Al-Kadhimi: Iraq Doesn’t Need US Combat Troops

 July 25, 2021

Iraq’s Prime Minister said that his country no longer requires US combat troops to fight “ISIS”.

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Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi

Ahead of a planned trip to Washington, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that “the US and Iraq agreed in April that the US transition to a train-and-advise mission meant the US combat role would end.”

During an interview for AP, al-Kadhimi said that “there is no need for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil. “

“Iraq’s security forces and army are capable of defending the country without US-led coalition troops”, he added.

Al-Kadhimi went on to say that “the war against ISIS and the readiness of our forces require a special timetable, and this depends on the negotiations that we will conduct in Washington.”

Furthermore, al-Kadhimi said that “Iraq is not Afghanistan, and the US withdrawal from Iraq is not comparable to its withdrawal from Afghanistan,” emphasizing that “Iraq has succeeded in gaining the trust of neighboring countries, and accordingly, it is working toward the stability of the region.”

Iraqi Prime Minister headed an official delegation to the United States on Sunday, to discuss US-Iraqi relations.

Before departing for Washington, al-Kadhimi affirmed that his visit comes within the framework of Iraq’s efforts to consolidate a close relationship with the US, stressing that “the visit culminates long efforts of intensive work during the strategic dialogue sessions period, to organize the security relations between the two countries in a way that serves Iraq’s interest.”

US sources did not rule out the possibility of Washington maintaining its military presence in Iraq at the current level. The New York Times quoted sources in the US Defense Department and the White House as saying that Washington could maintain its military forces in Iraq by reclassifying their roles on paper.

It is notable that on Thursday, an Iraqi delegation headed by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hussein Fuad arrived in Washington to meet with US officials.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during his meeting with his Iraqi counterpart that “we will discuss with the Iraqi delegation the fight against ISIS so that we can establish security and stability, which indicates close relations with Iraq.”

For his part, the Iraqi foreign minister said, “We are here to conduct dialogue and discussion with the American side,” hoping that the dialogue will “deepen the joint cooperation between Washington and Baghdad.”

Hussein added that “the premises of the dialogue are based on joint action, mutual respect, and cooperation in broad areas, including security, military, economic, energy, health, combating COVID-19, and many other fields.”


Iraqi Resistance Lambasts FM’s Remarks on Need for US Troops

 July 24, 2021

Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department (February 4, 2021 / photo by Reuters).

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein’s recent statements about the need for US forces in the Arab country have drawn strong criticism from anti-terror resistance groups and political leaders.

Speaking at a joint press conference alongside his American counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington on Friday, the Iraqi foreign minister said that Baghdad still required Washington’s help, and called for maintaining bilateral security cooperation.

“We need to work with the International Coalition, led by the United States, against the terrorists of Daesh,” Hussein alleged. “We need cooperation in the field of intelligence. We need help with training. We need troops to help us in the air.”

The comments came at a time when American and Iraqi officials are finalizing a shift in the US military mission in Iraq to what they call “a purely advisory role” by the end of the year.

Citing a US official and two people familiar with the matter, Politico reported on Thursday that the change is planned to be announced on Monday after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi meets with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

In response, the Iraqi Resistance Coordination Committee, which consists of representatives of anti-terror factions within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi, underlined the need for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.

In a statement carried by Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV channel, the committee warned that the meddling of foreign forces in Iraq’s security is meant to spy on the work of the country’s security agencies, adding that the mission of the US Air Force in Iraq is to defend the security of the Zionist regime and spy on the resistance.

“We stress the resistance’s conditions not to allow the presence of any foreign military personnel on Iraqi soil,” it added. “The pullout of foreign occupying forces from Iraq must be done completely from all Iraqi territory in order for the process to be real.”

The secretary general of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, a subdivision of Hashd al-Sha’abi, said FM Hussein’s remarks are “very unfortunate and unacceptable” for all Iraqis who are proud of their military and security institutions.

Ammar Hakim, Iraqi Shia cleric and head of National Wisdom Movement (Hikma), expressed hope that the Iraqi delegation’s talks with the US would take into account the country’s interests through their professional conduct.

Source: Press TV

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Does Resisting “Israel” and the US Benefit People of the Region?

22 Jul 21

Source: Al Mayadeen

Nassim Mansour

To address this issue, we need to breakdown a few key concepts to understand the interests of both the people and the governments in the region.

Does Resisting
Does Resisting “Israel” and the US Benefit People of the Region?

The answer to this question is the core focus in the ongoing media war between the Resistance Axis and the American-led Axis in the region.  All the countries that are within the Resistance Axis are facing dire economic difficulties, social divisions, and security issues (Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen). At a first glance, without digging too deep, one might ask that indeed, why not just make peace with “Israel” and the US and end all the chaos? Wouldn’t making peace end all the sanctions and economic pressure and make everyone’s lives easier? These are valid questions that young people in particular ask. To address this issue, we need to breakdown a few key concepts to understand the interests of both the people and the governments in the region.

Relationship between the West and the region

Let’s go back 100 years ago. The Ottoman empire that ruled the region for around 500 years was crumbling. This took place during the second industrial revolution in Europe. Cars, airplanes, ships, electricity, gas, oil, and communication systems were being created. The end of the Ottoman Empire led to the split of the region between France and Britain with the Sykes-Picot agreement. These events prevented various countries in the Middle East from engaging in the industrial revolution as their own independent nations. The owners of the technologies and the infrastructure builders were mainly France and Britain. They viewed the region as an investment for their own projects and a market for their industries. They built most of the region and became the main providers of various technological products. After World War 2, the Israeli entity was created by Western powers to be used as a foothold to project their power and protect their interests. Fast forward to the cold war, the leadership of the region was transferred from Britain and France to the United States of America. This was ratified in the 50’s with the creation of ARAMCO (Arabian-American Oil Company) and the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with Saudi Arabia, the Consortium Agreement of 1954 with Iran, which gives American, British, and French oil companies 40% ownership of the nationalized oil industry after overthrowing Mohammed Mosaddegh that nationalized the Britain-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and other similar type of deals across the region. The US became the main weapons provider for the armies in the region, including “Israel”. This was in exchange for natural resources and compliance with American national security interests. Because of “Israel’s” usurper nature and its history of instigating friction, the USA had to make sure that “Israel” always had the upper hand over the rest of its regional allies. As a result, “Israel” became the policeman of the region. As Joe Biden has said before; “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved”. By that time, the first world was engaging in the third industrial revolution (electronics, telecommunications, and computers).

Our region never took part in these industrial revolutions, as it relied on importing products and technologies from abroad rather than producing them. The capital required to import products and technologies coming from the sale of natural resources. With all this in mind, we can conclude that the relationship between the Middle East and the West is a relationship of “the buyer and supplier”. The West supplies technology, products, and armament while the region provides natural resources in return. This relationship exposes the region to extortion as it is unable to survive without foreign technology and products because it doesn’t have the industries or the knowledge. The Middle East region completely depends on the Americans and their allies to function. 

The Iranian revolution and independence

A major change came into the region with the Iranian Islamic revolution coming into play. Iran became the first country to break free from the “buyer and supplier” relationship by engaging in a local industrial revolution across many sectors, with the military sector being the most important one. Having an indigenous military industry is the key to true independence. It allows countries to truly rely on themselves for their security instead of relying on foreign powers that always impose conditions which limits sovereignty. 

Iran today creates its own vehicles, weapons, medicine, robots, satellites, food, energy, along with various other resources. Iran reverse-engineered what it could, sent students abroad to study technology and return to Iran with full knowledge and capability. The entire nation is engaged in being self-built. Iran is in the process of creating its own civilization, just like the US, China, and Russia are also doing. Any nation that breaks free from its client-status and elevates itself to self-sufficiency is seen as a threat to the United States’ dominance over markets across the globe. It is the reason why the US views China and Russia as enemies. 

The regional resistance

Regional resistance groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces were created by locals in response to the foreign Israeli and American invaders. Naturally, the only country that could supply them with weapons is Iran since its weapons are locally produced and not under the jurisdiction of the US like the rest of region. They also have the same interests as Iran, which is to break free from the American-Israeli hegemony. The initial stage in these resistance groups is always “The Armed-Struggle” which is necessary to their survival. 

The next stage of the resistance is working towards a revolutionary approach to gain independence from the foreign imposed buyer and supplier system. This quest for independence directly clashes with American security and economic interests in the region and the world. Given the buyer and supplier relationship between the US and the countries in the region, it automatically puts those countries in a collision course with Iran and any group or country that is seeking independence. Syria was one of the very few Arab countries that had local civilian industries – and they got intentionally dismantled by the NATO-backed mercenaries during the war; especially in Aleppo where thousands of factories were lost. 

The interest of the people

With the previous concepts in mind, we understand that the ultimate interest of any nation should be working towards as much self-sufficiency as its capability (utilizing the available resources it has, and working with other nations that are seeking the same goals). This is how nations contribute to humanity, share their cultures, and limit foreign powers from deciding their fate. 

Seeking these goals however comes at a great cost: the people must be ready to face sanctions and possible military actions. To limit the effect of sanctions, all the nations of the region that decide to take this path would have to fully co-operate with each other; to share resources and support each other. The region has enough natural and human resources to become independent from foreigners. A lot of sacrifices have to be made, but this is the key to long-term development, security, and prosperity. 

Role of the media

The media plays a large part in influencing and educating people about their own interests, which people are often unaware of. To achieve this revolution for independence, the people need to understand why they’re resisting “Israel” and the United States. Apart from the humanitarian and religious reasons, the ultimate goal of this resistance is to start the process of civilization and nation-building. The goal of the American hegemony is to prevent the rise of nations that will become future competitors in the international arena. There is still a big lack of awareness on such important subjects because the region is engulfed in religious, tribal, and ethnic wars. 

A lot of work needs to be done to raise awareness and to unite people towards these goals, which are way beyond religious, humanitarian, and justice considerations. These are goals that can unite the multi ethnic and multi religious region. It is definitely in the best interest of the people of the region to resist “Israel” and the United States. Although the revolution will take a long time, and although it comes at a great cost; if the revolution is achieved, the final outcome will be the rise of the Middle East and North Africa as global competitors.   The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Asaib Ahl Al-Haq: Iraqi Resistance Decided To Expel US Forces

18/07/2021

Asaib Ahl Al-Haq: Iraqi Resistance Decided To Expel US Forces

By Staff, Agencies

Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement said the Iraqi government is not entitled to keep any foreign forces in the country without the authorization of the country’s parliament, stressing that the American forces’ presence in Iraq runs counter to the Arab country’s constitution.

