ROCKETS RAIN OVER US BASES IN IRAQ

04.05.2021

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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.

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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.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Nasrallah: It was Soleimani-linked groups that drove US Army out of Iraq in 2011

February 14, 2021

Nasrallah – It was groups trained by Soleimani that drove US army out of Iraq in 2011

Description:

In an extensive interview in late 2020, Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah provides a detailed explanation of the identity of the “resistance groups” that he says were responsible for militarily driving the U.S. army out of Iraq in 2011.

Nasrallah explains that the overwhelming majority of the operations carried out on U.S. forces between 2003 and 2011 were carried out not by Al-Qaeda and its likes, but by groups that were supported and trained by Iran’s Qassim Soleimani, groups that today form Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi (or Popular Mobilization Forces).

Source: Al Mayadeen Programs (YouTube)

Date: December 27, 2020

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

Transcript:

-The host:

Your eminence, how did Hajj Qassim (Soleimani) reach the stage of…as you mentioned earlier, there are two stages: the stage of (the US) occupation (of Iraq), then (came) the stage of Daesh. Can you give us some behind-the-scenes (information about) the role of Hajj Soleimani during the occupation of Iraq that ended with 150,000 US soldiers retreating in such a (cowardly) manner?

– Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah:

(To answer that,) I will go back to the same reasoning, i.e. (we have two stages). The (first) stage is from 2003 to 2011 in Iraq. I’ll call it “The Stage of Resistance against the American Occupation” (in which I’ll mention) the role of Hajj Qassim as well as Hajj Abu Mahdi and the leaders of the (Iraqi) resistance factions and movements. The (second) stage is that of (fighting) Daesh. (The second stage) was at a time when there was no problem if (everything relating to Hajj Qasim’s role) got out to the media. Therefore, everything (relating to Soleimani’s role) was clear for all to see by virtue of his public stances, the supportive public statements, the decision of the Iraqi government, the deployment of the Iraqi army and official forces, the (stance of) religious scholars that was of course in line with the position of (Iraq’s highest) religious authority, (the support of the) tribes and the people, and all that was under the (media) spotlight. Perhaps there is a hidden wisdom and (divine) mercy for (the second stage) to be under the (media) spotlight.

(However,) the entirety of (the first) stage was not only far from the spotlight, it was subject to unjust (coverage). It is good that you brought up this topic so that I elaborate on it. There was an impression at that time that it was al-Qaeda or militant groups – the term “Takfiris” was not common yet – who were fighting the (US) occupation, at a time when other groups supported the US occupation. This, of course, was not true. I assure you that the overwhelming majority of the military operations that were carried out against the US occupation forces in Iraq were carried out by these (Iraqi) resistance factions, which are now known. I will not mention their names so that I don’t name some and forget others. The US is aware of the (role of the resistance groups) because it made arrests and obtained recorded confessions through torture. The US knows these factions very well. It knows their leaderships, their military officials, their fighters, the operations they carried out against the US forces.

-The host: When did the resistance begin?

-Sayyed Nasrallah:

In 2003. The foundations were established in 2003, but the actual operations started in 2004.

-The host: Was Hajj Qassim preparing for the (resistance) before 2003?

-Sayyed Nasrallah:

No, before the US came to Iraq, the option of resistance was not on the table, because resistance is a reaction to the occupation. Before the American occupation of Iraq, there was no resistance to the American occupation of Iraq! The work of the resistance groups (during the US occupation) had evolved to the point that they were filming explosive devices striking (US) tanks and (military) vehicles, and (filming the moments) in which they would set up ambushes, and target American barracks and bases. They then would upload the videos with their names (on the internet). Of course, at some of the stages, there were many names (such as): Imam Ali Brigades, Imam al-Hussein Brigades, Ali al-Akbar Brigades, Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Brigades, etc. Then they decided on a couple of names that are well-known today. I remember at that time we were in contact with those factions of course, and the Americans knew that. I am not revealing a secret.

-The host: You were in contact (with the Iraqi resistance groups) from the start?

-Sayyed Nasrallah:  Of course. They used to complain to us and say that these videos….

-The host:

Excuse me your eminence. Since the United States is aware of the matter, let the public know (as well). When did this contact begin? When did the resistance in Iraq begin? We are talking about this particular resistance. (This topic) is unknown to public opinion. Even I, as a journalist, did not know about this matter for years.

-Sayyed Nasrallah:

It started…well, of course there were some declared positions, and some popular (unorganised) confrontations took place. However, if we are talking about the organised armed resistance, it started with youth groups who were members of different movements. In other words, they didn’t follow one specific path. Of course, they also did not have enough political cover because the country was going through a political process. While a political process was being discussed, there was a resistance movement that was progressing and growing bigger and bigger, (a resistance movement) established by groups of youth who later became a part of its structure. What is the point I was trying to say? When they were filming – these pictures and videos still exist and I suggest that Al Mayadeen brings this whole archive and brings attention to it – what was happening?…

-The host: Give us (the archive).

-Sayyed Nasrallah:

The archive is in the hands of our Iraqi brothers. We can bring it, or we can tell them to give it to you since you ‘mashAllah’ have (well-developed) offices over there (in Iraq). It is raw footage. The tanks, even Abrams tanks (were being destroyed) at the time. The United States was shocked by what was happening. The footage was clear. (The resistance) used to send it to Arab satellite channels, but none of them published it. All Arab satellite channels without exception. Al Jazeera… I mean, Al-Jazeera was covering (news) in Lebanon and Palestine, but it did not cover the operations of these factions in Iraq. However, it covered the operations of the other (Iraqi extremist) groups. I mean when (extremists) sent them videos or CDs, they would publish them; and the same applies to other Arab satellite channels. In Lebanon, there was no television channel that had the courage to cover these operations. (As mentioned in the Quran), “let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice”. Even though there is currently dispute and differences between us and Al Jadeed TV, yet that time, the only television channel, other than Al-Manar TV, that would dare to broadcast these videos was Al-Jadeed TV. Why would (Al Jadeed TV broadcast them)? I do not know. Anyway, there was a massive media blackout of these precise and excellent operations (by the Iraqi resistance factions).

For example, they were committed to avoiding civilian (casualties). They have videos in which the bomb is planted, then an American tank passes by, and by chance a civilian passes by, so they delay the execution (of the operation) for an hour or two until another American tank comes in the absence of civilians, then (the bomb) is detonated. Why? Because it is a (religiously) devout resistance. It is a resistance forged by people of the country who consider civilians their brothers and their (own) families. Therefore, they do not want to kill them, even in the context of resisting the (US) occupation.

This (Iraqi) resistance worked hard until 2011 when the US knew that these groups – who had different names – are the ones responsible for this resistance. They also learned – here we go back to our brother Hajj Qassim – that these resistance groups receive moral, financial, military, arms and training support from the Quds Force and Hajj Qassim Soleimani.

I was hesitant to talk about this in public as it could be considered an evidence (that can be used against Iran). However, (the US) already has a stronger evidence i.e. the people who were arrested and made confessions that included the locations of their training camps and the side who provided them with weapons and funding. The solid evidence (that confirms that the operations were conducted by) the real Iraqi resistance…why am I saying the “real” Iraqi resistance, because Ayman al-Zawahiri would come out and say (his group Al-Qaeda) had carried out 5,000 suicide bombings) in Iraq. Well, let us count how many suicide attacks were carried out against the US in Iraq? The resistance movements that I am talking about did not carry out a single martyrdom operation. They only used bombs, ambushes, missile strikes and so forth. Therefore, (if we are talking about) suicide bombings, we agree that you (al-Qaeda) are responsible for them. Count with me, how many suicide operations were carried out (during this period against the US forces)? 100? 200? Not more. And I am exaggerating when I say 100 or 200. In other words, 4,800 suicide operations (were carried out) against the Iraqi people, whether Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Turkmen, Christians, in churches and in mosques etc. The truth is, what was happening in Iraq was not a process of ethnic cleansing, but rather human cleansing i.e. killing people left, right and center. However, this (Iran-backed) resistance was a precise, committed, disciplined, and purposeful resistance whose aim was to pressure and exhaust the (US) occupation forces to push them to withdraw.

The real support for this resistance came for the Quds Force and Hajj Qassim Soleimani. Therefore, what I said earlier, and this is what the Iranians said in the media as well, when US-Iraqi negotiations took place to conclude this strategic agreement with Obama on the withdrawal of US forces, who did the US talk to? Of course, the US did not contact them directly, but through intermediaries. But who did it contact? It contacted the Iranians, (notably) the Quds Force (headed by) Hajj Qassim Soleimani. (The US said:) ‘can you please speak with the Iraqi resistance factions and tell them to stop and leave us alone for two or three months until we withdraw without coming under fire?’ Therefore, during this stage of resistance, the resistance was real and serious.

Furthermore, the commander of the US Central Command in the region – a part of his forces are in Iraq – and the leaders of the US army in Iraq have, on more than one occasion, threatened Hajj Qassim Soleimani and the Quds Force with bombing their sites in Iran if they do not stop supporting the Iraqi resistance factions. They even specified targets that included targets in a camp in Karash, which is a camp where resistance fighters from several countries would undergo (military) training. They chose their targets (and said) that we will bomb these specific locations. However, the Islamic Republic (of Iran) did not change its position. As you know anyway, the position of his eminence the (Supreme) Leader Imam Khamenei – may God protect him – and the officials in Iran, was in line with the Iranian official position that was supportive of the Iraqi resistance. I mean, they were not hiding it.

