged to help fight the so-called Islamic State, in a mission the Pentagon is now calling “Operation Inherent Resolve.”

Representatives from 21 of the 60-odd countries appeared. Everyone, of course, was too polite to inquire about the embarrassing number of absentees. Nor did they comment on how little these partners have contributed to the war effort thus far, or on the fact that no new serious help has been promised.  Least surprising of all was the absence of the only two nations that could help fight the jihadis now and in a tangible form.

In the short term the only way to check ISIS, as the self-declared caliphate is widely known, is for the United States to work with Bashar Assad’s Syria, and with Iran. It is a tricky and perilous path, but there are no realistic alternatives.

In short, here’s why:

First, air power alone can’t stop, let alone, defeat ISIS. Even those who now demand an escalation of the overly restrained U.S. air campaign don’t argue that it is a solution.

Second, neither Iraq nor American-backed Syrian rebels can field viable ground forces, at least for some time. Just look at their performance to date and see if the U.S. can afford to pretend otherwise.

White House officials won’t publicly discuss the limited effectiveness of their air campaign because it’s the only action the U.S. and its partners can now agree to take. Privately, however, they understand well that missiles, drones and bombs can help Kurdish forces near Kurdistan, damage some jihadi-controlled oil refineries, and keep the militants from massing forces and armor. But that’s about it.

The White House, however, does not grapple with the essentiality of good ground forces now. Instead, it resorts to its usual wishful thinking. The Iraqi army, the Obama team says, wouldn’t fight for Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, but it will fight for a more responsive government. The solution was to depose Maliki, the sectarian Shiite prime minster, and to replace him with a more flexible Shiite who might accommodate the unhappy Sunnis and Kurds.

No such luck. The newly installed regime shows little sign of being able to cure Iraq’s political ills, and Iraqi troops have become no more effective. It is not even certain that they can or will defend Baghdad or the oil facilities to the south.

Neither can the Obama team shake its years-long rhetoric about salvation resting with equipping an army of Syrian democrats, the so-called moderate rebels. These rebels have formidable advocates in Washington, from Republicans like Senator John McCain to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta, but these devotees are overlooking basic facts.

Factions within the Syrian National Coalition, the supposed overall leadership body for the rebels, haven’t been able to agree among themselves and exercise little oversight over rebel troops in the field.

The rebels inside Syria, those whom Americans truly would like to help, are almost totally disorganized themselves. Their politics run from democratic to Islamic fundamentalist, and many have simply sold to the jihadis the very arms given to them by the U.S.

Washington should, in fact, undertake a careful long-term program to arm and train these rebels so that over time they will be strong enough to fight and/or bargain with the Alawite Shiites in Damascus. It makes no sense, however, for Mr. Obama to continue promising urgent delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of arms to groups that could not possibly absorb them.

Now is not the time for false virtue or moral absolutism. The working principle now has to be first threats first.

This rhetoric aside, the Obama team and the Pentagon know full well the limits of the rebels and are beginning to search out a realistic alternative.  This foreign policy sleight of hand was revealed last month when Secretary of State John Kerry let slip America’s intention to “de-conflict” with Assad. One apparent result of these subtle moves is that Assad seems to be turning off his air defense system when U.S. aircraft attack his territory. For its part, the U.S. hasn’t hit major oil fields under ISIS control. Presumably this is because Assad wants them working when he takes over again.

Only Assad’s Syria and Iran can and would provide plausible ground forces in short order. Turkey, the other possible partner, has shown itself to be more interested in checking its own Kurdish population than in fighting ISIS abroad. On paper, Assad’s army numbers over 100,000, and his air force contains around 300 jets.

Even if his actual fighting force is half that, Syria’s is still the best positioned and most usable outfit among the neighboring Arab states. Iran’s forces are even more potent.