“The presence of American troops in Iraq is a clear violation of the Iraqi constitution,” Mahmoud al-Rubaie, spokesman of the resistance movement’s political bureau, told Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

“Furthermore, there is no agreement or approval for the presence of these forces in Iraq from the parliament of Iraq, as a country with a parliamentary system, and the government has no right to keep any foreign troops on the Iraqi soil without the consent of the parliament,” al-Rubaei said.

He pointed out that the incumbent Iraqi government has admitted, unlike previous governments, that the US forces are neither training nor advisory forces, but rather, they belong to the US Army’s Ground Force, who have committed a series of crimes in Iraq.

“Among the crimes committed by the American forces in Iraq, we can mention the biggest, which is the martyrdom of the commanders of victory,” al-Rubaei said.

He was making a reference to the US assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander, General Qassem Soleimani, along with deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Units [PMU], Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, at Baghdad International Airport in January 2020, after which Iraq’s Parliament passed a law demanding the expulsion of all US-led forces.

The spokesman said that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, in his upcoming visit to Washington, would pursue the US military’s withdrawal from Iraq.

He also termed the strategic talks between Baghdad and Washington as “useless”, saying such recurring talks are aimed at prolonging the US occupation forces’ stay on the Iraqi soil, which contradicts the parliament’s law and the will of the Iraqi nation.

“We believe that the Americans will leave Iraq in the near future,” al-Rubaei continued, “because the Islamic Resistance has made its decision to confront them, and this decision was made after the failure of all efforts and the end of all chances given to the Americans and the current Iraqi government for diplomatic and political moves to rid Iraq of these forces.”

He expressed hopes that public pressure and efforts made by resistance groups and some political movements would drive the Iraqi government to publicly demand the withdrawal of US forces.

“We have no request but this from the government, despite the fact it has been long overdue,” the spokesman added.

The US, under both administrations of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, has repeatedly targeted the positions of Iraqi resistance forces, who played a significant role in defeating Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorist group.

Biden’s first military strike abroad was against the PMU forces at the Iraqi-Syrian border back in February, only a month into his presidency. Biden also ordered airstrikes against the headquarters of the 14th Brigade of the PMU, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, along Iraq and Syria’s common border last month.

Some 3,500 foreign troops, including 2,500 Americans, are still in Iraq, with the alleged aim of preventing the re-emergence of Daesh in the Arab country.

Observers, however, say Washington’s targeting of resistance forces is aimed at reviving Daesh and, in turn, prolonging its illegal occupation of Iraq under the pretext of fighting the terrorist group.

Such a US military presence also exists in Syria, where the Pentagon’s mission is not coordinated with the Damascus government, and while there is no clear timetable for withdrawal.

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Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents

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July 15, 2021

Philip Giraldi

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

For the second time the president has ordered a US bombing raid on two targets in Syria, and for the first time, he also attacked a site inside Iraq. According to one report possibly as many as seven Iraqis died in the attacks which targeted alleged weapons storage facilities along the Syria-Iraq border belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias. The US claims that the two Iraqi militias have ties to Iran, which may be more than usually true because the Iraqis and Iranians have cooperated regularly in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon also claims that the militias were behind recent attacks on American targets, see more below.

After the attacks carried out by US fighter-bombers, the excuse provided was the same one employed after Biden’s first air attack in February, namely that the US, as described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added verbiage what has now become a regular feature of all US military actions, that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.” For those who are intrigued by Pentagon newspeak the expression “defensive precision airstrikes” must be considered as a new entry in the crowded field of phrases that largely have no meaning.

The strikes were framed as being retaliatory, but the most interesting aspect of this latest bombing is that the initial US government justifications for the action were on somewhat tentative. Reportedly, someone had used drones with explosives attached for mostly night-time attacks directed “against places where Americans were located in Iraq,” which were further described as including diplomatic, intelligence and military facilities. The Pentagon refers to the drones as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAVs. No Americans were killed in the alleged attacks and there were no reports of any substantial damage, though the Pentagon is apparently collecting information and preparing a comprehensive report which the public undoubtedly will not be allowed to see.

Oddly, the initial media reporting on what had occurred and who had been blamed for it included a weasel word, “suspected.” In government-speak that frequently means there was little or no evidence that the militias that had been targeted were actually the perpetrators, but it is convenient to assume that they are responsible, making them “suspects.” After all, it is relatively easy to transport a number of drones on the bed of a pickup truck, drive with it to a location where one is unlikely to be observed and then release them at a fixed target. Even if you don’t hit anything, you will spread fear and trigger a response that might well be exploited to vilify the occupying forces. You will also provide justification for your own retaliation.

The Iraqi government, which was not informed in advance of the US bombings, not surprisingly reacted strongly, registering its opposition to such activity on the part of its so-called ally, though occupier has been suggested as a more appropriate description. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office called the airstrikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” After the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport in January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had called for the departure of all US forces, but the Trump Administration ignored the demand, claiming that it was in Iraq to help the Iraqis in their fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The US currently has a claimed 2,500 soldiers in Iraq who, it asserts, are in country advising and training their local counterparts. Meanwhile, “Fighting terrorists and training friendly forces” is roughly the same excuse that has been used to justify remaining in neighboring Syria, where the US has deployed roughly 500 soldiers who have been taking possession of the production of the country’s oil fields, which it then provides to Israel. The US is also, by the way, trying to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government in Damascus, using some of the very terrorists it claims to be fighting to do the job, but that is of course another story.

If the United States government is beginning to sound a bit like the Israeli government that should surprise no one, as Israel is clearly heavily involved in whatever on goes vis-à-vis Syria and Iran directly and in Iraq by proxy. One almost expects new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to provide an endorsement, parroting the Pentagon line as well as his own country’s rhetoric, saying “the US has a right to defend itself.” Of course, the unasked question then becomes “to defend itself against what?” Israel was at least able to pretend that there was some kind of threat coming from Gaza since the two share a border, but the United States would be hard pressed to explain why it has soldiers in Syria and Iraq at all, particularly since the Iraqi government has called upon them to depart.

A neocon journalist supportive of a global crusade to spread “democracy” once quipped that the nice thing about having an empire is never having to say you are sorry, but that has not meant that mindless acts of violence inflicted throughout the Middle East are have been consequence free. One has to suspect in this case that the use of force to include a target within the borders of a nominal ally was also mostly intended to send a signal to Iran. A Pentagon spokesman ironically boasted afterwards that “This action should send a message to Iran that it cannot hide behind its proxy forces to attack the United States and our Iraqi partners.” The spokesman appears to be oblivious to the fact that it was Iraqi militiamen tied to the government that had been killed, not Iranians. And his assumption that it would reduce the level of violence also proved wrong as there have been a number of new drone, rocket and mortar attacks against American targets in Iraq since Biden’s “defensive precision airstrikes” were launched. One of the militias that lost fighters to the US airstrikes, said it would “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs.”  Another Iranian supported group, the Popular Mobilization Forces went further, threatening to “enter an open war with the American occupation.” In short, all the attacks really accomplished was to anger the Iraqi people over the continued US presence and to guarantee more incidents.

Biden’s “sending a message to Iran” would undoubtedly be intended to do the same to the Iraqi government, telling them that drawing any closer to the Iranians is too close as far as the Pentagon and White House are concerned. In terms of the timing of the airstrikes, it is also important to note that the US has been working closely with the new Israeli government to establish a unified policy on Iranian “regional aggression” and its nuclear program. Biden met recently with retiring Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been having discussions with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. Iran was the focus of both meetings.

So, Joe Biden and whoever is advising him are continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy. The problem with the meddling in the Middle East is primarily that it permits no exit strategy. It will end ignominiously when it ends as is happening in Afghanistan, without any remorse and little to show for all the expense and the deaths. Given that reality, rather than concoct largely fabricated reasons to keep US troops in Iraq and Syria the Administration should be looking for ways to end the torment for everyone involved.

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Red Alert in Iraq… Time for the U.S. to Decide

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amro@amrobilal.net), is an independent Palestinian writer and Political researcher. He writes for various Arabic news outlets, some of which are Al-Akhbar newspaperAl-Mayadeen Satellite News ChannelArabi 21, and Rai Al-Youm, and UPROOTED PALESTINIANS

July 15, 2021

By Amro Allan

‘President Joe Biden may be nearly done with America’s two-decade military involvement in Afghanistan, but another nearby war zone, where U.S. troops have been based for almost as long, is threatening to become a major thorn in the White House’s side: Iraq’, says Foreign Policy in its Situation Report on July 8, 2021, entitled ‘Red Alert in Iraq’. This comes after two fairly heated weeks in Iraq and Syria, where an escalation in the resistance groups operations against American troops was noticeable, both in frequency and in nature.

For instance, on Wednesday, July 7, 14 rockets hit Ain al-Assad Air Base, the largest military installation in Iraq housing U.S. troops, wounding at least two American soldiers. Another suicide drone attack, a day before, targeted U.S. forces based in Erbil airport, not far from where the U.S. consulate is located. Also, there were multiple improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against convoys transporting U.S. military logistic supplies, that took place in various Iraqi towns and cities in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Syria, U.S. occupation forces were busy fending off suicide drone and rocket attacks targeting al-Omar oilfield and nearby areas. Al-Omar oilfield is the largest in the country, and It is invested with both the U.S. forces and their collaborators  the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

No American soldiers have been killed in these recent intense activities in Iraq and Syria. However, Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, explains ‘It’s already very intense. The strikes aren’t killing people, but they could, easily, if they want them to’, and he adds ‘The missile defences are quietly working quite well. But what we haven’t seen is determined efforts to kill Americans’.

Many analysts consider this escalation a retaliation for the second round of U.S. airstrikes under Biden’s administration on June 27. Those airstrikes used the pretext ‘Iran-backed militia’, although in reality, they targeted a static Iraqi-Syrian border position of the Iraqi security forces (Popular Mobilisation Forces) under Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, killing four members of brigade 14 of the PMF.

While agreeing with this analysis in principle, I believe widening the scope would put the latest events in the broader context they deserve.