– The host:

Excuse me your eminence, it was not only an assumption.  All the reports at the time stated that Iran is not only supporting the political process, but also interfering in Iraqi affairs just like the US. No one mentioned that Iran was actually supporting the resistance through General Qassim Soleimani…

-Sayyed Nasrallah:

Look, (Iran’s decisions during) the Iraqi experience that took place from 2003 to 2011 was based on an advanced (strategy), as (Iran) took into account the lessons it had derived from the outcomes of all previous experiences. Faced with (the US occupation) of Iraq, a group of (Iraqi) leaders and political groups endorsed political action and the political process, and were against military action and (any form of military) resistance to (the US) occupation. A second group was in favor of military action i.e. resistance. While a third group believed in political, popular and civil resistance, but was against any military action. What did (Iran) use to do in previous experiences? It used to choose and support one party. (However,) this time (during the US occupation of Iraq), the Islamic Republic supported all parties. If you (Iraqis) believe that the political process will restore Iraq’s sovereignty through the constitution, elections, the government, the participation in the government, and negotiations with the US, go ahead, no problem. If you support military action (against the US), rely on God and go ahead. If you support the option of political action and popular civil resistance, go ahead and we have your back. (Why did Iran do that?) Because all these tracks would have led to the same goal, but of course the media only covered the first line of support while the second (i.e. military resistance) was kept in the dark.

——

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IRANIAN-BACKED FORCES RECEIVE NEW MISSILES AS TENSIONS GROW IN IRAQ

South Fronts

The second month of 2021 began with preparations by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) for new round of hostilities.

Kata’ib Hezbollah received short and medium range rockets through Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Kata’ib Hezbollah is a key member of the PMU, actively participates in the fight against ISIS since the emergence of the group in Iraq, and is a vocal supporter of the current attempts to oust the US presence from Iraq.

At the same time, the PMU are subject to more and more frequent ISIS attacks in recent days. As the terrorists appear to be popping up all around. On January 31st, the PMU said they repelled an ISIS attack in the region of Jurf al-Sakhar in the province of Babil.

These apparent appearances by ISIS members coincide with reports by pro-Iranian sources blaming the US for airlifting them. On January 31st, in an interview with the al-Maloumeh news website, Sabah al-Akili claimed that the US military airlifts ISIS units into areas behind PMU positions in the Jurf al-Sakhar region.

So far, US President Joe Biden’s policy for the Middle East is incredibly unsurprising. Any potential withdrawals appear to be nothing more than a pipe dream. The first-ever African American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw was being reconsidered. Not only that, but it is likely that the deployments need to be increased.

Attacks on US supply convoys have become commonplace, all of them being blamed on the PMU. However, responsibility for the most recent attack was assumed by the Qasim Al-Jabbarin group, which does not declare its affiliation with the PMU.

With the US still leading the way for NATO in the entire region, any exit also from Afghanistan becomes more fiction than reality. This will, in turn, lead to increased Taliban activity, since the peace deal is not being honored.

US troops remaining in Syria is also indisputable, judging by the deployments that have recently taken place.

The responses to these refusals to withdraw will lead to more frequent attacks and accusations from the Axis of Resistance. The answer from the Iran-led group will be not only against the US presence, but also against its allies in the face of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s Houthis are responsible for dealing with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian fighter jets continue their attacks on reported Houthi targets, but mostly civilians. The ceasefire in al-Hudaydah is not being honored. Despite the Kingdom’s best efforts, the Houthis still have the upper hand in the conflict. On January 28th, at least 150 members of the Saudi-backed forces switched sides and went over to the Ansar Allah movement (the formal name of the Houthis). Additionally, drone attacks are more frequent. The Kingdom reported that it repelled several attacks, but such reports were not as common until recently.

That is when Iran deployed brand-new loitering munitions to the Houthis, and a new group made its appearance to target Riyadh’s ambitions on the Arab Peninsula.

Tensions in the Middle East continue deepening. The advent of reports of the airlifting of terrorists is something that’s been rare since the Obama-era. It appears that the region is once again subject to this known and proven method of “diplomatic intervention.”

US-backed DAESH terrorism returns to Iraq, Dr Marwa Osman

Marwa Osman

A twin suicide bombing on a bustling commercial street in the heart of Baghdad on Thursday killed at least 32 people and wounded more than 100, in an attack that ruptured months of relative calm. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack which bears the hallmarks of the terrorist group who has carried out numerous similar attacks in Iraq. To discuss this issue with us from Beirut is Laith Marouf political commentator. As the US continues to occupy parts of Syria in a clear violation of the territorial integrity of the Arab country, an Apache attack helicopter belonging to the US military has reportedly crashed in Syria’s northeastern Province of Hasakah, with no information available about the fate of those onboard. The initial deployment of US occupation soldiers to that specific area was meant to plunder the country’s crude oil resources, however now it seems someone is making sure the U.S. abandons their theft efforts. U.S. Apache down in Syria in this following report. To discuss this issue with us from Damascus is Vanessa Beeley, independent journalist.

FIVE SUPPLY CONVOYS ATTACKED IN IRAQ, US-LED COALITION PERSONNEL ALLEGEDLY INJURED

South Front

22.01.2021 

Five Supply Convoys Attacked In Iraq, US-led Coalition Personnel Allegedly Injured
US armored vehicles on the key M4 highway in Syria’s northeast, via AFP.

On January 22, five convoys carrying supplies and equipment for the US-led coalition came under attack in different parts of Iraq.

According to the Sabereen News, a telegram channel with links to Shiite armed groups in Iraq, the attacks occured as it follows:

  • The first attack took place in the southern city of Nasiriyah. Five out of 18 containers, which were being moved by the convoy’s trucks, were completely destroyed as a result of the attack. A 4×4 vehicle was also damaged. Three Iraqi private military contractors, who were guarding the convoy, and a female engineer of the coalition’s Spanish forces were allegedly injured.
  • The second attack took place in the central province of Babylon. No details on the attack were provided.
  • The third attack took place in the central city of al-Diwaniyah. A number of military advisors from the coalition’s Spanish forces were allegedly injured.
  • The fourth attack also took place in Babylon. No details on the attack were provided.
  • The fifth attack took place near Abu Ghraib, west of the capital Baghdad. No details on the attack were provided.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq – ‘Ashab al-Kahf claimed responsibility for all five attacks, has vowed to carry out even more operations against US-led coalition troops in Iraq.

“We planted explosive devices through the South road and on the road from northern Baghdad to Nineveh,” the group said in a brief statement. “When the total count is completed, we will issue a statement claiming responsibility for everything.”

‘Ashab al-Kahf is one of several pro-Iran armed groups which began carrying out attacks against US troops in Iraq after the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Deputy-Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and Iranian Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani more than a year ago.

So far, the US-led coalition has failed to identify and confront these groups, which are supposedly embedded within the PMU’s ranks.

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لهذه الأسباب باتت المقاومة تشكل خطراً داهماً على الكيان الصهيوني والمشروع الاستعماري في المنطقة

حسن حردان

منذ أن غزت قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني لبنان عام 1982 كانت قيادة العدو تهدف إلى إنهاء أيّ وجود لمقاومة فيه، لبنانية أم فلسطينية، يمكن أن تعرقل تنفيذ المشروع الصهيوني في سعيه لفرض هيمنته على الوطن العربي وتصفية قضية فلسطين، من خلال العمل على تحقيق ما يلي:

اولاً، إخضاع الدول العربية الواحدة تلو الأخرى وفرض صكوك الاستسلام عليها بإجبارها على توقيع اتفاقيات الصلح والاعتراف بوجوده المصطنع على كامل أرض فلسطين.. وفي هذا السياق كان الطموح الصهيوني جعل لبنان البلد العربي الثاني الذي يوقع اتفاق صلح معه، بعد مصر… ومحاصرة سورية تمهيداً لإخضاعها وفرض الاستسلام عليها أيضاً، بما يمكن العدو من فرض الحلّ الصهيوني في فلسطين المحتلة وتصفية الحقوق الوطنية لشعبها…

ثانياً، إقامة العلاقات مع كيان العدو، على كافة المستويات، بما يكرّس هيمنته وسيطرته السياسية والاقتصادية، وتمكينه من استغلال واستثمار الثروات والموارد العربية من نفط وغاز، ويد عاملة رخيصة في خدمة المشروع الصهيوني..

ثالثاً، تحويل الكيان الصهيوني إلى المركز والمحور الرأسمالي الاستعماري الذي تدور في فلكه كلّ الدول العربية في إطار منظومة التبعية التي تفرضها الاتفاقيات الموقعة معه.