Mr. Assad has thus far proved cagey. He hasn’t made the defeat of ISIS his top priority. He remains zeroed in on the rebels, while brokering his own stolen oil internationally on behalf of the ISIS jihadis who took it. Recently, however, Assad has been signaling that he sees things differently, but he won’t turn his attention fully to ISIS without quiet assurances from the Americans—and probably the Russians, too—that this won’t disadvantage him against the rebels. Russia, brimming with unhappy, armed Muslims, is even more threatened by the existence of ISIS than the United States. Moscow could help facilitate cooperation between Syria, Iran and the U.S., not because Mr. Putin is kind hearted, but because it is in his obvious interest.

Cooperating with Assad is also the only feasible way, at present, to lessen the humanitarian nightmare in Syria. Thus, the first condition for cooperation must be his agreement to respect humanitarian zones in rebel held areas linked to a mutual ceasefire. This arrangement would be without prejudice as to the ultimate resolution of Syria’s political crisis, but it could help resolve matters peacefully and permit both parties to focus on fighting the Islamic extremists.

As for Iran, its leaders, both reformists and hardliners, regard the Sunni Islamic State as a mortal threat to Shiite governments in Tehran, Damascus and Baghdad. The Iranians have the military means and good reason to be effective partners; the ever-present risk is that their revolutionary ideology will run amok. If a deal can be arranged, Tehran’s ground forces should be restricted to Baghdad and southern Iraq. Going northward would antagonize Iraqi Sunnis whom Washington and Baghdad are currently wooing.

Luring those Sunnis back into a functioning Iraqi state will be a Herculean task, but, by and large, Iraqi Sunnis are not religious crazies and might be persuaded by tangible offers of considerable local autonomy.

The long-term strategic risks are clear:

Iran and Assad’s Syria could emerge from this anti-jihadi alliance with much more power in the Mideast and beyond. No one needs to be reminded that the men in charge in Damascus and Tehran are really nasty guys. At the end of the day, however, both have been mainly self-protective powers. Assad has been more of a threat to his own people than to his neighborhood. Iran’s revolutionary propaganda, its backing of regional terrorist groups like Hezbollah and its nuclear program bear close watching, but underneath these are potential avenues for cooperation worth testing and pursuing. The potent shared interest in defeating ISIS is one such avenue.

Historically, Washington is not allergic to cooperation with devils. The U.S. allied with Stalin to fight Hitler.

The U.S. has banded with the Arab Gulf states for decades, and no bunch of American “friends” has done more to damage American security than the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. For decades, their leaders have provided hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and arms to the very terrorists threatening the U.S and its partners across the globe.

Now is not the time for false virtue or moral absolutism. The working principle now has to be first threats first. And the first threat to American interests today is ISIS and its cohorts. If they gain a base of operations in the belly of the Mideast, they will intimidate nations around the world while launching terrorist attacks against those that remain resolute. They have to be hit very hard where they are and hit now—and there’s no way to do it other than working carefully, very carefully, with the devils we know.

Al-Manar Website is not responsible for the content of this article. All opinions expressed are those of the author alone

Source: Websites

20-10-2014 – 10:44 Last updated 20-10-2014 – 10:44

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The road between Tehran and Riyadh: ‘closed’ until further notice

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal looks on during a press conference with the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (unseen) following their meeting in the coastal City of Jeddah, on October 13, 2014. (Photo: AFP)
Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Saud al-Faisal seems to have regained control of Saudi foreign policy, after months of talk about the dominance of the wing led by King Abdullah, who has been out of sight for some time for reasons some say are health related. In all cases, the result is the same: the road between Riyadh and Tehran is closed until further notice.
In less than a month, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal made two different statements regarding relations with Iran: The first was ambivalent, albeit it had an optimistic tone, while the second was escalatory, and perhaps best reflects the true sentiments of Saud al-Faisal personally.
In the bilateral meeting that brought Faisal together with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in New York, on the sidelines of the 69th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 21, Zarif came across as too optimistic, even considering the meeting the beginning of a “new chapter” in the relations between Tehran and Riyadh. Zarif went further and said the meeting would have a positive impact on efforts to restore peace in the region and the world, and safeguard the interests of all Islamic nations.
Saud al-Faisal’s statement was similar in tone. Faisal said,

“Iran and Saudi Arabia are among the influential countries in the region,” adding that cooperation “between Tehran and Riyadh could help promote peace and security in the region and the world.” Yet the Saudi minister did not stop there, and continued in a “loaded” manner, “The mistakes of the past must be avoided, so that it may become possible to end the crises afflicting the region.”