It is quite clear that Biden’s administration’s main foreign policy strategy, and indeed the U.S. establishment’s attitude in general of late, is to concentrate its overseas efforts on opposing the rise of China and Russia:  what Biden dubbed defending and strengthening democracy. This focus shift first took shape during Obama’s days in 2012 with his (unsuccessful) ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy and it has remained in principal a U.S. foreign policy objective since. But this shift naturally requires an improved allocation of U.S. resources.

Thus, when Biden came to power, he followed in the steps of his two predecessors in aiming to disengage from the ‘Middle East’ and West Asia in general as much as possible.

As the QUINCY Paper No. 7 entitled ‘Nothing Much to Do: Why America Can Bring All Troops Home From the Middle East’, published on June 24, 2021, poses the question ‘Three successive American Presidents — Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden — have pledged to end the post 9/11 wars and reunite U.S. soldiers with their families.

Yet, fulfilling that pledge has proven tougher than expected. Do U.S. interests in the region require so much of the U.S. military that full-scale withdrawals are not feasible?’. The paper argued that ‘the United States has no compelling military need to keep a permanent troop presence in the Middle East.

The two core U.S. interests in the region — preventing a hostile hegemony and ensuring the free flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz — can be achieved without a permanent military presence. There are no plausible paths for an adversary, regional or extra-regional, to achieve a situation that would harm these core U.S. interests. No country can plausibly establish hegemony in the Middle East, nor can a regional power close the Strait of Hormuz and strangle the flow of oil. To the extent that the United States might need to intervene militarily, it would not need a permanent military presence in the region to do so’.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, to be presumably fully completed by September 2021, was the first manifestation of Biden’s drawdown policy from West Asia. However, when it came to Iraq and Syria, the equations were quite different.

Despite Biden’s pledge to return to the JCPOA in his election campaign, there was an assessment that was widely spread between Iranian officials which says that the Biden administration would capitalise on Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy to extract concessions from Iran, before re-joining the JCPOA. Those concessions are related to two aspects:

  • Change in Iran’s foreign policy, especially its support for resistance groups in the region. This is to  the benefit of the Zionist entity, which remains a core influence on U.S. foreign policy.
  • Imposing restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles programme.

This American approach became apparent after Biden took office, and during the latest Vienna talks to salvage the nuclear deal. However, contrary to Biden’s false assumptions, the Americans found out that Iran will not give them any concessions, and that it meant what it said when Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei stated back in 2015 ‘We negotiated with the U.S. on the nuclear issue for specific reasons. The Americans performed well in the talks, but we didn’t and we won’t allow negotiation with the Americans on other issues’.

This has put the Americans in a quandary. Biden found that he could not withdraw from Iraq and Syria without getting guarantees from Iran and the Axis of Resistance related to the security of the Zionist entity, as the Axis of Resistance will never offer any guarantees at the expense of the Palestinians’ inalienable rights. Nor could Biden maintain the same level of American involvement in the ‘Middle East’ indefinitely. As this would be at the expense of the main U.S. foreign policy strategy, “Facing the Chinese challenge”, according to the terminology the  U.S. uses.

Furthermore, this American quandary has deepened after the battle of the ‘Sword of Jerusalem’ exposed many of the Zionist Entity’s [Israel]  weaknesses tactically and strategically in the face of the Axis of Resistance.

Based on this overview, we can expect a fairly heated summer for the U.S. occupation forces in the region, as from the Axis of Resistance point of view, the negotiations for the American withdrawal from the ‘Middle East’ and West Asia in general are not open-ended.

And it seems that the U.S. needs a nudge to decide whether: to start a meaningful and peaceful drawdown, with minimal losses; or risk a new ‘Middle East’ all-out war by trying to impose its sovereign will on the whole region.

And I believe, based on the Americans’ experience of the past two decades, that the consensus within the U.S. institutes is that the latter option would be highly costly. Not to mention that based on the current balance of powers in the region, as we read them, the outcome is not guaranteed to be in the favour of the U.S., nor in the favour of  “Israel” its closest ally.

We’re integrating entire Resistance Axis to prepare for war with Israel: Nasrallah

July 12, 2021

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Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks about the tireless efforts today to integrate the entire ‘Axis of Resistance’ such that it be prepared to collectively enter a regional war with Israel if it ‘threatens al-Quds’.

The ‘Resistance Axis’ broadly refers to a strategic anti-Israel/anti-US imperialist alliance composed of, but not limited to, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi, Yemen’s Ansarullah, and various Palestinian armed factions.

Source: Spot Shot (You Tube Channel)

Date: July 5, 2021

(Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations by contributing a small monthly amount here )

Transcript:

Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah:

I want to personally request from you (to exert) special efforts to help consolidate the new regional equation which we are proposing i.e. the regional equation to protect the Holy City (i.e. al-Quds/Jerusalem). The resistance in Gaza wanted to (establish the equation of) the resistance of Gaza (fighting) for the sake of al-Quds. We wish to (establish the equation of) the entire region (ready to enter a conflict for) the sake of al-Quds, and for protecting al-Quds.

These words are neither for media consumption, nor for scoring points. We have never done this in the past, nor are we doing this now. (This new equation) is a serious and real project which one can take as fact. Today it can be taken as fact (i.e. as in effect, applicable), even if nothing has translated on the ground yet. When the Zionists become convinced – and they are now convinced – that threatening the Holy City and threatening the Muslim and Christian sanctities in the Holy City will lead to a regional war, they will reconsider (the situation) and count to one million before taking any such steps. The mere launching (i.e. announcing) of this equation is capable of imposing (certain) rules of deterrence. What would then be the case if we worked to consolidate this equation, or rather, to translate it (into reality) in the near or not-too-distant future?

For this equation, we are (currently) working on integrating the elements of power of the Axis of Resistance, (that of its) states, governments, movements, and peoples. We are spending the nights in meetings to coordinate, communicate, study, set forth plans, drawing up the various possible scenarios and plans, (scenario) A, B, etc…This, however, also requires the shaping of a new (form of) public opinion, as we exit the difficult phase of the past ten years. We need a new (form of) public opinion.

Had we been talking about an equation to protect any other geographic region in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, or Yemen, the idea of a regional equation may not be very much accepted by many of our peoples. However, when we talk about the Holy City which concerns everyone, when we talk about the City of the sanctities that concerns all peoples of the (Arab and Muslim) nation, and all states and governments of this nation, and all the free people of the world, and all followers of the divine religions throughout the world, then this idea (of setting forth this new regional equation) ought to be accepted and appreciated (by the peoples of this nation), and (the idea) must have a solid ground which we (ourselves) must work seriously (to establish). This requires an intense effort in the coming stage.

Changes Are Looming on the Horizon: What Is America Preparing For the Region?

July 7, 2021

Changes Are Looming on the Horizon: What Is America Preparing For the Region?

By Ali Abadi

Are black clouds gathering over the region? Are we headed back to the days of Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] in Iraq and Syria in 2014 and the internal cracks in other Arab countries in 2011?

Here are some indicators that warn of new challenges:

– A tangible return to sabotage activities by Daesh in Iraq came in the form of sporadic bombings in Baghdad, daily attacks on Iraqi forces in the Anbar, Salah al-Din, Nineveh, and Diyala provinces, and the bombing of several transmission towers, which exacerbated the electricity crisis in Iraq.

In addition, there is a chronic quest to inflame the internal situation in Iraq before the legislative elections expected to be held next fall. The US administration and its assets in Iraq are exploiting a number of factors to re-establish a comfortable parliamentary majority. These factors include the worsening electricity crisis during the hot summer and the value of the Iraqi currency, which is plummeting against the US dollar, leading to higher prices.

There is a gasoline crisis in the oil-rich country [a peculiar similarity with the situation in Lebanon]. Meanwhile, the United States has not offered Iraq anything to solve its chronic problems, such as the electricity problem. Instead, Washington is preventing the German company Siemens from obtaining contracts to carry out this task, according to Iraqi sources.

This is accompanied by Washington’s refusal to withdraw its forces from Iraq and Syria. The declared objective of this occupying presence is to exert pressure for regime change in Syria – exploiting the economic blockade is the main tool in this operation. The American military presence is also designed to act as a dam between Iran and the establishment of normal relations with the countries of the region. However, there are implicit goals, including controlling the future of Iraq and Syria and their hidden wealth and establishing permanent American bases in the region.

– There is a strong resurgence of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, as it now controls 70% of the Afghan territory, including those that were considered centers for Tajiks and Hazaras in the north of the country. This development coincided with the accelerated US withdrawal, which left the Afghan government in limbo, with little backing.

The new situation in Afghanistan can cause political and security agitation for each of the three players that challenge American influence internationally: Iran, Russia, and China. And each of these countries has its own concerns and grievances in dealing with Afghanistan, the Taliban, or groups that appeal to an extremist religious authority. Also, in the three countries, religious or ethnic groups can cause headaches due to the resurgence of the Taliban. Is the US withdrawal merely an American electoral necessity, or does it contain an element of distraction for the three mentioned countries?

Afghanistan and Iraq, by the way, were targets of an American invasion in 2001 and 2003, which opened the door to major storms in the region, the effects of which are still being felt today. However, there is an important difference between the two countries. In Iraq, there is a strong dam against the re-expansion of Daesh. This dam is Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi [or the Popular Mobilization Forces] that stands steadfast in the face of American efforts to dismantle and disrupt it, while its positions on the border between Iraq and Syria are exposed to US raids from time to time.

– In addition to the two worrying security developments in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing siege on Syria to bring about a change in the hierarchy of power, there is an American effort to capitalize on the financial siege on Lebanon to impose the guardianship of the International Monetary Fund on the country as the only one option.

The US is taking advantage of the existing corruption and its local tools to provoke people’s anger and direct it mainly towards the resistance, with the aim of changing the political equation in the upcoming parliamentary elections in a few months. The anti-resistance propaganda is based on the idea that Hezbollah is protecting the corrupt, a claim that has not been proven in practice [did the party prevent a judge from prosecuting a corrupt person, for example?]. That’s unless the party is required to open side battles that further complicate matters and weaken the country’s internal immunity in the face of a lurking enemy.

– On the Palestinian side, features appeared to bring back former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad [the trusted American option] to the fore, in conjunction with an intense Egyptian presence in the Gaza Strip through the gateway of reconstruction and the establishment of calm. This comes after the last round of confrontation [the al-Quds Sword], which tilted the scales in favor of the resistance and placed al-Quds at the heart of the existing equation.