هذه الأهداف الاستراتيجية، التي يسعى العدو الصهيوني إلى بلوغها، كان يستند في العمل لتنفيذها إلى العوامل التالية:

العامل الأول، قوة الجيش «الإسرائيلي» المتفوّقة والقادرة على تحقيق وبلوغ ما تريده في ميدان الحرب، وهذه القدرة تعززت خلال العدوان الصهيوني على الدول العربية عام 1967 واحتلال جيش العدو الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة وشبه جزيرة سيناء والجولان السوري ومزارع شبعا اللبنانية…

العامل الثاني، قوة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية الأولى في العالم، والتي تشكل الداعم الأول والاساسي، بعد الدول الغربية، لكيان العدو الصهيوني.. والتي تؤمّن له الحماية وتدعمه في حروبه لتحقيق أهدافها الاستعمارية التي أرادتها أصلاً من وراء زرع هذا الكيان في فلسطين، قلب العالم العربي.

العامل الثالث، الأنظمة العربية الرجعية التابعة للولايات المتحدة والدول الغربية.. فهذه الأنظمة لعبت دوراً خطيراً في مساعدة القوى الاستعمارية في احتلال الصهاينة أرض فلسطين وإقامة كيانهم الغاصب، وكانت هذه الأنظمة، ولا تزال، تقف وراء التآمر مع القوى الاستعمارية ضدّ الأنظمة التقدمية التحررية وحركات المقاومة لإضعاف جبهة المقاومة في مواجهة المشروع الغربي الصهيوني..

لكن من يدقق في عوامل القوة الثلاث، المذكورة آنفاً، والتي كانت في أساس نشوء كيان العدو وتمكينه من التوسع والسيطرة في فلسطين والدول العربية المجاورة، لا بدّ له أن يلاحظ أنها باتت تعاني من التراجع والعجز والضعف في القدرة على تحقيق أهدافها، مما جعل كيان العدو في حالة قلق على مستقبل وجوده في فلسطين المحتلة وحسم الصراع لمصلحته:

1 ـ دخول الكيان الصهيوني في مرحلة الانكفاء والتراجع الاستراتيجي، انطلاقاً من لبنان، حيث تحوّل غزوه له إلى وبال عليه بعد نشوء مقاومة جديدة على رأسها قيادة ثورية لا تساوم ولا تهادن وتملك الرؤية الإستراتيجية والشجاعة والعزم والتصميم على مواجهة جيش الاحتلال والحاق الهزائم المتتالية به.. والتي توّجت بهزيمته المدوية في عام 2000 بإجباره للمرة الأولى في تاريخ الصراع العربي ـ الصهيوني، وتحت ضربات المقاومة، على الرحيل عن معظم الأراضي اللبنانية التي كان يحتلها بلا قيد أو شرط أو أيّ ثمن مقابل، بعد أن أسقطت مقاومة الشعب اللبناني اتفاق الذلّ والإذعان، اتفاق 17 أيار، وأسقطت معه الحلم الصهيوني في جعل لبنان البلد العربي الثاني الذي يوقع اتفاق الصلح والاعتراف معه وتحويله إلى بلد تابع له أمنياً وسياسياً واقتصادياً…

على أنّ هذه الهزيمة القاسية التي ألحقتها المقاومة بجيش الاحتلال حطمت أسطورته وكسرت شوكته، وأسقطت الوهم الذي كان سائداً في الساحة العربية حول عدم قدرة المقاومة على مواجهة الجيش الصهيوني الذي كان يصوَّر بأنه قوة أسطورية لا تُقهر.. وقدمت المقاومة النموذج والمثال على إمكانية تحرير الأرض ودحر المحتلّ إذا ما توافرت القيادة الشجاعة والرؤية الثورية والإرادة والتصميم..

ومنذ هزيمة العدو عام ألفين بات جيش الاحتلال يعاني من عقدة اسمها لبنان، على غرار عقد أميركا في فيتنام، ولهذا حاولت القيادة الصهيونية التخلص من هذه العقدة واسترداد الثقة التي اهتزّت بقدرة الجيش الصهيوني على تحقيق أهدافه، لدى الرأي العام الصهيوني، عبر العمل للقضاء على هذه المقاومة، وإعادة بعث مناخات اليأس والإحباط والهزيمة لدى الشارع العربي.. غير أنّ هذه المحاولة مُنيت بهزيمة أكبر عندما فشلت محاولات إثارة الفتنة ضدّ المقاومة عبر اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري، وتعرّض جيش العدو لهزيمة أكبر وأقسى أمام المقاومة عام 2006، كرّست هزيمته الإستراتيجية وعمّقت أزمة الثقة بقدرته على تحقيق النصر في مواجهة المقاومة الجديدة.. وبفعل ذلك دخلت القوة الصهيونية في مرحلة العجز وتآكل قدرتها الردعية التي ازدادت تآكلاً مع تحقيق المزيد من الانتصارات وتعاظم قوة المقاومة وحلفائها في غزة وسورية والعراق واليمن، وتنامي قوة الجمهورية الإسلامية الايرانية، وما الاعتراف الاخير لاستخبارات العدو بامتلاك المقاومة مئات الصواريخ الدقيقة إلا دليل جديد على مدى التطوّر الحاصل في القدرات الردعيّة للمقاومة المنتصرة في مقابل تآكل وتراجع قوة الردع الصهيونية، التي يزداد عجزها وانكفاؤها وعدم قدرتها على الذهاب إلى شنّ الحرب لعدم التيقن من تحقيق النصر من ناحية، والخوف من تحوّل الحرب الى هزيمة استراتيجية جديدة تلحق بكيان العدو وتفضي إلى نجاح المقاومة في تحرير شمال فلسطين المحتلة مما سيؤذن بانهيار المشروع الصهيوني على أرض فلسطين من ناحية ثانية…

هذا التطوّر في قوة وقدرات المقاومة التي جعلت من لبنان قوة يخافها ويهابها كيان العدو، باتت أيضاً تستند إلى تنامي قوة حلفائها في محور المقاومة.. لذلك فإنّ المقاومة في لبنان أسّست بانتصاراتها وتعاظم قوتها للهزيمة والتراجع والانكفاء الاستراتيجي للمشروع الصهيوني.

2 ـ انكسار وضعف هيمنة الإمبراطورية الأميركية، دولياً وإقليمياً، نتيجة التراجع الذي أصاب عناصر القوة الأميركية.. اقتصادياً وعسكرياً وسياسياً، وهو ما بات يتجلى بشكل واضح في التالي:

أ ـ الهزائم العسكرية التي مُنيت بها الولايات المتحدة في العراق وأفغانستان وفشل حروبها الإرهابية في تحقيق ما عجزت عنه قوتها العسكرية.. ونشوء موازين قوى عسكرية في سورية في مواجهة القوة الأميركية بفعل الحضور العسكري الروسي.

ب ـ انتهاء زمن سيطرة الاقتصاد الأميركي على الأسواق وتحكمه بها، بفعل اشتداد المنافسة الدولية للاقتصاد الأميركي، نتيجة التطور الاقتصادي الذي حققته العديد من الدول وفي مقدمها الصين التي باتت في عام 2020 تحتلّ المرتبة الأولى عالمياً في معدلات النمو الايجابي بنسبة 5.8 بالمئة، فيما الاقتصاد الأميركي يعاني من الكساد…

ج ـ تراجع تأثير الولايات المتحدة في مجلس الأمن، وظهر ذلك في العزلة التي واجهت واشنطن نتيجة المعارضة الشبة الشاملة لمشاريع قراراتها لعدم رفع العقوبات الدولية عن إيران.

3 ـ تراجع قوة الأنظمة الرجعية وانكشاف دورها التآمري مما أضعف من دورها في خدمة المخططات الأميركية الصهيونية، لا سيما المملكة السعودية التي تشكل أخطر قوة رجعية في خدمة المشروع الاستعماري، حيث غرقت في حرب استنزاف كبيرة في اليمن مما حدّ كثيراً من قدراتها المالية ومن دورها التآمري على قوى المقاومة…

انطلاقاً مما تقدّم علينا فهم لماذا تتعرّض المقاومة في لبنان الى هذا الهجوم الشرس منذ تحقيقها الانتصار التاريخي والاستراتيجي عام 2000، لأنّ هذه المقاومة الجديدة حققت ما يلي:

ـ قدمت النموذج والمثال والقدرة على إلحاق الهزيمة بجيش العدو الصهيوني، وأدخلته في مرحلة الانكفاء الاستراتيجي.

ـ أعادت إلى السطح المأزق الوجودي للكيان الصهيوني وفجرت أزمته البنيوية، وجعلته يعيش في حالة عدم استقرار على مستقبله، وعدم ثقة بقدرة جيشه على حماية المشروع الصهيوني وتحقيق النصر ضدّ المقاومة.

ـ أحيت الأمل بتحقيق تطلعات الجماهير العربية بتحرير فلسطين وكلّ الأرض العربية المحتلة، وتحقيق العزة والكرامة والتحرر من كلّ أشكال الاستعمار، وأكدت لها بالدليل الملموس بأنّ ذلك لم يعد مجرد حلم، بل بات أمراً ممكناً وواقعياً لا يحتاج سوى إلى مواصلة السير على نهج هذه المقاومة وقيادتها التي برهنت على ثوريتها وقدرتها على خوض الصراع والمقاومة المسلحة ضدّ العدو الصهيوني وتحقيق النصر تلو النصر عليه، وإجباره على التراجع والانكفاء تلو الانكفاء.