Zarif also mentioned a visit he would make to Riyadh soon, to continue consultations with the Saudi side, following a visit by Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdel-Lahian in August.
The Saudi and Iranian ministers parted in New York, and to date, there has been no new chapter, and no visit. Subsequent developments that followed the solitary meeting reinforced the estrangements, most notably:
The Yemeni card
First: In Yemen, a painful blow has been dealt to Saudi influence by Ansar Allah (the Houthis). Ironically, the meeting between Saud al-Faisal and Javad Zarif was held on the same day that the government led by Mohammed Basendwah, who is close to Saudi Arabia, collapsed at the hands of those the latter considers as allies of Iran. Although Riyadh welcomed the peace and partnership agreement signed by the political forces in Yemen in the north and south, brokered by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, there seems to have been a quick Saudi “realization” that dispelled what was thought to be a positive climate with Tehran.

[T]he GCC countries believe Yemen should be exclusively in the Saudi backyard, and an undisputed part of its vital sphere of influence.

At the Jeddah meeting of the interior ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on October 1, a warning was issued collectively saying that the GCC countries 

“would not stand idle regarding foreign factional interferences in Yemen, as the security of Yemen and that of the GCC are an integral whole.” 

The interpretation of “foreign interferences” here refers to Iran, meaning that the GCC countries believe Yemen should be exclusively in the Saudi backyard, and an undisputed part of its vital sphere of influence.
The official press, which is usually a good gauge for Saudi political thinking, waged a coordinated campaign against Ansar Allah, describing the protests as an attempt to spread sedition and undermine a political achievement that was made through the Gulf initiative.
Al-Riyadh, a newspaper close to the royal family, wrote in an editorial on October 11, “Iran’s involvement in steering the Houthis and creating a president for Yemen with the specifications of Maliki in Iraq would bring back the negative perceptions of al-Qaeda by countries that want to drown Yemen in sectarian and tribal wars, which is what the current circumstances are conducive to.”
This attempt to turn Yemen into another Iraq, suggested by the newspaper, is actually nothing more than a threat to the Yemenis in the north and the south, the gist of which is this: any attempt to bypass the terms of the Gulf initiative would open the door to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In effect, the Saudi veiled threat concerning terrorism is very similar to the US threat following the attacks of 9/11, when the US linked the fight on terror to democratic reforms in the Middle East. This later turned to a political weapon, which someone summed up as follows:

“Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.”

In Saudi’s case, it becomes:

“Be nice to Saudi Arabia or we’ll bring ISIS to your country.”

In the religious context, incitement has reached new heights with some sectarian channels and Wahhabi imams in mosques in Riyadh issuing fatwas for jihad against the Houthis. This was translated immediately into a suicide attack against the protesters in Sana’a on October 9, which killed more than 30 people and wounded close to a 100 others.
Sheikh Khalid al-Ghamdi, a presenter on the channel Wesal, even gloated at the scene of sectarian carnage at the bombsite. He tweeted,

“How nice for a person to see a beautiful sight, and help spread it for others to enjoy it.”

He also tweeted,

 “There is nothing but blood and destruction between us and al-Houthi’s people.”

The ‘power struggle’
Second: the international anti-terrorism coalition: From an Iranian point of view, terrorism is nothing more than a crude pretext for perpetual war that would ultimately lead to an open confrontation between the two main camps (the US with the moderate countries, and Russia with the axis of defiance), which would unfold across the Resistance states (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, if necessary).
Saudi-Iranian relations have thus soured, reigniting all forms of paranoia. As Saud al-Faisal resumed his exclusive control over the issue, he revealed the fact that the dynamic between Riyadh and Tehran is actually one of a “power struggle” playing out on many fronts.
This is the main theme that has imposed and will continue to impose itself on their relationship. Saud al-Faisal himself confirmed this explicitly in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on October 13, when he said,

“There is no reservation on Iran as a nation and citizens, but the reservation is on the policy of Iran in the region.”