We are facing an American counterattack: a withdrawal here, a strengthening of military presence there, and economic and political pressures to impose ready-made American models in the Levant: Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. But the United States is not in the days of 2001-2003. Attempts to subjugate by sowing discord and employing ready-made American models will not change the fact that US influence is waning and is dependent on starvation and despair, not enticement, as in the American dream.

There is a counter opportunity to take advantage of the blockade in order to create new facts outside the closed game that the American tools contributed to creating. Perhaps we are beginning to perceive this by opening new supply channels to Lebanon and others, as well as strengthening the advanced al-Quds equation.

Sayyed Nasrallah: US Has Major Role in Destroying Lebanon, Its Economy

06/07/2021

By Zeinab Essa

Beirut – Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Monday a speech in the opening session of “Palestine Emerges Victorious” Conference, held by the National Media Gathering.

Sayyed Nasrallah: US Has Major Role in Destroying Lebanon, Its Economy

In his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted the role of the media rhetoric behind displaying and conveying the ongoing events.

“The advancement of media confrontation is a must, just like the advancement of the military confrontation,” His Eminence stressed, noting that “Had it not been for the victory of the resistance, one of the black strife’s goals was to make the Palestinian cause a forgotten matter.”

He further underscored the importance of confronting the US-“Israeli” front by saying: “When confronting the ‘Israeli’ occupation and the American hegemony, we cannot divide this confrontation.”

“The US hegemony turned all resources in the region to serve the ‘Israeli’ enemy’s interests,” Sayyed Nasrallah clarified, pointing out that “The Zionist entity’s both existence and arrogance rely on the US support.”

According to the Resistance Leader, “We’re facing the US hegemony and its occupation of Iraq, its attacks against the Hashd Al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] and its occupation of eastern Syria.”

“The media rhetoric of the Axis of Resistance is based on the right of the Palestinian people in their land, and the Syrian people in the occupied Golan Heights,” His Eminence mentioned.

Hailing the efforts of the Resistance’s media, he underlined that “We find the standards of righteousness in the Palestinian Cause and in the media rhetoric of the Axis of Resistance.”

“The resistance media relies on the victories of the Axis of Resistance and this axis’ imposing the rules of engagement on ‘Israel’ and the US,” Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized, praising the fact that “The resistance’s media contributed to making victory by relying on facts, studies and researches.”

To the enemy, His Eminence said: “We’re fully aware of the points of the enemy’s weakness, from which we can triumph against it.”

On this level, he stressed that “In our psychological warfare, we didn’t rely on illusions or lies as one of the most important elements of the resistance’s strength is not exaggerating the goals.”

“Among the most important points of strength the Axis of Resistance possesses is honesty in reporting news and facts,” His Eminence elaborated, pointing out that “There is a great development in the capabilities of the axis of resistance.”

In parallel, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted that “The enemy today trusts the media of the resistance more than it believes its leaders, this is thanks to the credibility of our media.”

Listing some aspects of the Resistance’s media honesty, His Eminence stated: “The Resistance promised to liberate the land and fulfilled its promise, and promised to release the detainees and so it did. The Resistance in Palestine promised to defend al-Quds and so it did.”

He went on to say: “The popular basis of the Axis of Resistance are ideologically and religiously diverse, but they are united by al-Quds, the sanctities and the unjustness against the Palestinian people.”

“Within the Resistance media, there are experts and innovations despite the lack of the suitable [resources] the other media outlets are being provided with,” Sayyed Nasrallah underscored, noting that “The achievements made by the Resistance media in the last decades is a major thing upon which things should be based to develop more.”

According to His Eminence: “The popular base of the Resistance needs a media rhetoric that interacts with them wherever they are, and with which they can also interact.”

“Social media participated in making the resistance’s victories,” he viewed, noting that “The enemy can take down satellite channels, but not social media platforms, so we must take advantage of them.”

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah predicted that “‘Israel’ will reconsider its calculations when it gets convinced that its threatening of Islamic and Christian holy sites will lead to a regional war.”

“When the Palestinians were displaying the victories in Operation al-Quds Sword, which were admitted by the world and the Zionist, some Arab satellite channels were concentrating on the images of sorrow and sufferings,” he added.

In response, the Resistance Leader underlined that “The resistance’s rhetoric and strategy of the new deterrence equation must be adopted and established, which is that al-Quds is in exchange for the entire region.”

Urging the resistance media to exchange experiences and expertise so that they take advantage of social media platforms, Sayyed Nasrallah explained that “The enemy bans some satellite channels and blocks some websites due to its influence.”

“The enemy could ban some satellite channels, but it could not stop social media platforms; this is why we should take advantage of them,” he said, noting that “There is a media warfare against the Resistance, for which billions of dollars are dedicated to distort the image of the Resistance.”

According to His Eminence, “There should be a media plan to confront fabrications and fake news being published by some sides, especially regarding the cause of Palestine and al-Quds.”

“Developing the media rhetoric of the Resistance must be convenient with the regional transformations and threats,” he stated, advising the resistance axis to “revise the language of our rhetoric and literature based on the major achievements.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that “Those setting conspiracies for the region aim at keeping people busy making their living, and this is happening indeed. The reason behind the ongoing conspiracies is to remain busy from supporting Palestine.”

Moving to the internal front, His Eminence explained that “The governmental crisis in Lebanon is a result of the regime crisis.”

“We have to work on two parallel tracks; the first is to work upon Lebanon’s crises, and the second is not to stay busy from what is happening to the nation,” he said.

As His Eminence reiterated that “The US bans any aid to solve the crisis in Lebanon; this is to serve the ‘Israeli’ enemy,” he wondered: “Isn’t the US administration the side behind banning Lebanese banks from bringing their cash from outside the country?”

Sayyed Nasrallah also slammed some Lebanese people who fear being blacklisted by the US: “The fear being blacklisted by the US while the entire country is heading to death.”

“The goal behind the American blockade is to provoke the Lebanese people and the people of Resistance against it,” he said, pointing out that “The US Embassy in Lebanon is partner in the collapse of the Lebanese currency.”

On this level, His Eminence emphasized that “Wrong policies are among the reasons behind the crisis in Lebanon, but the US is the main reason because it is a partner of the corrupt.”

Denouncing the US ambassador “who is shedding crocodile tears over the Lebanese,” Sayyed Nasrallah underscored that “Major companies want to invest in Lebanon without costing the Lebanese state anything, but they are being told “No” because some are afraid of the Americans.”

On another level, Sayyed Nasrallah lamented the fact that the defendants in the Beirut Port Blast issue learned their names in the case through media outlets

Rejecting the political blackmail in Beirut port blast case, he wondered whether the investigation is a true judicial work or a political targeting. “Justice is still distant and the truth is still concealed,” he said, announcing that the coming days are decisive regarding the new government.

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Massive Blasts Hit US Base in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor

05/07/2021

Massive Blasts Hit US Base in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor

By Staff, Agencies

The United States occupation’s biggest military base in Syria has been hit by a number of “massive” explosions, according to reports.

The blasts rocked the outpost located in Syria’s al-Omar Oilfield in the Arab country’s eastern Deir Ez-Zor province, the reports said on Sunday.

In further details, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network cited Syrian sources which described the blasts as “successive” explosions.

Additionally, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, also told Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV that the oilfield had been hit by a number of rockets.

Meanwhile, Russia Today Arabic quoted Farhad Shami, head of the Office of Media and Information for the US-backed so-called Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] terrorist group, as saying “two rockets” had landed on the western periphery of the oilfield.

Other reports, however, claimed that the blasts were caused as a result of “training” activity taking place among foreign forces there.

Washington led scores of its allies as part of the coalition into the Arab country and neighboring Iraq in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group].

Various reports and regional officials, however, provided evidence of the coalition’s role in relocating Daesh’s elements about in both the countries.

In Syria, the United States has been trying to keep a tight control over certain strategic areas, including the eastern oilfield, where it is engaged in large-scale theft of the country’s crude oil.

The Iraqi parliament and the Syrian government have both ruled the US-led coalition’s operation in the countries as illegal.

This is not the first time the American occupation forces come under attack in either country.

The latest of the attacks to target the occupation forces in Syria came on June 28 after US President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes along Iraq and Syria’s common border.

American warplanes struck one location in Iraq and two in Syria, with the Pentagon alleging the targets to be “facilities” used by Iraqi resistance groups to stage drone attacks on American interests.

According to Iraq’s Sabereen News, four Iraqi fighters were martyred in the attack on the headquarters of the 14th Brigade of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, also known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi anti-terror umbrella organization, which features some resistance groups. A reporter with state-run SANA news agency also said the offensive had claimed the life of one child and injured three others.

The Iraqi groups vowed to retaliate for the atrocity following the American aerial attacks.

من كابول إلى بغداد مفاوضات الجلاء تحت النار

 محمد صادق الحسيني

أصوات عالية بدأت تسمع في واشنطن مفادها بأن بايدن رئيس ضعيف وأنّ إيران تستغلّ ضعفه لإخراجنا من كل من أفغانستان والعراق، كما جاء على لسان السيناتور الجمهوري في الكونغرس الأميركي ليندسي غراهام والذي صرّح بالحرف الواحد:

“الإيرانيون يبذلون جهداً لإخراجنا من العراق وأفغانستان ليسيطروا على هذين البلدين، كما يسعون لصناعة قنبلة نوويّة ويبحثون عن تدمير إسرائيل”.

 أضاف: “إنني لم أقلق يوماً كما أقلق الآن من إمكانية نشوب حرب بين إيران وإسرائيل”.

من جهة أخرى، فإنّ كلّ التقارير الميدانية الواردة من أفغانستان والعراق وإنْ بشكل متفاوت ومختلف، تفيد بأنّ واشنطن يتقلص نفوذها هناك وهي في طريقها للرحيل صاغرة أمام تحوّلات البلدين المتسارعة نحو التحرّر من الهيمنة الأميركية.

وهذا قانون من قوانين السنن الكونية بعد خسارة الأميركيين كل معاركهم ضدّ هذين البلدين كما ضدّ شعوب المنطقة.

في المقابل، فإنّ هذا لا يعني سقوط أميركا وهزيمتها الكاملة، والأهمّ إقرارها هي بهذه الحقيقة.