ـ لأنّ المقاومة اليوم باتت جزءاً من حلف كبير في المنطقة يحقق الانتصارات في مواجهة المشروع الأميركي الغربي الصهيوني وأدواته الرجعية العربية والإرهابية، وباتت تشكل خطراً داهماً على المشروع الاستعماري في كلّ المنطقة، كون هزيمة الكيان الصهيوني تعتبر هزيمة للمشروع الاستعماري كله، الذي يرتكز إليه في إدامة هيمنته وسيطرته..

لذلك فإنّ ما هو مطلوب اليوم التفافاً أكثر من أيّ وقت حول المقاومة، ودعماً واحتضاناً لها، والقتال معها في مواجهة كلّ أنواع الحروب التي تتعرّض لها، وعدم الوقوع في فخ التحريض عليها، تحت عناوين اتهامها بالتدخل في خارج لبنان، وبالتبعية لإيران ـ الثورة التحررية، فالمقاومة لا تتدخل في سورية إنما تشارك مع الجيش السوري في مواجهة الحرب الإرهابية التي تشنّها أميركا والتي تستهدف الدولة السورية المقاومة، ومن خلالها كلّ حلف المقاومة، ولهذا فإنّ التخلي عن سورية إنما هو تخلّ عن المقاومة نفسها، اما الجمهورية الإسلامية فإنّ العلاقة معها إنما هي من منطلقات واحدة تقوم على مواجهة الاحتلال الصهيوني والهيمنة الاستعمارية، ولهذا فإنّ إيران الثورة هي حليف استراتيجي للمقاومة وقوى التحرّر في المنطقة والعالم…

على أنّ السؤال يجب أن يطرح على نحو آخر… لماذا قوى الاستعمار والصهيونية والرجعية موحدة في شنّ الحرب ضدّ حلف المقاومة، ومطلوب ان لا يتوحّد الحلف في مواجهة الحرب التي تشنّ ضدّ طرف من أطرافه انْ في سورية أو العراق أو اليمن أو فلسطين، فالمعركة واحدة لا تتجزأ، ولا يجب بأيّ حال من الأحوال أن نقبل بتجزئتها، بل أنّ المطلوب المزيد من التنسيق والتعاون العسكري والأمني والسياسي والاقتصادي والإعلامي إلخ… في خوض المعركة ضدّ قوى الاحتلال والاستعمار وأدواتهم الرجعية والإرهابية، بذلك فقط نحبط مخططاتهم ونحقق الانتصارات ونبلغ النصر النهائي الذي لا يتحقق من دون تضحيات.. في حين انّ الاستسلام لشروط الأعداء سيكون ثمنه أكبر بكثير من مواصلة الصمود والمقاومة حتى تحقيق آمال وطموحات وتطلعات شعبنا في التحرّر من الاحتلال والاستعمار…

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Soleimani geopolitics, one year on

Soleimani geopolitics, one year on

by Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

One year ago, the Raging Twenties started with a murder.

The assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi militia, by laser-guided Hellfire missiles launched from two MQ-9 Reaper drones, was an act of war.

Not only the drone strike at Baghdad airport, directly ordered by President Trump, was unilateral, unprovoked and illegal: it was engineered as a stark provocation, to detonate an Iranian reaction that would then be countered by American “self-defense”, packaged as “deterrence”. Call it a perverse form of double down, reversed false flag.

The imperial Mighty Wurlitzer spun it as a “targeted killing”, a pre-emptive op squashing Soleimani’s alleged planning of “imminent attacks” against US diplomats and troops.

False. No evidence whatsoever. And then, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, in front of his Parliament, offered the ultimate context: Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission, on a regular flight between Damascus and Baghdad, involved in complex negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh, with the Iraqi Prime Minister as mediator, at the request of President Trump.

So the imperial machine – in complete mockery of international law – assassinated a de facto diplomatic envoy.

The three top factions who pushed for Soleimani’s assassination were US neo-cons – supremely ignorant of Southwest Asia’s history, culture and politics – and the Israeli and Saudi lobbies, who ardently believe their interests are advanced every time Iran is attacked. Trump could not possibly see The Big Picture and its dire ramifications: only what his major Israeli-firster donor Sheldon Adelson dictates, and what Jared of Arabia Kushner whispered in his ear, remote-controlled by his close pal Muhammad bin Salman (MbS).

The armor of American “prestige”

The measured Iranian response to Soleimani’s assassination was carefully calibrated to not detonate vengeful imperial “deterrence”:

precision missile strikes on the American-controlled Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq. The Pentagon received advance warning.

Predictably, the run-up towards the first anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination had to degenerate into intimations of US-Iran once again on the brink of war.

So it’s enlightening to examine what the Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Division, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1399/10/13/2423366/ told Lebanon’s Al Manar network: “The US and the Zionist regime [Israel] have not brought security to any place and if something happens here (in the region) and a war breaks out, we will make no distinction between the US bases and the countries hosting them.”

Hajizadeh, expanding on the precision missile strikes a year ago, added, “We were prepared for the Americans’ response and all our missile power was fully on alert. If they had given a response, we would have hit all of their bases from Jordan to Iraq and the Persian Gulf and even their warships in the Indian Ocean.”

The precision missile strikes on Ain al-Assad, a year ago, represented a middle-rank power, enfeebled by sanctions, and facing a huge economic/financial crisis, responding to an attack by targeting imperial assets that are part of the Empire of Bases. That was a global first – unheard of since the end of WWII. It was clearly interpreted across vast swathes of the Global South as fatally piercing the decades-old hegemonic armor of American” prestige”.

So Tehran was not exactly impressed by two nuclear-capable B-52s recently flying over the Persian Gulf; or the US Navy announcing the arrival of the nuclear-powered, missile loaded USS Georgia in the Persian Gulf last week.

These deployments were spun as a response to an evidence-free claim that Tehran was behind a 21-rocket attack against the sprawling American embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

The (unexploded) 107mm caliber rockets – by the way marked in English, not Farsi – can be easily bought in some underground Baghdad souk by virtually anybody, as I have seen for myself in Iraq since the mid-2000s.

That certainly does not qualify as a casus belli – or “self-defense” merging with “deterrence”. The Centcom justification actually sounds like a Monty Python sketch: an attack “…almost certainly conducted by an Iranian-backed rogue militia group.” Note that “almost certainly” is code for “we have no idea who did it”.

How to fight the – real – war on terror

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif did take the trouble (see attached tweet) to warn Trump he was being set up for a fake casus belli – and blowback would be inevitable. That’s a case of Iranian diplomacy being perfectly aligned with the IRGC: after all, the whole post-Soleimani strategy comes straight from Ayatollah Khamenei.

And that leads to the IRGC’s Hajizadeh once again establishing the Iranian red line in terms of the Islamic Republic’s defense: “We will not negotiate about the missile power with anyone” – pre-empting any move to incorporate missile reduction into a possible Washington return to the JCPOA. Hajizadeh has also emphasized that Tehran has restricted the range of its missiles to 2,000 km.

My friend Elijah Magnier, arguably the top war correspondent across Southwest Asia in the past four decades, has neatly detailed the importance of Soleimani.

Everyone not only along the Axis of Resistance – Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah – but across vast swathes of the Global South is firmly aware of how Soleimani led the fight against ISIS/Daesh in Iraq from 2014 to 2015, and how he was instrumental in retaking Tikrit in 2015.

Zeinab Soleimani, the impressive General’s daughter, has profiled the man, and the sentiments he inspired. And Hezbollah’s secretary-general Sayed Nasrallah, in an extraordinary interview, stressed Soleimani’s “great humility”, even “with the common people, the simple people.”

Nasrallah tells a story that is essential to place Soleimani’s modus operandi in the real – not fictional – war on terror, and deserves to be quoted in full:

“At that time, Hajj Qassem traveled from Baghdad airport to Damascus airport, from where he came (directly) to Beirut, in the southern suburbs. He arrived to me at midnight. I remember very well what he said to me: “At dawn you must have provided me with 120 (Hezbollah) operation commanders.” I replied “But Hajj, it’s midnight, how can I provide you with 120 commanders?” He told me that there was no other solution if we wanted to fight (effectively) against ISIS, to defend the Iraqi people, our holy places [5 of the 12 Imams of Twelver Shi’ism have their mausoleums in Iraq], our Hawzas [Islamic seminars], and everything that existed in Iraq. There was no choice. “I don’t need fighters. I need operational commanders [to supervise the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, PMU].” This is why in my speech [about Soleimani’s assassination], I said that during the 22 years or so of our relationship with Hajj Qassem Soleimani, he never asked us for anything. He never asked us for anything, not even for Iran. Yes, he only asked us once, and that was for Iraq, when he asked us for these (120) operations commanders. So he stayed with me, and we started contacting our (Hezbollah) brothers one by one. We were able to bring in nearly 60 operational commanders, including some brothers who were on the front lines in Syria, and whom we sent to Damascus airport [to wait for Soleimani], and others who were in Lebanon, and that we woke up from their sleep and brought in [immediately] from their house as the Hajj said he wanted to take them with him on the plane that would bring him back to Damascus after the dawn prayer. And indeed, after praying the dawn prayer together, they flew to Damascus with him, and Hajj Qassem traveled from Damascus to Baghdad with 50 to 60 Lebanese Hezbollah commanders, with whom he went to the front lines in Iraq. He said he didn’t need fighters, because thank God there were plenty of volunteers in Iraq. But he needed [battle-hardened] commanders to lead these fighters, train them, pass on experience and expertise to them, etc. And he didn’t leave until he took my pledge that within two or three days I would have sent him the remaining 60 commanders.”