One of the unspoken conditions Riyadh demands out of the two sides’ relationships is that a détente depends upon Tehran withdrawing its forces from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and anywhere else Riyadh might have a foothold in.

One of the unspoken conditions Riyadh demands out of the two sides’ relationships is that a détente depends upon Tehran withdrawing its forces from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and anywhere else Riyadh might have a foothold in. In other words, Iran would have to retreat from the entire region and let Riyadh be alone the master. Thus, the Saudi minister’s position settled speculations regarding whether or not a settlement is in the offing in various issues in the region, from Yemen and Lebanon, to Iraq and Syria, shutting the door on whatever optimism was left among the two sides.
Riyadh has decided to go to war in different forms with Tehran, including using oil as a weapon. Recall that during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008/2009, Saud al-Faisal mocked Iran’s call for using oil to put pressure on the international community to force Israel to stop its aggression, and said in a press conference in New York on January 8, 2009 that using oil “especially in these times is an idea that has lost its worth,” adding, “oil is not a weapon.” And yet, Saudi Arabia is now using this weapon effectively against its opponents, particularly Iran and Russia.
Still, the question is this: What is the occasion for which Saud al-Faisal made his fiery statement?
Before trying to answer, let us remember that there is near complete consensus within the royal family over Saudi foreign policy matters, and that differences, if they exist at all, would only be over form and style.
The answer is that Saud al-Faisal, the veteran diplomat who gave the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs a special and largely personal character, was fighting his own battle within the royal family, especially with the King Abdullah-led wing, which had a seemingly different approach to the relationship with Iran. This is despite the fact that the king was the one who famously called for “cutting off the head of the snake” in reference to Iran, according to leaked WikiLeaks cables.
The relationship between Abdullah and Rafsanjani/Khatami had followed a different path when Khatami became the president of Iran in May 1997, based on the personal and family ties between Rafsanjani, then-head of the Expediency Discernment Council, and King Abdullah. At the time, the former Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdel Aziz was not happy with that relationship. Nayef thus made sure to tell King Abdullah, Crown Prince at the time, that Saudi Hezbollah was behind the Khobar bombings, in eastern Saudi Arabia, on June 25, 1996, before the investigations were completed, in order to sabotage the Iranian-Saudi rapprochement.
A few months ago, Abdel-Lahian met with the king’s son, Abdel-Aziz bin Abdullah, in Senegal. The discussions centered on the “sabotage” being done by Saud al-Faisal, to prevent the opening of a new chapter in the relationship between Riyadh and Tehran. Abdul-Aziz pledged at the time to his Iranian counterpart that the “king’s wing” would handle the issue, and asked him to visit the kingdom in preparation for other visits by more senior officials.
Saud al-Faisal heard about the meeting and waited for the opportune moment to extend a loaded invitation to his Iranian counterpart. The latter understood it to mean the opposite, i.e. that there was no invitation, and to mean that Saud al-Faisal now knew about the arrangements and that he alone was running the Foreign Ministry.
Bilateral meetings were put on hold. The meeting between Faisal and Zarif in New York last month had been prepared a long time in advance, and Saud al-Faisal was obliging at the request of his uncle, the king, before he vanished from the scene for mysterious reasons, which sources say are likely to be health related.
The Saudi minister was looking for an excuse to sever communications with Tehran. The excuse came from Yemen and with the war on ISIS, in addition to the mysterious health condition of the king. Saud al-Faisal finally settled the situation with his fiery statement, making an impossible condition for normalizing relations with Tehran, as though he was saying that the road is closed, until further notice.
Tehran: The term ‘occupier’ befits Saudi Arabia
On Tuesday, reactions continued to the statements of Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, in which he accused Iran of “occupying” Arab countries. After the quick response that came on Monday from Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdel-Lahian, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy and National Security of the Iranian Parliament Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Tuesday that Faisal’s statements could be explained by his “old age and illness.”
Boroujerdi said these statements were more fitting for the countries that
“support terrorists in Syria and Iraq, and intervene militarily to suppress peaceful protests in Bahrain,”
adding that the term occupier was more fitting for Saudi Arabia. Boroujerdi also said,

“Even America, our number one enemy, recognizes that Iran is playing a constructive regional role, and that solving the region’s problems without it is not possible.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Related Articles

America’s “Terrorist Academy” in Iraq Produced ISIS Leaders


The University of Al-Qaeda?