بل إنّ ثمة ما يشي بذهاب واشنطن الى خطط جديدة تقيها دفع الأثمان الباهظة نتيجة هذا الانسحاب بالإكراه ولو مؤقتاً…!

ففي أفغانستان ظلت واشنطن لفترة طويلة تحشد حوالي هذا البلد الإسلامي (جمهوريّات الاتحاد السوفياتيّ السابقة) بمجموعات من المسلّحين الإرهابيين من داعش والقاعدة في مناورة مكشوفة لإشعال حروب اثنية تجعل الاستقرار في هذا البلد الذي يمثل الكوريدور الحيوي شمال – جنوب، صعب المنال ليس فقط للأفغان، بل وأيضاً لإعدائها وتحويل هذا الطريق لكلّ من روسيا وإيران بمثابة حزام ناري يلفّ كلّ الحيّز الحيوي الجيوبوليتيكي لهذين البلدين الصاعدين دولياً الى جانب الصين.

هذا كما لجأت واشنطن مؤخراً الى حارس مرمى الناتو الجنوبي ومخلبها المتقدّم أردوغان لتسليم أمن مطار كابول أولاً ومن ثم المدينة أيضاً (حسب ما جاء في محادثات بايدن وأردوغان في بروكسل أثناء قمة الناتو) ربما في مقدّمة لإحداث قاعدة عسكريّة هناك لهم كما هي الحالة في قطر والصومال (علماً انّ هناك الآن نحو 500 جندي تركي في أفغانستان)، على افتراض ان تتحوّل هذه المعادلة الأمنية الجديدة بمثابة التفاف جديد للناتو حول رقبة كلّ من إيران شرقاً وموسكو جنوباً والصين غرباً…!

في ما يخص العراق تحاول واشنطن أن ترمي بالعراق الجديد الذي تؤكده كلّ حقائق الجغرافيا والتاريخ بمثابة الجار الطبيعي الحليف لإيران، بمثابة حلقة “إبراهيمية” في تحالف “شامي” مزيّف مع كلّ من الأردن ومصر، لترميه في غياهب اللاهوية واللا قرار، غصباً عن أهله وطبيعته الناصعة في الانتماء العربي والإسلامي المقاوم.

ولما كانت تظنّ كما في أفغانستان أنها في طريقها لفقدان نفوذها المباشر وعليها الرحيل في أقرب الآجال فهي تحاول من خلال تعطيل او الإخلال في الانتخابات المقبلة بهدف الإبقاء على بقايا من بقاياها في نسيج السلطة!

إنّ واشنطن تعرف تماماً أنّ موازين القوى العالمية والإقليمية الجديدة تتحدث على أرض الواقع بأنّ وجودها في بحارنا وأراضينا لم يعد مقبولاً، وانّ عليها الرحيل، وهي تحزم حقائبها في إطار دفع هذا الثمن، لكن دفع هذا الثمن بالأقساط وتحت النار، نار الفتن الإثنية والمذهبيّة، وإشغال قوى محور المقاومة وأصدقائنا من الروس والصينيين في معارك جانبية عديدة لمنعهم من ملء الفراغ…!

وقد أتت معركة سيف القدس الأخيرة بمثابة إضافة نوعية مهمة ليس فقط في رفع قدرات محور المقاومة في موازين القوى العالميّة والإقليمية، بل وفي تخفيض وزن العدو “الإسرائيلي” لدى واشنطن أيضاً وليس فقط بالمقارنة مع قوّتنا الصاعدة، ما يجعل واشنطن أكثر حماساً في الرحيل السريع، وأكثر إحجاماً عن الدخول في حروب جديدة منعاً لاستنزاف قواتها في حروب لم تعد مضمونة كما كانت في القرن الماضي…!

ما يجري في لبنان وسورية من ضغوط عالية جداً في مجال التضييق على أهلنا في الغذاء والدواء والمحروقات، ومحاولة وقف عجلة إعادة البناء او التسريع في الانهيارات الاقتصادية، إنما يتمّ بشكل ممنهج ومنظم من قبل عملاء وأدوات أميركا من كارتيلات وحيتان مال وبقايا أمراء حروب، تلعب في الوقت الضائع لصالح سيدها، الى حين تنتهي معركة التفاوض بين إيران وأميركا وروسيا والصين مع أميركا، تحت النار، لا أكثر ولا أقلّ…!

عملية العدوان الغادر على مقار الحشد الشعبي على الحدود العراقية السورية، بأمر من بايدن شخصياً، جاءت لخدمة السياسة الآنفة الذكر وفي رسالة ردع يائسة لمنع العراق من الالتحاق بمعركة “الحرب الإقليميّة من أجل القدس” القادمة لا محالة.

وفي هذا السياق لا فرق إن تمّ التوافق بين طهران وواشنطن في فيينا أو ذهبت الأمور الى نهاياتها المسدودة وهو الأرجح، وكذلك لا فرق أن تعزّز توافق بوتين وبايدن للحفاظ على التوازن الاستراتيجي الذي تمّ في جنيف مؤخراً، أو عاد الطرفان الى تسعير الحرب الباردة بينهما من جديد، فالأمر سيان.

ففي كلتا الحالتين فإنّ المرحلة الانتقالية هذه ستظلّ سائدة الى حين، وأنّ نهاياتها لا بدّ منتهية بنصر وانفراج كبيرين لمحور المقاومة المنتصر.

والمعسكر المهزوم ليس أمامه سوى عدّ أيامه المتبقية في المنطقة بانتظار ترتيبات المغادرة والانسحاب من دون شك أو ترديد.

إنهم راحلون لأنهم طارئون ونحن الباقون لأننا أصحاب الأرض والحق، والسنن الكونية الواضحة والجازمة تعمل كما يجب، وهي في هذه الحالة لصالحنا وهي التي تقطع بأنّ المنهزم عليه دفع الثمن، وانّ المنتصر هو من يحدّد شروط الهزيمة والإذعان، وليس العكس.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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Iraq’s Nujaba Urges Supporting Resistance in Push to Restore Country’s Sovereignty

29/06/2021

Iraq’s Nujaba Urges Supporting Resistance in Push to Restore Country’s Sovereignty

By Staff, Agencies

Iraq’s al-Nujaba Movement, part of the Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] or better known by the Arabic name as Hashd al-Shaabi, has called on all Iraqi institutions to throw their weight behind the resistance to restore the country’s sovereignty.

Nujaba Secretary General Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi issued the call on Tuesday, one day after US warplanes targeted three locations belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi in the border town of al-Qaim in Iraq’s western Anbar Province.

The US strike killed four Iraqi fighters who were performing their duties of preventing the infiltration of Daesh [Arabic for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorists from Syria into Iraq.

Kaabi “invited all the military institutions to support the resistance in restoring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and promised the evil occupiers that military resistance would have the final say on the battlefield and make Iraq proud.”

He also noted that the US targeting of the 14th Hashd al-Shaabi Brigade “proved that the [current] foolish US government is following in the footsteps of the former ignorant administration.”

“The evil occupiers should know that martyrdom is our path and we have performed the ablution of martyrdom in our burial shrouds for the great battle,” Kaabi said, stressing that the political strategy seeking the expulsion of US occupation forces has failed.

“Until the complete liberation of Iraq from your evil [presence], we will not retreat, we will not give up and we will respond twofold to any attack,” he warned the Americans.

The Nujaba chief further thanked the officials in charge of Iraqi checkpoints for facilitating the passage of the resistance fighters.

He also criticized the mercenaries who slander about pro-resistance individuals and institutions, saying, “Their prosecution will be near and heavy, and sooner or later they will be tried for their great crimes and treachery.”

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Iraqi resistance vows revenge after murderous US airstrikes

29/06/2021

ROCKETS RAIN OVER US BASES IN IRAQ

04.05.2021

Source

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Military bases of the United States in Iraq are suffering from poor weather conditions, as it would seem it’s raining rockets in the first days of May and late April.

Late on May 2nd, the US Camp Victory in Iraq came under rocket fire.

Two rockets hit the site near the Baghdad airport.

The third shell was reportedly intercepted by the C-RAM anti-aircraft system.

It was the second attack on Camp Victory in the last 10 days.

Not too long after, on May 3d, the Balad Air Base in the Salah al-Din province that houses Iraqi forces and US contractors was targeted by another rocket attack.

The commander of the base, Div. Gen. Sahi Abdul Ameri, said that a total of 9-10 explosions were heard, but only three self-made rockets exploded on the territory of the base.

The rockets reportedly were 107mm Katyushas.

Alleged photos show that the launchers were labeled with photos of assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Units commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Still, the Pentagon said the increasing frequency of attacks against US forces in Iraq does not mean that effective measures are not taken to protect them, adding that the targeted base only hosted only by Iraqi troops and contractors working for an American company.

Alongside this, almost daily IED attacks target convoys moving logistic supplies and equipment for the US-led coalition all over Iraq.

Most recently, on May 2nd, two separate convoys were targeted.

Pro-Iranian groups are suspected of carrying out the attacks.

The recent strikes may be in response to explosions at a large chemical plant located near the city of Qom in central Iran, on May 2nd.

A spokesman for the Qom Fire Department told the semi-official ISNA news agency that the fire had been prevented from reaching nearby alcohol tanks which would have caused a “very large accident” if they had caught fire.

There is no official release of what caused the explosion, but it did happen just as there were some reports that some progress had been made in Vienna in negotiations to salvage the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

On May 1st, Iran revealed that the US had agreed to lift some sanctions in order to revive the 2015 deal.

Tel Aviv has been attempting to hinder the talks between the US and Iran for a while.

Last month, an act of sabotage targeted Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.

Israeli intelligence was blamed for this.

The vicious cycle that is the situation around the Iran Nuclear Deal continues, and it is likely that the situation could deteriorate further if Washington and Tehran reach a deal Tel Aviv is unsatisfied with.

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border – Reports (Updated)

 04.05.2021 

Update:  Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition forces in Iraq, confirmed the attack. According to the initial report, 10 rockets struck the airbase, which hosts US, coalition and Iraqi forces, at 7:20am local time.

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)

Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, which belongs to the American Army, has been targeted by at least two rockets on May 4, according to the Iraqi TV channel ‘Al-Ahd’. Air sirens have been reportedly activated.