Orientalism, all over again

A former commander under Soleimani that I met in Iran in 2018 had promised me and my colleague Sebastiano Caputo that he would try to arrange an interview with the Maj Gen – who never spoke to foreign media. We had no reason to doubt our interlocutor – so until the last Baghdad minute we were in this selective waiting list.

As for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killed side by side with Soleimani in the Baghdad drone strike, I was part of a small group who spent an afternoon with him in a safe house inside – not outside – Baghdad’s Green Zone in November 2017. My full report is here.

Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran, reflecting on the assassination, told me, “the most important thing is that the Western view on the situation is very Orientalist. They assume that Iran has no real structures and that everything is dependent on individuals. In the West an assassination doesn’t destroy an administration, company, or organization. Ayatollah Khomeini passed away and they said the revolution was finished. But the constitutional process produced a new leader within hours. The rest is history.”

This may go a long way to explain Soleimani geopolitics. He may have been a revolutionary superstar – many across the Global South see him as the Che Guevara of Southwest Asia – but he was most of all a quite articulated cog of a very articulated machine.

The adjunct President of the Iranian Parliament, Hossein Amirabdollahian, told Iranian network Shabake Khabar that Soleimani, two years before the assassination, had already envisaged an inevitable “normalization” between Israel and Persian Gulf monarchies.

At the same time he was also very much aware of the Arab League 2002 position – shared, among others, by Iraq, Syria and Lebanon: a “normalization” cannot even begin to be discussed without an independent – and viable – Palestinian state under 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital.

Now everyone knows this dream is dead, if not completely buried. What remains is the usual, dreary slog: the American assassination of Soleimani, the Israeli assassination of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the relentless, relatively low-intensity Israeli warfare against Iran fully supported by the Beltway, Washington’s illegal occupation of parts of northeast Syria to grab some oil, the perpetual drive for regime change in Damascus, the non-stop demonization of Hezbollah.

Beyond the Hellfire

Tehran has made it very clear that a return to at least a measure of mutual respect between US-Iran involves Washington rejoining the JCPOA with no preconditions, and the end of illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions. These parameters are non-negotiable.

Nasrallah, for his part, in a speech in Beirut on Sunday, stressed,

“one of the main outcomes of the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis is the calls made for the expulsion of US forces from the region. Such calls had not been made prior to the assassination. The martyrdom of the resistance leaders set US troops on the track of leaving Iraq.”

This may be wishful thinking, because the military-industrial-security complex will never willingly abandon a key hub of the Empire of Bases.

More important is the fact that the post-Soleimani environment transcends Soleimani.

The Axis of Resistance – Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Hezbollah – instead of collapsing, will keep getting reinforced.

Internally, and still under “maximum pressure” sanctions, Iran and Russia will be cooperating to produce Covid-19 vaccines, and the Pasteur Institute of Iran will co-produce a vaccine with a Cuban company.

Iran is increasingly solidified as the key node of the New Silk Roads in Southwest Asia: the Iran-China strategic partnership is constantly revitalized by FMs Zarif and Wang Yi, and that includes Beijing turbo-charging its geoeconomic investment in South Pars – the largest gas field on the planet.

Iran, Russia and China will be involved in the reconstruction of Syria – which will also include, eventually, a New Silk Road branch: the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Eastern Mediterranean railway.

All that is an interlinked, ongoing process no Hellfires are able to burn.

Sayyed Nasrallah: Assassinating Soleimani, Al-Muhandis Set the US Troops on the Track of Being Expelled from the Region

Sayyed Nasrallah: Assassinating Soleimani, Al-Muhandis Set the US Troops on the Track of Being Expelled from the Region

By Zeinab Abdallah

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech on Sunday marking the first martyrdom anniversary of the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG] Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units [PMU] second-in-command Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their companions.

The martyrs were assassinated in a US drone strike ordered by outgoing President Donald Trump a year ago near Baghdad International Airport while martyr Soleimani was on an official visit to the country on January 3rd, 2020.

At the beginning of his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah condoled with the demise of Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, a prominent Iranian scholar and philosopher.

His Eminence further extended condolences to the families of the commemorated martyrs, emphasizing that the painful tragedy will be commemorated in history minding its size and the blood that was shed during it, in addition to its repercussions on the entire region.

“We mustn’t deny the grace and the kindness of those leaders, and we admit this and talk about it to the people and the world,” Sayyed Nasrallah added, underscoring that “when we are loyal to our great martyrs who were faithful in shouldering the responsibility, it will come back to us in the worldly life and the afterlife.”

“One of the main factors of victory is loyalty, and loyalty requires us to thank all those who have backed us,” Sayyed Nasrallah noted.

His Eminence further highlighted the necessity of thanking Hajj Qassem Soleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis for all what they offered, in addition to all those who represent the martyrs for the sacrifices they offered.

Hailing martyr Soleimani as a hero and a global symbol of sacrifice, loyalty, and defending the oppressed, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that “What has been uncovered about the achievements Hajj Qassem has made is still little [in comparison with what is still unknown].”

“We’ve witnessed great and remarkable shows of loyalty to the blood of the martyr leaders since their martyrdom until today,” Sayyed Nasrallah said in reference to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Turkey and many Muslim and non-Muslim nations, pointing that “we in Lebanon are also concerned with showing this loyalty to those leaders.”

Since the year 2000 until this day, the Resistance was the side that is protecting and defending Lebanon, the Hezbollah leader noted, stressing that Lebanon’s main source of pride is the Resistance which was unconditionally backed by Iran.

“Iran’s support to the Resistance in Lebanon and Palestine has been unconditional,” Sayyed Nasrallah made clear.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Resistance leader slammed certain Lebanese media outlets that tended on Saturday to fabricate a statement made by the IRG Aerospace Division Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizdeh: “There are in Lebanon certain sides that take fabrication and falsification as a profession.”

“It is true that we in Lebanon are a frontline, also is Gaza, but Hajizadeh didn’t say that we are a frontline for Iran, but a frontline to confront the ‘Israeli’ occupation,” Sayyed Nasrallah underscored.

“The resistance is the only side capable of protecting Lebanon’s oil resources thanks to its weapons, in addition to the Iranian and Syrian support,” His Eminence noted, reiterating that “The resistance in Lebanon is among the most independent resistance movements in history.”

Lebanon and Gaza are naturally the frontlines of the Muslim Nation due to their geographical position near the Zionist entity, and tensions have been high in the region and the Zionist entity is on alert on the first martyrdom anniversary of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, Sayyed Nasrallah went on to say.

“We in Lebanon cannot equalize between those who backed us with their stance, money, weapons, and were martyred by our side, and between those who conspired against us and supported the ‘Israeli’ enemy, Sayyed Nasrallah said, setting a similar equation for the regional countries such as Palestine, Syria, and Iraq.

“The Palestinian resistance factions couldn’t equalize between those who support it and those who conspire against the Palestinian people and their sanctities. Syria couldn’t equalize between those who conspired against it and supported the Takfiri groups, and between those who defended it and supported it. The Iraqis couldn’t equalize between those who sent them Takfir suicide-bombers and between those who helped them liberate their lands.”

The Hezbollah leader then hailed the Axis of Resistance, nation, peoples, the resistance movements and their political parties, and the regional countries that have shown loyalty and appreciation to the martyrs Soleimani and al-Muhandis.

“There are major concerns among the Gulf countries, and ‘Israel’ has raised alertness ahead of the martyrdom anniversary of leaders Soleimani and al-Muhandis,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, explaining that “Tension is high in the region and we don’t know where would any incident end up; some assume that Iran would depend on its friends to respond, but when Iran wants to respond it will do it by itself had it been via a security or a military response.”

His Eminence further made clear that “The friends of Iran are the ones who decide if they wanted to respond to this crime, and Iran is not weak, it is strong and it decides how and when it responds.” He also admitted that the Axis of Resistance was able to contain the big strike of assassinating martyr Soleimani.

“The US supposed that by assassinating Hajj Qassem it would weaken Iran and the Axis of Resistance, but we are the ones who know how to turn this threat into an opportunity,” Sayyed Nasrallah outlined before addressing the US, ‘Israel’ and all those conspiring against the resistance: “When you kill our leaders, we will be more stubborn, solid and adherent to our rights.”

His Eminence also warned those betting on weakening us through killing, wars, and booby-trapped cars, telling them that they are delusional.

While noting that the slogan of expelling the US from the region wouldn’t have been applicable before the assassination of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the martyrdom of leaders Soleimani and al-Muhandis has set the US troops on the track of leaving Iraq and the region.

US President Donald Trump said that the US has found Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group], and this is true because there are reasons behind the existence of Daesh, Sayyed Nasrallah added.