Global Research, October 06, 2014


“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.” Nafeez Ahmed, “How the West Created the Islamic State“, CounterPunch

“The US created these terrorist organizations. America does not have the moral authority to lead a coalition against terrorism.” Hassan Nasralla, Secretary General of Hezbollah

The Obama administration’s determination to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pushing the Middle East towards a regional war that could lead to a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and the United States.

Last week, Turkey joined the US-led coalition following a vote in parliament approving a measure to give the government the authority to launch military action against Isis in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Turkish involvement would come at a price, and that price would be the removal of al Assad. According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News:

“Turkey will not allow coalition members to use its military bases or its territory in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if the objective does not also include ousting the Bashar al-Assad regime, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted on Oct. 1…

“We are open and ready for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism. However, it should be understood by everybody that Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions, nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it,” Erdoğan said in his lengthy address to Parliament.”..

“Turkey cannot be content with the current situation and cannot be a by-stander and spectator in the face of such developments.” (“Turkey will fight terror but not for temporary solutions: Erdoğan“, Hurriyet)

Officials in the Obama administration applauded Turkey’s decision to join the makeshift coalition. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hailed the vote as a “very positive development” while State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We welcome the Turkish Parliament’s vote to authorize Turkish military action…We’ve had numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”

In the last week, “Turkish tanks and other military units have taken position on the Syrian border.” Did the Obama administration strike a deal with Turkey to spearhead an attack on Syria pushing south towards Damascus while a small army of so called “moderate” jihadis– who are presently on the Israeli border– move north towards the Capital? If that is the case, then the US would probably deploy some or all of its 15,000 troops currently stationed in Kuwait “including an entire armored brigade” to assist in the invasion or to provide backup if Turkish forces get bogged down. The timeline for such an invasion is uncertain, but it does appear that the decision to go to war has already been made.

Turkish involvement greatly increases the chances of a broader regional war. It’s unlikely that Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran, will remain on the sidelines while Turkish tanks stream across the country on their way to Damascus. And while the response from Tehran and Moscow may be measured at first, it is bound to escalate as the fighting intensifies and tempers flare. The struggle for Syria will be a long, hard slog that will probably produce no clear winner. If Damascus falls, the conflict will morph into a protracted guerilla war that could spill over borders engulfing both Lebanon and Jordan. Apparently, the Obama administration feels the potential rewards from such a reckless and homicidal gambit are worth the risks.

No-Fly Zone Fakery

The Obama administration has made little effort to conceal its real objectives in Syria. The fight against Isis is merely a pretext for regime change. The fact that Major General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chuck Hagel are angling for a no-fly zone over Syria exposes the “war against Isis” as a fraud. Why does the US need a no-fly zone against a group of Sunni militants who have no air force? The idea is ridiculous. The obvious purpose of the no-fly zone is to put Assad on notice that the US is planning to take control of Syrian airspace on its way to toppling the regime. Clearly, Congress could have figured this out before rubber stamping Obama’s request for $500 million dollars to arm and train “moderate” militants. Instead, they decided to add more fuel to the fire. If Congress seriously believes that Assad is a threat to US national security and “must go”, then they should have the courage to vote for sending US troops to Syria to do the heavy lifting. The idea of funding shadowy terrorist groups that pretend to be moderate rebels is lunacy in the extreme. It merely compounds the problem and increases the prospects of another Iraq-type bloodbath. Is it any wonder why Congress’s public approval rating is stuck in single digits?

TURKEY: A Major Player

According to many sources, Turkey has played a pivotal role in the present crisis, perhaps more than Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Consider the comments made by Vice President Joe Biden in an exchange with students at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University last week. Biden was asked: “In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?” Here’s part of what he said:

“…my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world…

So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don’t want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor – it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization.”