More details on the attack should be provided in coming hours. It is the third military base hosting US troops to be targeted in three days. (LinkLink)

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)

Moreover, multiple IEDs had targeted US army convoys near Jereshan border between Iraq and Kuwait, Sabereen news reported on May 4th.

According to the reports, the US occupation forces were targeted in one of the warehouses and transport garages at the Jereshan border crossing.

Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)
Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)
Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)
Rocket Attack Hit US Al-Asad Airbase In Iraq, IEDs Targeted US Convoys Near Kuwaiti Border - Reports (Updated)

On May 3, the Balad Air Base in Salah al-Din province that houses Iraqi forces and US contractors was targeted by rocket attack.

Previously, late on May 2, The US Camp Victory in Iraq came under rocket fire.

The ongoing attacks may be a result of the alleged sabotage attack on a large chemical plant located near the city of Qom in central Iran that took place on May 2nd.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Resistance Axis on war alert, to ‘openly’ target Israel if Iran attacks continue: Hezbollah insider

April 22, 2021

April 22, 2021

Description: 

Senior Lebanese political analyst and editor-in-chief of the Al-Binaa newspaper, Nasser Qandil, says the entire Axis of Resistance is now on war alert and prepared to respond by ‘openly’ targeting deep inside Israel amid rising tensions between Tel Aviv and Tehran.

In a recent interview on Al Mayadeen, Qandil, who has close relations with Hezbollah, declared that the US now has to choose between either committing to an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program and reining in Tel Aviv, or a war scenario in which the Axis of Resistance will openly target Israel.

The ‘Axis of Resistance’ broadly refers to a strategic anti-Israel/anti-US imperialist alliance composed of, but not limited to, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi, Yemen’s Ansarullah, and various Palestinian armed factions.

Source: Al Mayadeen (YouTube)

Date:  April 14, 2021

Transcript:

 Editor-in-Chief of the Lebanese newspaper Al-Binaa, Nasser Qandil:

I would like to add certain (inside) information. Yesterday evening, I received certain (inside) information from influential leaders in the Axis of Resistance that the decision of a direct confrontation has been taken. Open confrontation is around the corner, and unless Washington succeeds in deterring Israel from further escalation, the Israeli interior will be ‘openly’ targeted. (In other words,) the party behind the targeting will be known. Official statements will be issued saying: ‘we are the ones who bombarded you’. We are on the brink of a war. This is nothing short of that.

Even the Resistance (Axis) (as a whole) now considers itself fully concerned. I mean Iran is now in confrontation and is defending itself. This is true. However, there are accumulating scores (that haven’t been settled) and (this current period offers) the resistance forces a golden opportunity as Israel is preoccupied by the confrontation with Iran. On one hand, the resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) has reserved its right to respond to the Israeli operation in which one of its fighters fell as a martyr, and we remember the commitment of his eminence, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, where he confirmed that the response (for the attack) is coming. (On the other hand,) Syria has also accumulated scores from many Israeli raids (against it). Consequently, the entire region may go towards a confrontation in which occupied Palestine and the vital Israeli facilities will be the arena.

The US is now having discussions with the Israelis. It has one choice, i.e. to tell the Israelis: ‘we are responsible for protecting you, unless you initiate a war. We are now in negotiations, and we ask you to refrain from any escalation’. If the US wants to use its position to play both ends against the middle…

The host:

It is worth noting that Israel says that it informed the US about the attack against the Natanz (nuclear plant) and even the Iranian ship earlier.


Qandil:

That is true. we cannot imagine that Israel would dare to do what it did without the US not only having knowledge (of the situation), but also turning a blind eye to it in order to test how far Iran would go (to defend itself). If the Iranian position favors maintaining the negotiating climate and abandoning the military option, the US will encourage Israel to carry out more strikes, hoping that it will weaken Iran’s negotiating position.

(However,) the Iranian position today is clear and no longer needs analysis. It is based on the following rule: ‘we will respond (to the attacks) at all costs, and our response will be painful and harsh. Once again, the US is back to square one again. You want an agreement (with Iran)? There is a price to this agreement, and you have to pay it.


Related Posts:

US Phony War on ISIS and Other Jihadist Groups it Created and Supports

April 4, 2021

By Stephen Lendman

Source

ISIS, al-Qaeda, its al-Nusra spinoffs, and likeminded jihadist groups are US created and supported monsters.

They’re used by the Pentagon and CIA as proxy foot soldiers to advance diabolical US imperial interests.

Recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed, they’re deployed by US dark forces to Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere to commit atrocities that include CW attacks on defenseless civilians —wrongfully blamed on governments Washington wants replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes it controls.

The US replenishes the ranks of these groups with new recruits.

There’s no shortage of them around in the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, as well as in the Indo/Pacific and elsewhere.

Time and again, US officials perpetuate the myth of wanting these elements eliminated — while seeking new recruits to replace ones killed in battle by Russian airpower and militaries of targeted nations.

Serial liar Trump defied reality, falsely claiming his regime eliminated “100% of the caliphate…in Iraq and Syria (sic).”

In January 2020, Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) deputy head Hashed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were martyred by Pentagon assassins for successfully combatting the scourge of US supported ISIS. 

According to Pentagon connected Military.com and Navy Times propaganda on Friday, the USS USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group began so-called Operation Inherent Resolve flight operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq (sic).

Throughout US post-9/11 Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa wars of aggression against invented enemies, US air, ground and naval operations supported and continue supporting ISIS and likeminded jihadist groups.

It’s what the Eisenhower strike group and US 6th fleet are engaged in now.

Their operations have nothing to do with “provid(ing) a wide range of options to our nation and allies in deterring adversarial aggression and disruption of maritime security and regional stability” — as a navy press release falsely claimed.

Ongoing operations are all about advancing US imperial interests by waging endless preemptive wars on invented enemies.

In Syria, Russian and Assad government aerial operations alone are combatting the scourge of US supported ISIS and other jihadist groups.

Days earlier, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov said US ruling regimes use ISIS and likeminded jihadists to prevent conflict resolution in Syria.

Days earlier, the Pentagon and CIA reportedly transported dozens of ISIS fighters to locations in Syria where they want them used to attack government forces and civilians.

While government troops — greatly aided by Russian airpower — liberated most Syrian territory, US and Turkish forces illegally occupy northern parts of the country.

The Pentagon and CIA infest parts of its south, and pockets of ISIS jihadists show up wherever their US handlers deploy them.

US supported Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda offshoot, operates in Syria’s Idlib province.

Southfront called HTS “a brutal, radical terrorist group,” adding:

A leaked video showed the group “training children for combat in Greater Idlib.”

Aiding its ruthlessness, US Public Broadcasting (PBS), one of its many propaganda arms, interviewed HTS leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani.

Giving him air time on US national television showed virtual PBS support for the jihadist group in cahoots with the Biden regime.

US hot wars rage endlessly in multiple theaters, using ISIS and other jihadist proxies.

Phony US claims about military operations against ISIS and other jihadists divert attention from its support for these cutthroat killers.

What Is in Store for Iraq and the Broader Middle East?

What Is in Store for Iraq and the Broader Middle East?

Amro Allan, Global Research 14 Mar 2021

It is still early to be certain what strategy the new US administration will adopt in the Levant. Yet the recent actions of the US and its allies can give a good indication of what is in store for the region. Especially when those actions reinforce the validity of some intelligence obtained from a well-informed source, and when they fit the facts on the ground.

For the past ten years, the US and its allies have been engaged in a war against Syria. However, this war did not achieve its main strategic objective. On the contrary, Syria has become involved with the Axis of Resistance more than ever. And despite the pitfalls in some places, and slow achievements in others, the Axis of Resistance has gained more influence in the Levant overall. One aspect of this is that the route from Tehran to Beirut, through Baghdad and Damascus, is solidifying every day. Securing this route can greatly facilitate trade and economic collaboration between those four capitals- something that will enhance the living situation of the people of those countries and fortify their resilience.

The US understands the strategic challenge that this poses to its influence in the Levant and indeed in West Asia in general; as it has been expressed in many pro-US-articles.

A vital result of securing this route is the leverage it provides to the Axis of Resistance to overcome the ‘maximum pressure’ policy which the US has been pursuing of late, not just against Iran, but also against Syria using the ‘Caesar Act’. And because the events of the past few years exposed the unreadiness of the US to engage in an all-out war against Iran and its allies, that leaves the ‘maximum pressure’ policy as the only cost-effective card for the US to play against the Axis of Resistance.

Another result of the events of the last ten years in the Levant is that the Iraqi and Syrian arenas have become more interconnected. Hence, the aftershocks of any change in the political balance in one domain will be felt in the other. And because of the Russian presence in Syria, as well as the strategic alliance between Russia and the Syrian government, the US margin of manoeuvre within Syria is more constrained than it is in Iraq. Thus, it appears that the new strategy of Joe Biden’s administration is to work towards changing the status quo within Iraq to the advantage of the US, through targeted assassinations and special operations. It seems that the end goal is to strengthen the US allies within the Iraqi ruling class, benefiting from the volatile Iraqi political situation, so as to align Iraq with the US stance in the region.

This strategy, if it succeeds, will achieve two objectives for the US: breaking the Baghdad link in the afore-mentioned route chain, and tightening the economic sanctions imposed on Syria. The latter objective can then be used to force the Syrian government to make political concessions in the upcoming presidential elections and in the negotiations with the ‘separatists Kurdish factions’ in the east of the Euphrates, where the Syrian oil and wheat fields lie.

The latest US airstrike on the Iraqi security forces, the ‘Popular Mobilization Forces’ (PMF), is believed to be in this context despite the US pretexted justification. Choosing to bomb a position on the Syrian Iraqi borders and in the vicinity of a vital Syrian Iraqi crossing point cannot be at random.

Another sign of the US intent to change the political balance in Iraq is the recent 

lengthy interview with Raghad Saddam Hussein on the Saudi-owned news channel Al-Arabiya (the Saudis are a strategic US ally). In this interview, she spoke about internal Iraqi affairs, attacked what she called Iranian influence in Iraq, and refused to rule out a possible future role in Iraqi politics.