Regarding the recent clampdown targeting Hezbollah’s financial institutions, Sayyed Nasrallah uncovered the party’s information that “the US has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for media outlets to produce reports about the al-Qard al-Hassan Association.”

While referring to blacklisting Hezbollah as a psychological goal to frighten the Lebanese people, Sayyed Nasrallah addressed those behind it in much confident tone: “Even if you besieged us in the land, we have the mountains, the sky, the seas, the angels, and all of Allah’s creatures that we know and don’t know. We have Allah by our side, and whatever you did you will fail, it is because those who depend on Allah will emerge victorious. Victory is not but from Allah.”

His Eminence said before finishing his speech that he will appear in the coming days to tackle several important Lebanese issues he wanted to give sufficient time.

Sayyed Nasrallah: When You Kill Our Leaders We Become More Determined, Firm And Unswerving To The Right

Sayyed Nasrallah: When You Kill Our Leaders We Become More Determined, Firm And Unswerving To The Right

Translated and Subtitled by Staff

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reiterated Imam Khomeini’s words: “Kill us! For indeed our nation will become more and more aware.”

His Eminence made the remarks in the occasion marking the first martyrdom anniversary of resistance leaders Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their companions.

Nasrallah about Qassem Soleimani and his victory against ISIS in Iraq


Date: 3 January 2021

Author: lecridespeuples

Interview with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah devoted to Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the al-Quds Force (whose ultimate goal is the Liberation of Jerusalem) of the Revolutionary Guards, on the occasion of the 40th day after his death, February 13, 2020.

January 3, 2021 commemorates the 1st anniversary of the assassinations of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. On this occasion, we are translating a few excerpts from this 2-hours long interview.

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2099

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

Journalist: […] You mentioned on several occasions the concept “School of Hajj Qassem Soleimani”. His Eminence the Guide (Khamenei) also referred to it. What meaning do you give to this concept? Can you explain it to us? What does the concept “School of Hajj Qassem” mean?

Hassan Nasrallah: Of course, this concept originated from the Way of Imam Khomeini, may God be pleased with him, from the School of Imam Khomeini. But we can say that in practice and in the field, in all the responsibilities that Hajj Qassem has assumed and everything he has endured, we can speak of a Way, in the sense —and it may be something deliberate— of a certain thought, of a set of thoughts, of a particular culture, of a specific way of doing things… I will give you some examples. Of course, we are talking about an issue that deserves (in-depth) thought and study, but I will give a few quick illustrations.

For example, Hajj Qassem is the leader of a force of the (Revolutionary) Guards [he says it in Persian]. He could stay in Iran, in Tehran, and tell others (Resistance Axis forces) to come to him regularly for a meeting, so that he can listen to them, and follow their affairs (from a distance) in a simple and routinely fashion. Or, if he visited them, whether in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or elsewhere, he could for example (only do it) once every 6 months or once a year, he could just visit them once in a while to find out and inquire. In general, this is the way some (high-ranking) leaders act.

The Path of Hajj Qassem is to go to the field of action, to the battlefield, to (constantly) go himself to others. Since 1998 (year in which Soleimani became the leader of the Al-Quds Forces), since our knowledge and our relationship with Hajj Qassem began, that is to say for twenty years, 21 or 22 years, the number of times we have been to him (in Iran) is very limited. But for his part, he always came to us, very often. Of course, the very fact of coming to the field, to the battlefield, to meet the (Hezbollah) brothers here, to meet them all, to go directly to the field, to hear (directly) from the fighters and Mujahedeen, this has enormous benefits and advantages in terms of leadership and administration.

Date: 3 January 2021Author: lecridespeuples0 Comments

Interview with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah devoted to Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Commander of the al-Quds Force (whose ultimate goal is the Liberation of Jerusalem) of the Revolutionary Guards, on the occasion of the 40th day after his death, February 13, 2020.

January 3, 2021 commemorates the 1st anniversary of the assassinations of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. On this occasion, we are translating a few excerpts from this 2-hours long interview.

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2099

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

Journalist: […] You mentioned on several occasions the concept “School of Hajj Qassem Soleimani”. His Eminence the Guide (Khamenei) also referred to it. What meaning do you give to this concept? Can you explain it to us? What does the concept “School of Hajj Qassem” mean?

Hassan Nasrallah: Of course, this concept originated from the Way of Imam Khomeini, may God be pleased with him, from the School of Imam Khomeini. But we can say that in practice and in the field, in all the responsibilities that Hajj Qassem has assumed and everything he has endured, we can speak of a Way, in the sense —and it may be something deliberate— of a certain thought, of a set of thoughts, of a particular culture, of a specific way of doing things… I will give you some examples. Of course, we are talking about an issue that deserves (in-depth) thought and study, but I will give a few quick illustrations.

For example, Hajj Qassem is the leader of a force of the (Revolutionary) Guards [he says it in Persian]. He could stay in Iran, in Tehran, and tell others (Resistance Axis forces) to come to him regularly for a meeting, so that he can listen to them, and follow their affairs (from a distance) in a simple and routinely fashion. Or, if he visited them, whether in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or elsewhere, he could for example (only do it) once every 6 months or once a year, he could just visit them once in a while to find out and inquire. In general, this is the way some (high-ranking) leaders act.

The Path of Hajj Qassem is to go to the field of action, to the battlefield, to (constantly) go himself to others. Since 1998 (year in which Soleimani became the leader of the Al-Quds Forces), since our knowledge and our relationship with Hajj Qassem began, that is to say for twenty years, 21 or 22 years, the number of times we have been to him (in Iran) is very limited. But for his part, he always came to us, very often. Of course, the very fact of coming to the field, to the battlefield, to meet the (Hezbollah) brothers here, to meet them all, to go directly to the field, to hear (directly) from the fighters and Mujahedeen, this has enormous benefits and advantages in terms of leadership and administration.

First, it strengthens these fighters (by giving them morale), and expresses the respect and affection he has for them. “It is I who always come to you, I am at your service. Do not bother to come to me in Iran, it is I who come to you.” For those in charge (of Hezbollah or other Resistance movements) on the ground (and for the fighters), (this attitude) has (huge) ethical and moral consequences. Second, it allows him to hear all opinions, all points of view (directly), not just the opinion of the people who would come to him (in Iran) to express their (own) point of view. This helps him to have a clearer, more global and fairer idea (of the reality on the ground). Third, it helps him to access all (hierarchical) levels, right down to the front line fighters, and to hear them talk about their problems, their shortcomings, their needs, their remarks, etc. Fourth, it gives him a deeper, more comprehensive, and broader idea of ​​(all) the battlefileds for which he is responsible. He does not rely (only) on reading the reports written by the (various high-level) officials, no! He goes into the field in person to see with his own eyes, to listen (to first hand information), and to discuss and debate with all levels. This is one of the meanings of the Way of Hajj Qassem. This is an unusual way of doing things, especially with a military general (among the highest ranking in Iran). Certainly, perhaps at the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq war, the great (Iranian) commanders came down to the ground, to the fighters, but it is something specific to Iran that is not done outside of Iran. But this is one aspect (of the Way of Hajj Qassem).

Another aspect is the absence of fatigue and lassitude. (In Iran), you say [Nasrallah cites a phrase in Persian]. He never gets tired. We are all prone to fatigue. Sometimes we feel that things are weighing very heavily on us, we are under great pressure (bordering on the unbearable), but the Hajj would work (tirelessly) for long hours, even when he must have been exhausted. I remember that during one of his visits (to Lebanon) he suffered from a very bad toothache, and (it is well known) that such pain is unbearable. We suggested to bring in a dentist, but he replied, “Not now, after our meeting.” That is, after 6 hours of going through the pain, while leading and attending the meeting, making (crucial) decisions, and only at the very end he would go to the dentist. The capacity for endurance and patience of Hajj Qassem in the face of fatigue and the most severe difficulties is quite exceptional. I have never known anyone, and I am by no means exaggerating, who can endure so much fatigue, straining, lack of sleep, etc., as much as Hajj Qassem.

Another important aspect of his personality is his thoroughness. He was extremely thorough and diligent. He was constantly following (the different files) [Nasrallah illustrates this point with an expression in Persian]. For example, someone can agree (on something) with someone else, then after a week, two or three, inquire about the issue or not, check it or not, but not the Hajj Qassem. From the second or third day, he would inquire about its progress, he would follow (all matters) precisely and insistently. And of course, he didn’t do it in a rushed (and sloppy) way, but in a precise, detailed and responsive way. This is one aspect of the Way of Hajj Qassem.

Journalist: Looks like he always kept the energy of a young man.

Hassan Nasrallah: Maybe another person would think that he will have plenty of time to follow up or inquire about this or that during the coming months, but not Hajj Qassem, (who followed the issues almost day to day). It was very important for him not to waste time. For example, what could be done in five years (for others) had to be completed in one or two years (with him), thanks to his insistence and his diligent follow-up of all matters.

Another aspect of his personality is his great humility. He was extremely humble. And his humility had a great influence. You know that in general soldiers, when in combat, feel strong and powerful, and can show arrogance, haughtiness, pride, etc. Hajj Qassem was a very humble person, even with the common people, the simple people. This is one aspect of his Way. Of course, we must all be humble, but the fact that this commander, with his position and this (enormous responsibility that weighs on him), is so humble with everyone, is something very important.