Biden apologized for his remarks on Sunday, but he basically let the cat out of the bag. Actually, what he said wasn’t new at all, but it did lend credibility to what many of the critics have been saying since the very beginning, that Washington’s allies in the region have been arming and funding this terrorist Frankenstein from the onset without seriously weighing the risks involved. Here’s more background on Turkey’s role in the current troubles from author Nafeez Ahmed:

“With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.” (“How the West Created the Islamic State“, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch

Notice how the author points out the involvement of “CIA operatives”. While Biden’s comments were an obvious attempt to absolve the administration from blame, it’s clear US Intel agencies knew what was going on and were at least tangentially involved. Here’s more from the same article:

“Classified assessments of the military assistance supplied by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar obtained by the New York Times showed that “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups… are going to hardline Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”

Once again, classified documents prove that the US officialdom knew what was going on and simply looked the other way. All the while, the hardcore takfiri troublemakers were loading up on weapons and munitions preparing for their own crusade. Here’s a clip that Congress should have read before approving $500 million more for this fiasco:

” … Mother Jones found that the US government has “little oversight over whether US supplies are falling prey to corruption – or into the hands of extremists,” and relies “on too much good faith.” The US government keeps track of rebels receiving assistance purely through “handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field,” and the judgment of its allies. Countries supporting the rebels – the very same which have empowered al-Qaeda affiliated Islamists – “are doing audits of the delivery of lethal and nonlethal supplies.”…

the government’s vetting procedures to block Islamist extremists from receiving US weapons have never worked.” (“How the West Created the Islamic State”, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch)

These few excerpts should help to connect the dots in what is really a very hard-to-grasp situation presently unfolding in Syria. Yes, the US is ultimately responsible for Isis because it knew what was going on and played a significant part in arming and training jihadi recruits. And, no, Isis does not take its orders directly from Washington (or Langley) although its actions have conveniently coincided with US strategic goals in the region. (Many readers will undoubtedly disagree with my views on this.) Here’s one last clip on Turkey from an article in the Telegraph. The story ran a full year ago in October 2013:

“Hundreds of al-Qaeda recruits are being kept in safe houses in southern Turkey, before being smuggled over the border to wage “jihad” in Syria, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

The network of hideouts is enabling a steady flow of foreign fighters – including Britons – to join the country’s civil war, according to some of the volunteers involved.

These foreign jihadists have now largely eclipsed the “moderate” wing of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is supported by the West. Al-Qaeda’s ability to use Turkish territory will raise questions about the role the Nato member is playing in Syria’s civil war.

Turkey has backed the rebels from the beginning – and its government has been assumed to share the West’s concerns about al-Qaeda. But experts say there are growing fears over whether the Turkish authorities may have lost control of the movement of new al-Qaeda recruits – or may even be turning a blind eye.” (“Al-Qaeda recruits entering Syria from Turkey safehouses“, Telegraph)

Get the picture? This is a major region-shaping operation that the Turks, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Americans etc are in on. Sure, maybe some of the jihadis went off the reservation and started doing their own thing, but even that’s not certain. After all, Isis has already achieved many of Washington’s implicit objectives: Dump Nuri al Maliki and replace him with a US stooge who will amend the Status of Forces Agreement. (SOFA), allow Sunni militants and Kurds to create their own de facto mini-states within Iraq (thus, eliminating the threat of a strong, unified Iraq that will challenge Israeli hegemony), and create a tangible threat to regional security (Isis) thereby justifying US meddling and occupation for the foreseeable future. So far, arming terrorists has been a winning strategy for Obama and Co. Unfortunately for the president, we are still in the early rounds of the emerging crisis. Things could backfire quite badly, and probably will.

(NOTE: According to Iran’s Press TV: “The ISIL terrorists have purportedly opened a consulate in Ankara, Turkey and use it to issue visas for those who want to join the fight against the Syrian and Iraqi governments….The militants are said to be operating freely inside the country without much problem.” I have my doubts about this report which is why I have put parentheses around it, but it is interesting all the same.)