A well-informed source confirmed the existence of such a plan: ‘The US has put into action a new plan to shift the balance in Iraq to their advantage through targeted assassinations and inciting strife within Iraq. This plan is to be carried out in collaboration with some top positions in the current Iraqi government, and the Iraqi Ba’ath party’ the source added. On this question, it is worth noting the since-retracted statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby that Iraqi authorities helped the US to carry out ‘successful strikes’ on Syria’s territory in February, and in spite of the Iraqi Defence Ministry denying any knowledge of this airstrike beforehand.

If the next few weeks prove this analysis to be true, then it would be logical to assume that the Axis of Resistance will take countermeasures, and this would very likely raise the stakes in an already heightened situation in a volatile region.

Amro Allan, Palestinian writer and Political researcher

Amro Allan ( amro@amrobilal.net), is an independent Palestinian writer and Political researcher. He publishes in various Arabic news outlets, some of which are Al-Akhbar newspaperRai Al-Youm, and Arabi 21.

ما الذي يُعَدّ للعراق؟

عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter
كاتب فلسطيني

الأخبار

عمرو علان

الثلاثاء 9 آذار 2021

يعكف عادةً ساكن البيت الأبيض الجديد في المئة يوم الأولى بعد تنصيبه على رسم الخطوط العريضة التي ستحكم سياسات إدارته خلال فترته الرئاسية، لكن يبدو أنه بات من الممكن تلمّس معالم استراتيجيات جو بايدن تجاه منطقة المشرق العربي، في قراءة أولية معتمدين بشكل رئيسي على ما أقدم عليه الأميركي أخيراً وتحركات بعض حلفائه الإقليميين، ولا سيما أن هذه المعطيات تتقاطع مع بعض المعلومات المتوافرة من مصادر مطلعة.

لم تفلح إدارتا باراك أوباما ودونالد ترامب في حسم الحرب على سوريا لمصلحتَي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وربيبها الكيان الصهيوني من الناحية الإستراتيجية، وحقّقت سوريا ومحور المقاومة عموماً إنجازات متتالية خلال السنوات الماضية، وبات نفوذ المحور في تصاعد على مساحة الإقليم بشكل عام، رغم العثرات في مواضع، وبطء الإنجازات في مواضع أخرى، وبدأ طريق طهران بيروت مروراً ببغداد ودمشق بالرسوخ رويداً رويداً، ويدرك الأميركي ما لهذا الأمر من تهديد على نفوذه، ليس من الناحية العسكرية وحسب، بل الأهم هو ما يتيحه ترسيخ هذا الخط لأطراف محور المقاومة من فرص تبادل اقتصادي وفرص إنمائية، ما يمثّل تحدياً جدياً لسياسات الضغوط الاقتصادية القصوى التي باتت تتَّبِعُها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في ظل انحسار خيارات الانخراط العسكري المباشر لديها.

وكان من المتوقّع أن ينصرف الأميركي إلى التركيز على التحدّيين الصيني والروسي بناءً على اللهجة العدائية الأميركية المتصاعدة تجاه هاتين القوتين العظميين، لكن يظهر أن الأجنحة الصهيونية داخل الإدارة الأميركية نجحت فيوضع ملفات المنطقة – بما تمثّل من تحديات حقيقية للكيان الصهيوني – ضمن سلم أولويات إدارة جو بايدن الكثيرة.

تُعدّ زيادة ترابط الساحتين العراقية والسورية أحد إفرازات أحداث العشرية الأخيرة، حيث باتت تؤثر إحداهما على الأخرى بشكل مباشر، وبالتالي على عموم محور المقاومة، وكون الروسي حاضراً في الساحة السورية، وما لهذا الحضور من تأثير على هامش المناورة الأميركية في تلك الساحة، يبدو أن الأميركي يتجه إلى محاولة كسر حلقة التواصل بين أطراف محور المقاومة عبر إحداث تطورات على الساحة العراقية تصبّ في مصلحته، لكون هامش الحركة لديه في العراق أوسع، ونظراً إلى خصوبة الساحة العراقية بسبب التناقضات في الداخل العراقي، ويبدو أن الغارة الجوية الأميركية الأخيرة على فصائل الحشد الشعبي العراقي تأتي في سياق رسم ملامح المرحلة القادمة وفي سياق تحضير ساحة العمليات الأميركية، سيّما أن اختيار منطقة الحدود العراقية السورية لتنفيذ هذه الغارة له دلالاته، وكان لافتاً أيضاً ظهور رغد صدام حسين على قناة العربية المملوكة سعودياً في سلسلة حلقات تلفزيونية، ورفضها في تلك المقابلة استبعاد احتمالية أن يكون لها دور مستقبلي في العراق، ما يمكن قراءته كإشارة أخرى على وجود هكذا توجُّه لدى المحور الصهيوأميركي.

تشير المصادر المطّلعة إلى وجود خطة أميركية لإحداث بلبلة أمنية في الداخل العراقي، والقيام بعمليات تصفية لمفاصل فاعلة قريبة من محور المقاومة من خلال قوات خاصة وعمليات أمنية، أملاً في قلب التوازنات الحاكمة في العراق حالياً لمصلحة الأميركي، ونقله من موقع إلى آخر، ويرجّح أن يكون هذا بالتوافق مع شخصيات تشغل مناصب عليا في الحكومة العراقية الراهنة، وبرغم النفي الصادر عن وزارة الدفاع العراقية، فلقد كان لافتاً تصريح الناطق باسم البنتاغون جون كيربي عن تنسيق الغارة الجوية الأخيرة ضد الحشد الشعبي مع الحكومة العراقية قبل أن يتراجع ويسحب هذا التصريح.

انتقال العراق من تموضعه الحالي إلى تموضع أقرب للسياسات الأميركية يُفضي إلى تشديد الخناق الاقتصادي المفروض على الدولة السورية، إضافة إلى كسر حلقة التواصل بين أطراف محور المقاومة كما أسلفنا، ويأمل الأميركي من الحصار الخانق المفروض على الدولة السورية تحقيق مكاسب في الانتخابات السورية المقبلة، وانتزاع تنازلات من القيادة السورية في قضية استقلال الأكراد في الجزيرة السورية، حيث آبار النفط وحقول القمح السورية.
إذا صحّت هذه التوقعات، فهذا يفرض على محور المقاومة رسم خطوط حمر أمام العبث الأميركي، وهذا متاح لأن المبادرة في الإقليم لا تزال بيد محور المقاومة، بعد تجاوز كل أشكال الضغوط في السنوات الأربع المنصرمة.

* كاتب فلسطيني

Pope Francis meets Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq – Now what?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 7, 2021

Hayder al-Khoei: Pope Francis is visiting Iraq to meet with Ayatollah  Sistani. Here's why it's a historic trip.

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: The Pope and Sistani held an historic meeting between two of the largest religious bodies, the 1.2 billion Catholics and Sistani’s Shia Muslims. Despite Iraq’s Covid issues, the men met without masks, despite the Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq being in isolation due to exposure. Sunni Muslims later joined the talks during the Pope’s three day visit.

The topic, as expected, was peace and secuity, not only worldwide but in Iraq, a country where its once 1.5 million Christian community is estimated to be 250,000 now. And Pope Francis did not shy away from discussing religious persecution with ISIS in the crosshairs.

“We believers cannot be silent when terrorism abuses religion,” the Pope said. “Indeed, we are called unambiguously to dispel all misunderstandings. Let us not allow the light of heaven to be overshadowed by the clouds of hatred.”

He specifically singled out the Yazidi community who suffered terribly, with its women kidnapped, sexually abused, and sold openly in ISIS slave markets, all this done under the Saudi Imams having provided cover on the mass rapes of Yazidis by classifying the events as ‘temporary marriages’.

This was an act of terrorism in itself, one which not only the US never objected to, and the Saudi religious community never santioned the perpetrators. The US coalition’s stand down acted as de facto approval, because they wanted to Balkanize Syria.

A day of religious and judicial reckoning is long overdue on this horrible tragedy, with way too many taking the easy route of just looking away. May the Pope’s visit spark a badly needed flame for justice in the region… Jim W. Dean ]

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The Vatican

First published … March 06, 2021

Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has held closed-door talks with Iraq’s prominent Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on the second day of his visit to the Arab country.

The meeting took place at Ayatollah Sistani’s residence in the holy city of Najaf on Saturday morning.

The office of Ayatollah Sistani said in a statement that he highlighted challenges facing mankind and stressed the role of belief in God and commitment to high moral values ​​in overcoming them.

Ayatollah Sistani cited injustice, oppression, poverty, religious persecution, repression of fundamental freedoms, wars, violence, economic siege and displacement of many people in the region, especially the Palestinians in the occupied territories as some of the major problems which afflict the world.

The cleric touched on the role which religious and spiritual leaders can play in tackling some of these problems. Ayatollah Sistani said religious leaders have to encourage parties invovled in conflicts, particularly the world powers, to give primacy to rationality over confrontation.

He also stressed the importance of efforts to strengthen peaceful coexistence and solidarity based on mutual respect among the followers of different religions and intellectual groups.

Ayatollah Sistani emphasized that the Christian citizens of Iraq, like all other Iraqis, should live in security and peace and enjoy their fundamental rights.

He referred to the role played by the religious authority in protecting Christians and all those who have suffered from the criminal acts of terrorists over the past years. After the one-hour meeting, Pope Francis travelled to the Iraqi city of Ur, which is believed to be the birthplace of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him).

The pontiff arrived in Iraq on Friday for a three-day trip amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to Ayatollah Sistani, Pope Francis has so far met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Barham Salih.

Iraq’s Christian community has seen its numbers drop from nearly 1.5 million to about 250,000, less than 1% of the population over the last two decades. Iraqi Christians fled the country to escape the chaos and violence that ensued after the US invasion of the country in 2003.

Tens of thousands were also displaced when the Daesh terrorist group overran vast swathes in northern Iraq in 2014, targeting various ethnic and religious groups of the country.

The Takfiri terrorist group was vanquished in December 2017 after a three-year anti-terror military campaign with the crucial support of neighboring Iran. Daesh’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash a new reign of terror.

The terrorist group has intensified its deadly attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the US assassinated legendary anti-terror Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad airport.

Saraya Awliya al-Dam group, part of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units better known as Hash al-Sha’ab, announced in a statement that it had stopped all its anti-terror operations during the pope’s visit and out of respect for Ayatollah Sistani.

The statement also condemned the assassination of al-Muhandis and General Soleimani who was targeted during an official visit to Iraq.