The Way of Hajj Qassem is that of facing dangers. He always went into the lion’s den, to the front lines, braving death. I didn’t agree with him on this point. I always insisted that he stay in the background, making arrangements for that. But we were all unable to stop him from going to the front lines. He is the man who is always present in the (most) difficult times, the (most) dark days, always putting himself in harm’s way. For example, during the July 2006 war, the 33-day war, he traveled from Tehran to Damascus, then contacted us to tell us that he wanted to come to us, in the southern suburbs of Beirut (Hezbollah stronghold). We replied (incredulously): “How? It’s impossible!” Bridges had been destroyed, roads cut, Israeli warplanes were hitting all targets (real or suspected) and so on. It was a situation of all-out war! It (seemed) impossible to bring him to us, in the southern suburbs of Beirut. But he insisted a lot, telling us that if we didn’t send him a car, he would come on his own. He insisted, and he came to us. And he stayed with us for the whole duration of the war.

See Qassem Soleimani’s Revelations on the 2006 war

Likewise for the events in Syria and Iraq, in the fight against ISIS, our Iraqi brothers also told us that he was always on the front line, walking on the front line. It’s something exceptional. Normally, generals stand back and lead armies or brigades (from the rear), at least in regular armies, with the exception of the Iran-Iraq war which is a special experience.

Anyway, in truth, all that can be said about the Way of Hajj Qassem comes from Imam Khomeini and his school, and from the indications of His Eminence the Guide (Khamenei), may God preserve him, and the experience of the Iran-Iraq war. It was a grandiose experience in terms of its ideological, cultural, spiritual and military consequences. We found this awe-inspiring experience embodied in the personality of Hajj Qassem.

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I could say a lot more about the Way of Hajj Qassem Soleimani, but I will content myself with these elements and answer your (other) questions. […]

Journalist: Can you tell us about common memories with him concerning the crisis in Iraq and Syria? What help has he asked from you?

Hassan Nasrallah: So we’re not talking about the latest developments in Iraq, (but) about the emergence of ISIS. When ISIS first appeared in Iraq, and this organization began to take over a number of Iraqi provinces, it turned out that the situation was critical. The Iraqi military was unable to cope with the situation, due (to its dismantling by the American occupier and) to the collapses that occurred. I have heard from several Iraqi officials that many weapons warehouses were empty of ammunition and shells. The moral and psychological situation (was catastrophic).

Hajj Qassem therefore visited Baghdad in person, accompanied by a group of Revolutionary Guard commanders. He made contact with the Iraqi brothers and with the factions of the Resistance with whom he had been in constant contact for a long time. He was the one who went on the field to (launch) the first counterattacks, he went ahead. And the well-known event on the Baghdad-Samarra road took place, in which Hajj Qassem Soleimani and other brothers present with them were nearly killed. A few days after this incident, or at the same time, Grand Ayatollah Sayed Sistani, may God preserve him, issued his famous and historic fatwa (enjoining Iraqis to wage jihad against ISIS), declaring a state of alert and urging the Iraqi people & warring factions to go massively to the front lines. But all this needed organization.

سردار سرلشکر قاسم سلیمانی به‌همراه ابومهدی المهندس در عراق به شهادت رسید/  حمله آمریکا به کاروان الحشد الشعبی در بغداد- اخبار نظامی | دف - اخبار سیاسی  تسنیم - Tasnim

At that time, Hajj Qassem traveled from Baghdad airport to Damascus airport, from where he came (directly) to Beirut, in the southern suburbs. He arrived to me at midnight. I remember very well what he said to me: “At dawn you must have provided me with 120 (Hezbollah) operation commanders.” I replied “But Hajj, it’s midnight, how can I provide you with 120 commanders?” He told me that there was no other solution if we wanted to fight (effectively) against ISIS, to defend the Iraqi people, our holy places (5 of the 12 Imams of Twelver Shiism have their mausoleums in Iraq), our Hawzas (Islamic seminars), and everything that existed in Iraq. There was no choice. “I don’t need fighters. I need operational commanders (to supervise the Iraqi popular forces).” This is why in my speech (commemorating Soleimani’s assassination), I said that during the 22 years or so of our relationship with Hajj Qassem Soleimani, he never asked us for anything. He never asked us for anything, not even for Iran. Yes, he only asked us once, and that was for Iraq, when he asked us for these (120) operations commanders. So he stayed with me, and we started contacting our (Hezbollah) brothers one by one. We were able to bring in nearly 60 operational commanders, including some brothers who were on the front lines in Syria, and whom we sent to Damascus airport (to wait for Soleimani), and others who were in Lebanon, and that we woke up from their sleep and brought in (immediately) from their house as the Hajj said he wanted to take them with him on the plane that would bring him back to Damascus after the dawn prayer. And indeed, after praying the dawn prayer together, they flew to Damascus with him, and Hajj Qassem traveled from Damascus to Baghdad with 50 to 60 Lebanese Hezbollah commanders, with whom he went to the front lines in Iraq. He said he didn’t need fighters, because thank God there were plenty of volunteers in Iraq. But he needed (battle-hardened) commanders to lead these fighters, train them, pass on experience and expertise to them, etc. And he didn’t leave until he took my pledge that within two or three days I would have sent him the remaining 60 commanders.

Of course, that night I felt that in Hajj Qassem’s eyes the whole world was Iraq and the battle that was going on there. In truth, he was completely immersed in this battle, and he regarded it as decisive for the fate of the region. It was not allowed to be neglected. He was ready to be killed there. I told him, “Hajj, the brothers informed me that on the road from Baghdad to Samarra, you were in the convoy (which was attacked), and it is very dangerous.” He replied that he had no other choice, and that he had to move forward for others to move forward as well. “Time is running out, and we only have a tiny window to step in,” he told me. Now was not the time for caution and balance, but we had to give everything we had (in this battle). He was very moved by what was going on in Iraq and ready to be killed there 1000 times in order to save the Iraqi people, the holy mausoleums, the Hawzas, and to remove this danger from Iraq, the Islamic Republic and all the region. We all know that if ISIS had succeeded in seizing Iraq, it would have threatened Iran and the whole region. But those who would have paid the greatest price for the ISIS project are the Iraqis, the Iraqi people in the first place.

Journalist: When did you meet Hajj Abu Mahdi (al-Muhandis, assassinated with Soleimani)? When did you first meet him? Can you recall any memories of this meeting?

Hassan Nasrallah: I got to know Hajj Abu Mahdi in the early 1990s, around 1991-1992. I did not know him before that date, as he was then in Kuwait. Then I got to know him, and the first time I met him was in Tehran. He was one of the main commanders of the Badr Brigades [Iraqi troops who fought against Saddam in the war against Iran], which later became the Badr Organization. Quickly, a relationship of affection, friendship and respect developed between us. He also had good relations with our brothers in Lebanon, with Brother (Sayed Badreddine) Zulfiqar in particular (Hezbollah commander killed in Syria in 2016), with Hajj Imad Moghniyeh and the other brothers. And subsequently, this relationship developed after Hajj Qassem became the commander of the al-Quds Forces. From his position (of responsibility) in Iraq, Abu Mahdi’s relationship with Hajj Qassem (developed), as well as ours in Lebanon, which increased the ties we had with Abu Mahdi.

But our relationship with Abu Mahdi has truly strengthened in recent years, due to the events in Iraq and the fight against ISIS which has seen many Hezbollah members travel to Iraq to help the Hachd al-Cha’bi (Popular Mobilization Units) and Resistance factions. Our brothers were in constant contact with Hajj Abu Mahdi, who came to Lebanon several times to meet me. Only 3 months before his martyrdom, he was here in Lebanon. Once he even came with his family. During our last meeting several months ago, we talked for hours, discussing the situation in Iraq, assessing the security and military issues, how to strengthen Hachd al-Cha’bi as a genuine defender of the Iraqi people, etc. And because of the strength of our brotherhood, he said to me: “Militarily, ISIS is defeated, and there remains only a few isolated cells that will be (quickly) eliminated with the grace of God. But I fear to be still alive when the battle against ISIS is (truly) over.” And he put his hand on his beard, saying, “My beard is gray, and so is my hair, and after all these long years (of struggle), I really fear dying in my bed. I therefore urge you to pray to God the Most High and Exalted to grant me martyrdom.”

Naturally, in accordance with the edicts of His Eminence the Guide (Khamenei), may God preserve him, when someone asks the Guide to pray for him to obtain martyrdom, he is not asking God to hasten his martyrdom, but asks Him to grant him to ultimately die as a martyr. And he sometimes jokes, “I hope you’re over 80 (when God grants you martyrdom)!” The important thing is that we die a martyr, (but as late as possible). This is what I replied to Abu Mahdi, namely that I would not invoke God to hasten his martyrdom, but for his death to be that of a martyr, and I asked him to pray to God so that He grants us the same fate (martyrdom) as well. This happened during our last meeting.