CAMP BUCCA: University of Al-Qaeda

So where do the Sunni extremists in Isis come from?

There are varying theories on this, the least likely of which is that they responded to promotional videos and propaganda on social media. The whole “Isis advertising campaign” nonsense strikes me as a clever disinformation ploy to conceal what’s really going on, which is, that the various western Intel agencies have been recruiting these jokers from other (former) hotspots like Afghanistan, Libya, Chechnya, Kosovo, Somalia and prisons in Iraq. Isis not a spontaneous amalgam of Caliphate-aspiring revolutionaries who spend their off-hours trolling the Internet, but a collection of ex Baathists and religious zealots who have been painstakingly gathered to perform the task at hand, which is to lob off heads, spread mayhem, and create the pretext for US-proxy war.


Check out this illuminating article on Alakhbar English titled “The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders”. It helps explain what’s really been going on behind the scenes:

“We have to ask why the majority of the leaders of the Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), had all been incarcerated in the same prison at Camp Bucca, which was run by the US occupation forces near Omm Qasr in southeastern Iraq….. First of all, most IS leaders had passed through the former U.S. detention facility at Camp Bucca in Iraq. So who were the most prominent of these detainees?

The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tops the list. He was detained from 2004 until mid-2006. After he was released, he formed the Army of Sunnis, which later merged with the so-called Mujahideen Shura Council…

Another prominent IS leader today is Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who was a former officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein. This man also “graduated” from Camp Bucca, and currently serves as a member on IS’ military council.

Another member of the military council who was in Bucca is Adnan Ismail Najm. … He was detained on January 2005 in Bucca, and was also a former officer in Saddam’s army. He was the head of a shura council in IS, before he was killed by the Iraqi army near Mosul on June 4, 2014.

Camp Bucca was also home to Haji Samir, aka Haji Bakr, whose real name is Samir Abed Hamad al-Obeidi al-Dulaimi. He was a colonel in the army of the former Iraqi regime. He was detained in Bucca, and after his release, he joined al-Qaeda. He was the top man in ISIS in Syria…

According to the testimonies of US officers who worked in the prison, the administration of Camp Bucca had taken measures including the segregation of prisoners on the basis of their ideology. This, according to experts, made it possible to recruit people directly and indirectly.

Former detainees had said in documented television interviews that Bucca…was akin to an “al-Qaeda school,” where senior extremist gave lessons on explosives and suicide attacks to younger prisoners. A former prisoner named Adel Jassem Mohammed said that one of the extremists remained in the prison for two weeks only, but even so was able to recruit 25 out of 34 inmates who were there. Mohammed also said that U.S. military officials did nothing to stop the extremists from mentoring the other detainees…

No doubt, we will one day discover that many more leaders in the group had been detained in Bucca as well, which seems to have been more of a “terrorist academy” than a prison.” (“The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders“, Alakhbar English)

US foreign policy is tailored to meet US strategic objectives, which in this case are regime change, installing a US puppet in Damascus, erasing the existing borders, establishing forward-operating bases across the country, opening up vital pipeline corridors between Qatar and the Mediterranean so the western energy giants can rake in bigger profits off gas sales to the EU market, and reducing Syria to a condition of “permanent colonial dependency.” (Chomsky)

Would the United States oversee what-amounts-to a “terrorist academy” if they thought their jihadi graduates would act in a way that served US interests?

Indeed, they would. In fact, they’d probably pat themselves on the back for coming up with such a clever idea.

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The Real Reason We Are Bombing Syria

By Dennis Kucinich

September 25, 2014

The administration’s response to the conjunction of this weekend’s People’s Climate March and the International Day of Peace?

1) Bomb Syria the following day, to wrest control of the oil from ISIS which gained its foothold directly in the region through the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan funding and arming ISIS’ predecessors in Syria.2) Send the president to UN General Assembly, where he will inevitably give a rousing speech about climate and peace, while the destruction of the environment and the shattering of world peace is on full display 5,000 miles away.

Nothing better illustrates the bankruptcy of the Obama administration’s foreign policy than funding groups that turn on the U.S. again and again, a neo-con fueled cycle of profits for war-makers and destruction of ever-shifting “enemies.”