“We, Arabs, warmly receive our guests. Unlike the United States which betrayed the official guest of Iraq and warrior of Islam, General Soleimani, we will never follow such an approach,” the statement said.

Saraya Awliya al-Dam group also published a poster, featuring General Soleimani’s severed hand after the US drone airstrike and the Arabic words, “Does the Pope know this is the hand that brought the ringing of bells back to churches.”

Ahead of the visit, infectious disease experts had expressed concern about Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq, given a sharp rise in coronavirus infections there, a fragile health care system and the unavoidable likelihood that some people would crowd to see him.

Health experts say from a purely epidemiological standpoint, as well as the public health message it sends, the papal trip to Iraq amid a global pandemic is not wise.

Their concerns were reinforced with the news last week that the Vatican ambassador to Iraq, the main point person for the trip who would have escorted Francis to all his appointments, had tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating.

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing EditorManaging EditorJim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. Read Full Complete Bio >>>

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Biden becomes the fourth successive President to bomb Iraqis: how far could this latest round of escalation go?

Biden becomes the fourth successive President to bomb Iraqis: how far could this latest round of escalation go?

March 04, 2021

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Another president, another act of aggression. For the past few decades, it’s almost like a mandatory rite of passage for US presidents to bomb Muslim countries. I don’t think many of us are surprised to see that current US President Joe Biden turned out to be no different to his predecessors, when Washington once more bombed Iraqis last week.

Continuing the same policy of terrorism and humiliation from the Trump era, Washington felt the need to show strength against the Resistance forces on the Syrian-Iraqi border area. What angers me most, is not just the terrorist act of killing people who are fighting US occupation and US backed terrorism, but the fact that Washington cannot and will not recognize that there is a growing local resistance to Zionist hegemony, instead resorting to degrading and humiliating legitimate resistance groups such as Hashd al-Sha’abi of Iraq (PMU) or the Houthis of Yemen by labelling them “Iranian backed proxies”.

Everything and everyone that oppose Washington and Zionist hegemony in West Asia are “Iranian backed”. Whether it is a Houthi attack on a Saudi airport, a Taliban attack on a NATO convoy or a suspiciously random rocket attack on a US base in Iraq, it is always Iran’s fault and somehow the Islamic Republic must be held responsible for these attacks. Both Washington and the Zionist entity keep attacking Resistance forces in the very area where ISIS remnants have been re-emergent for the past months, claiming their right to self defense. Self defense?! America is more than 10 000 kilometres away. US troops are occupying Syrian and Iraqi territory and Washington claims the right to self defense? This narrative has been drilled into the minds of so many people in the West that nobody even reacts when one of the Obama gang’s old crude liars, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby was telling the press that Washington acted to “de-escalate” the situation when it bombed Resistance forces on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

What Kirby really meant by “de-escalation” was that he believes that Washington sent Iran and its allies a “clear message”, that messing with Washington is unwise. The sad part is that he and the other psychopaths in Washington actually believe that the so called “message” will in any way deter the Resistance forces in West Asia. It is pretty clear what the US is doing with these random attacks on the Resistance forces. Washington knows the realities on the ground and acts in response to them. In Syria, it has become clear for Washington that Damascus won’t fall, that dream came down crashing when Russia entered the war in 2015. So, Washington is acting to deny Syria and her allies their well deserved victory through the occupation and looting of eastern Syria. Washington will act for as long as it takes to starve the Syrian people into submission.

In Iraq, Washington, being well aware that the Iraqi parliament has voted to expel US forces from Iraq, is desperately seeking new reasons to prolong their occupation. Be it through the magical re-emergence of Daesh terrorists in Western Iraq or through suspicious Katyusha rocket attacks on US interests in Baghdad’s green zone, which are then blamed on the Iraqi Resistance forces without any kind of evidence presented, Washington is seeking to undermine the Iraqi parliament’s decision.
In Iraq, Washington has a foothold in Baghdad not seen in Syria’s Damascus. It is through this foothold that Washington wields influence over many Iraqi politicians and thus has the ability to cause great internal disunity and animosity among Iraqis themselves.

Washington has both great influence over the Kurds in northern Iraq and over the Prime Minister’s office. PM Al-Kadhimi is known to be a close associate of Washington’s and is suspected to be cooperating with the US to prolong their stay in Iraq. During his tenure, tensions between Baghdad and the PMU have run high as government forces have made random raids on the PMU headquarters, arresting some members even. Yet even more dangerous is the escalating tensions between Washington and the PMU. On Wednesday March 3rd, a new rocket attack on the Ain Al-Assad military base was reported. This is the same military base that was struck by the IRGC last year in retaliation for Washington’s murder of martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. Previously the PMU had vowed revenge for Washington’s attack last week, which makes it rather obvious that Washington will blame the PMU for this recent strike.

With this latest round of escalation, one wonders what will happen next? Of course I’m just speculating but I see some real dangers with tensions running this high. I believe that Washington could very well seek to push Iraq into a new civil war in a bid to eradicate the Hashd al-Sha’abi. Many of the groups within the PMU have threatened to wage war on US forces if Washington refuses to withdraw. Unfortunately, this threat by the PMU can easily be exploited by the US, giving Washington a casus belli, as they intensify their “defensive” airstrikes while claiming to support Baghdad’s campaign to bring “stability” to Iraq. Such an endeavour could risk dragging several regional countries into the conflict as the Islamic Republic could be forced to intervene on behalf of the Iraqi Resistance forces. It is clear that Washington cannot and will not attack Iran directly, such an adventure would be too risky for the crazies in the White House and Pentagon. However, fighting “Iranian backed” forces and rolling back Iranian influence could serve to both solidify the continued US occupation of Iraq in the short term, and prevent the Resistance forces from achieving complete victory, in the mid-to-long term. In order to manufacture consent, Washington must portray their actions as both “defensive” and in service of “stability and peace”. Having others fight Washington’s wars for them is a speciality for the Empire. This is why I believe the most likely scenario to be one where Washington attempts to pit Baghdad against the PMU, then sweep in to “help” Baghdad “preserve stability”. This strategy has been used in different ways before by the Obama regime when it unleashed the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq, then claimed to fight the same terrorists it had armed and trained, in a bid to continue their occupation of Iraq and pressure pro-Iran PM Nouri Al-Maliki to resign. Obama then did the same thing in Syria with the support of Kurdish militants in a bid to pressure Damascus into concessions. Trump continued on the same path but went even further when his administration began using phony attacks on “US interests” in Iraq as a pretext for direct confrontation with the PMU, a path that ultimately led to the murder of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. The then-secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Washington had acted to “stabilize” Iraq with the murder of these “terrorists” who were “hated among Iraqis”.

Iraq is key to the Resistance Axis and cannot fall into enemy hands. It is however also the most vulnerable of the countries where the Resistance forces are active, as not only does Washington have great influence over Baghdad, but also over the Kurdish autonomous region in the north.

Supporting Kurdish independence is another way that Washington could seek to attack the Resistance Axis. This can be seen in Syria as well where the Kurdish militants are acting as excellent proxy troops for Washington, occupying about a third of the country and helping US forces in the looting of Syrian oil. Kurdish parties also have excellent ties to the Zionist entity in Tel Aviv, as Zionist chieftain Netanyahu has on several occasions been a vocal supporter of Kurdish independence, often likening the Kurdish people’s cause with the Zionist one. The reactionary Kurdish parties, who are too ignorant and too greedy to understand and realize that they are being used as cannon fodder to further US imperial ambitions, will be more than happy to wage war on Syria and Iraq with US support behind them.

It’s been almost 10 years since the war in Syria began, and 18 years since the war in Iraq began, and still there seems to be no peace in sight for any of the Arab countries. Biden has been in office in less than two months, but in my opinion, the next four years seem to be rather clear in terms of Washington’s policies towards the West Asia region- the long wars will continue and more blood is to be expected. Bush bombed Iraq, Obama bombed Iraq, Trump bombed Iraq, and now Biden bombs Iraq. For our people, it never matters who or what occupies the White House, the bombings and wars will continue. Iraq has a rather young population, more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 years of age. This means that most Iraqis have known nothing else except the US imposed wars on their homeland. It is a tragedy and a shameful moment in human history where most people in the totally “advanced, civilized, democratic, morally superior” West don’t care about what their despicable governments are doing in Iraq or Syria, because they are stupid Muslim terrorists anyway. This is why Iraq cannot and should not rely on Western public opinion. Resistance is the only way, and the US Empire must be kicked out with force in order for Iraqis to finally have some peace.

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Biden Administration Launched Its First Strikes On Iranian-backed Groups In Syria And Iraq

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

After nearly two months of daily attacks against United States convoys and positions in Iraq, on February 25th Washington carried out airstrikes in response.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Washington was confident in what it attacked, and that it was the right target. There was no information about this incident or any damage caused by the strike from officials in Damascus or Tehran. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the US had carried out a “defensive precision strike”.

This involved airstrikes that struck alleged Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) facilities. They were located at a border control point in Eastern Syria.

The press release misspells the names of both KH and KSS, which is showing in how clearly the US is aware of who continues attacking its interests.

Both groups are part of the Iraqi Armed Forces, as they are in the ranks of the Popular Mobilization Units. One of the key forces in the fight against ISIS. Many PMU factions historically have had close relations with Iran and thus they were struck as an authorized response for the strikes on US interests in the Middle East.

According to Washington, the strikes aren’t aimed at an escalation, but rather to de-escalate the situation. Any casual observer would note that it is far more likely that US President Joe Biden will get an escalation as a result.

Two days before the “defensive precision strike” Kata’ib Hezbollah released an official statement denying that it had anything to do with the rocket strikes on US positions. Evidently, to no avail.

The last straw for the US happened during the day on February 25th. Two convoys were attacked by IED blasts. These attacks led to no casualties, similarly to the previous ones. It appears that material damage was the purpose of the incidents. The declared purpose of the attacks was to push the US forces out of Iraq. This, too, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

NATO is increasing its presence in Iraq. The US also said it could deploy more troops to the Middle East. When Joe Biden was elected US President, the MSM claimed that the two-faced international policy was done with, after Donald Trump had vacated office. This is a testament to the opposite.

On one side, Washington says that it is ready to sit at the negotiating table with Iran, and discuss restoring some normality. One the other side, it strikes Iran’s allies and accuses them of carrying out attacks that they vehemently deny.

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