The fact can’t be refuted: ISIS was born of Western intervention in Iraq and covert action in Syria.

This Frankenstein-like experiment of arming the alleged freedom-seeking Syrian opposition created the monster that roams the region. ISIS and the U.S. have a curious relationship — mortal enemies that, at the same time, benefit from some of the same events:

a) Ousting former Iraqi President Nouri al Maliki for his refusal to consent to the continued presence of U.S. troops in his country.

b) Regime change in Syria.

c) Arming the Kurds so they can separate from Iraq, a preliminary move to partitioning Iraq.

What a coincidence for war-profiteering neo-cons and the war industry, which has seen its stock rise since last week’s congressional vote to fund the rapid expansion of war. We have met the enemy and he isn’t only ISIS, he is us.

Phase two of the war against Syria is the introduction of 5,000 “moderate” mercenaries (as opposed to immoderate ones), who were trained in Saudi Arabia, the hotbed of Wahhabism, at an initial installment cost of $15 billion. These new “moderates” will replace the old “moderates,” who became ISIS, just in time for Halloween.

The administration, in the belief that you can buy, rent, or lease friends where they otherwise do not exist, labor under the vain assumption that our newfound comrades-in-arms will remain in place during their three-year employment period, ignoring the inevitability that those “friends” you hire today could be firing at you tomorrow.

One wonders if Saudi training of these moderate mercenaries will include methods of beheading which were popularized by the Saudi government long before their ISIS progeny took up the grisly practice.

The U.S. is being played.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia can now overtly join with the U.S. in striking Syria, after they have been covertly attempting for years to take down the last secular state in the region. We are now advancing the agenda of the actual Islamic States — Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to fight the ersatz Islamic State of ISIS.

Now U.S. bombs and missiles might inadvertently “make the world safe” for theocracy rather than democracy. Today we read reports that Israel has shot down a Syrian warplane, indicating the terrible possibility of a wider regional conflict.

What does this have to do with the security of the 50 States United? Nothing!

Last week Congress acted prematurely in funding a war without following the proscriptions of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. (The day of the vote, I urged Congress to resist this dangerous and misguided legislation.) But even while the funding was given, the explicit authorization to go to war was not. To authorize a war, Congress must vote for war. It has not done that yet.

To sell its case, the administration is borrowing from the fear mongering tactics of the Bush administration. ISIS poses no direct, immediate threat to the United States –The White House even said so yesterday, just hours before bombing commenced — yet we are being sold make-believe about ISIS sleeper cells.

This attack on Syria, under the guise of striking ISIS, is by definition, a war of aggression. It is a violation of international law. It could lead to crimes against humanity and the deaths of untold numbers of innocent civilians. No amount of public relations or smooth talking can change that.

And yes, members of this Democratic administration, including the president who executed this policy, must be held accountable by the International Criminal Court and by the American people, whom he serves.

But as we know, war is a powerful and cynical PR tactic. I expect the bombing of Syria will momentarily boost the White House’s popularity with self-serving heroic accounts of damage inflicted upon ISIS (and the U.S. equipment they use). Stuffing the November ballot box with bombs and missiles may even help the Democratic Party retain the Senate.

But after the election the voters will discover that the president played into the hands of extremists, hurt civilians, and embroiled our country deep into another conflict in the Middle East.

There were alternatives. The U.S. and the international community could have contained and shrunk ISIS by cutting off its funds and its revenue from sale of oil on the black market. We could have looked to strike a deal with Syria and Iran.

In foreign policy, the administration has failed. Congress has failed. Both the Democratic and Republican Parties have passed the national checkbook to their patrons in the war-contracting business. And passed the bill to future generations.

The American people, who in 2008 searched for something redemptive after years of George W. Bush’s war, realize in 2014 that hope and change was but a clever slogan. It was used to gain power and to keep it through promoting fear, war, the growth of the National Security state, and an autumnal bonfire of countless billions of tax dollars which fall like leaves from money trees on the banks of the Potomac.

Reprinted with permission from

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