I also want to say that our (intimate) knowledge of Abu Mahdi allows us to say that he was a very sincere, very loyal, very pious man. He had a high sense of responsibility, and he was a Mujaheed in the truest sense of the word. And glory to God, he has many points in common with Hajj Qassem Soleimani. And that is one of the reasons for the exceptional relationship between them.

واکنش حشد شعبی به عکس با عنوان «جاسوسی» که مسیر حاج قاسم را لو داد+ عکس |  خبرگزاری بین المللی شفقنا

Journalist: The war in Iraq forced Hajj Qassem to be more present on the battlefield. In truth, he was going to all the sensitive places on the front lines. And we’ve seen him a number of times during (dangerous) reconnaissance and other operations. Weren’t these conditions a great risk for his life? He would appear by surprise in the midst of the fighting. Why?

Hassan Nasrallah: He was always in danger, in great danger. On the front lines and on the battlefields he visited in Iraq and also in Syria, he was in constant danger. And he refused to be present only in the rear. He was going to the front line, and wanted to see things with his own eyes to assess the situation directly and first hand, and interact with the fighters on the front line. He wanted to meet them and be among them. That was his way. Of course, we blamed him constantly for that.

(It must be understood) that he was not doing this only because he longed for martyrdom. Some said that Hajj Qassem (only) sought martyrdom and sought the opportunity to be killed, and that this explained his presence on the front lines. This is not true, or at least it is not precise. For he also knew that he had a religious obligation, and that he had no right to expose himself to death unnecessarily. No! Hajj Qassem had a vision, which was true to a great extent: he said that this battle in Iraq and Syria required great endurance, great courage, perseverance on the battlefield. This could not be achieved by management from the rear, far from the front lines. The presence of a commander of a level like Hajj Qassem Soleimani’s on the front lines was of utmost importance to ensure this steadfastness of morale, souls and hearts. His very presence on such a front was enough to give enormous strength & morale to the combatants, helping them to stay, to persevere, to endure, despite all the dangers and all the difficulties they faced. Not to mention all the other benefits a commander can get from being as close as possible to field data.

But I consider, and this is what I heard him say when I debated this issue with him, that the moral, psychological and emotional aspect was of the utmost importance to him. And it’s the truth! You can see from the (countless) videos how he behaved with the young (fighters) on the front lines, in the trenches, (and how they reacted) when Hajj Qassem came to them. They embrace him, kiss his hand, cry, hug him, reproach him for coming to them (thus exposing himself to death), etc. This emotional influence is very important. This is why a (real) relationship of love, affection, passion was born and shaped between the fighters and Hajj Qassem Soleimani. This would never have happened if he was managing operations from behind. The cause of this great love for him is his direct & constant presence on the front lines.

Also, when all these videos and photos started showing up in the media and on social media, I told him about it, saying, “O Hajj, this is something very dangerous!” But he wasn’t doing it on purpose. When he went to the front line, he didn’t have cameras with him, but it was the (fighters) present there who filmed him, because as you know, they all have smartphones with which they photographed or filmed the Hajj and posted the images on social media. (When I reproached him for this), he replied “But these young (combatants) are on the front line, ready to sacrifice themselves, risking their lives at every moment. I dare not tell them to put these phones away or forbid them to film me because it puts me in danger.” That’s why he just let them do it. And in truth, the first images and videos of Hajj Qassem to be released were not broadcast by him or by the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) forces, but by the frontline fighters who filmed and photographed his visits and his presence among them and then put the images online. And that’s how these images spread on social media. There was no other choice. Because he would have felt ashamed to forbid these young fighters from filming him on the pretext that it would put him in danger, when they themselves were the most exposed to death. This is the real reason for Hajj Qassem’s presence in the media in recent years, which was by no means a deliberate act.

soleimani muhandis

Journalist: After the defeat of the Daeshi and Takfiri project in Iraq and Syria, did you meet Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis together?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes, the three of us met. This photo [cf. above] was taken in Lebanon in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The brothers made a montage (including all the martyrs killed alongside Soleimani and al-Muhandis), but in the original photo they are sitting on a couch in my office.

nasrallah montage

We were together. And there are also pictures of the three of us together, me, Hajj Qassem and Hajj Abu Mahdi.

نصرالله: هذا ما طلبه مني سليماني بعد سقوط الموصل وهكذا تأكدت من اغتياله مع  المهندس

We had a long meeting whose objective was to assess the latest events in Iraq, what we (Hezbollah) could do to help it in the next step, and on the other hand, in case a Israeli war against Lebanon or against the region would be triggered, we discussed what our Iraqi brothers could do to help us fight this war.

Hassan Nasrallah: I consider that one of the greatest blessings that God has bestowed upon me in my life, and His blessings for me were many and great, has been my relation and closeness with Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and this (very strong) friendship and brotherhood between us. What was between us was as strong as if we were really two brothers (from the same mother), whether it was the affection, love, feelings and friendship that bound us.

Likewise, we had the same way of thinking. We thought and saw things the same way, 98% of the time, if not 100%. But even for the 2% of topics where we might have different points of view, one of us could easily convince the other, due to the tremendous trust and love that there was between us.

Of course, on a personal level, the presence of Hajj Qassem was a huge support for me, as I am here on one of the battlefields and confrontations. I always longed for his company, and so did he. And I can tell you and the viewers that for the last 20 years, and especially the last 10 years and more, he’s been one of my closest brothers. If I want to mention a friend who is dear and precious to me, whom I love very much, who occupies a very important place in my heart and whose company I earnestly wish, in whom I have the greatest confidence, and whose presence gives me the most pleasure, I will immediately think of Hajj Qassem Soleimani.

In every person’s life, there are usually two or three people who are considered the closest friends. And as far as I’m concerned, one of them was Hajj Qassem Soleimani. May God have mercy on him.

nasrallah soleimani d

And personally, he knows (what he means to me). One day, I told him. I was always ready to sacrifice my life for him. One day, while we were praying together, after prayer, during invocations (following prayers), the following idea occurred to me: I imagined (this is only a hypothesis) that The Angel of Death came to me, and told me that he was going to Iran to take the soul of Qassem Soleimani. But God had made an exception this time. The Angel of Death told me that God had asked him to come see me first, and offer me an alternative (to the death of Qassem Soleimani). Instead, the Angel could take my soul. (I could die instead and save Soleimani). I wondered what I would have answered to this hypothetical proposition from the Angel of Death. Without any hesitation, I would tell him to take my life, and leave Hajj Qassem Soleimani (alive).

See the Testament of Martyr Major-General Qasem Soleimani

Later, I mentioned this to some (Hezbollah) brothers when we were debating. Because sometimes, due to the overload of work and responsibilities, some arguments can arise between us, and I told them that so that they understand what Hajj Qassem meant in my eyes.

Le baiser de la mort: photos inédites de Soleimani et Nasrallah | Coolamnews

One of the brothers was indignant, asking me how I could think of such a thing (sacrificing myself for Qassem Soleimani). I told him that this was due to two things: first, the immense love and affection I had for him, and the brotherhood that bound us; and second, the fact that I consider his existence to be much more useful to us, to Islam, Muslims, the (Arab-Muslim) Nation and Resistance (Axis) than mine. It is not just affection, but my highest consideration for the importance of this man and his blessed presence.

That’s what he meant to me personally.

Journalist: We thank you very much (for your time). We wish you all the best. With the Grace of God, we will witness the Liberation of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) soon, thanks to your leadership and that of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Khamenei). We wish you and all Resistance fighters health and salvation.

Hassan Nasrallah: May God grant you His blessings. May God preserve you and grant you His blessings. Anyway, I publicly declared and told his family that what happened to Hajj Qassem is the best thing that could have happened to him, and his greatest hope, has happened to him, namely this grandiose martyrdom.

May God have mercy on him.

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Washington’s ignorance is why the Empire will be kicked out of West Asia

Washington’s ignorance is why the Empire will be kicked out of West Asia

January 02, 2021

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

A year has passed since US President Donald Trump, like the coward he is, ordered the murder of General Qassem Soleimani and PMU second in command Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The Islamic Republic and the US were on the brink of all-out war as a result of the savage actions of the US President. Immediately after the act of terror, western journalists, think tanks and analysts started to speculate on whether the Islamic Republic was finished in the region.

“Soleimani’s death is a major blow to Iran” they said. Some even speculated or rather hoped that with Soleimani gone, the entire Islamic resistance would collapse as it now apparently looked leaderless.
The Americans and the Israelis made the same arrogant calculations, thinking that Soleimani was irreplaceable and that the Resistance Axis had been dealt a severe blow. Little do they understand how the Islamic Resistance works and why it exists.

Martyr Soleimani acted as the coordinator between Iran and its allies among the Islamic resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. The man commanded a lot of respect and was admired not just in the region but worldwide, which makes it easy to understand why he had to die. This terrorist act was consistent with US foreign policy since Trump assumed power as Washington has sought to humiliate, punish and bully Iran into submission through terrorism, siege warfare and threats.

This policy of humiliation was very apparent when Trump, the imbecile openly bragged about the murder and claimed that Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing. (I use the word imbecile to describe him because that is how the rest of the world sees him and I don’t care how much MAGA fans thinks he is a “genius” at home. To the world, the man is a vile and disgusting terrorist. So please, if you’re going to comment on this piece, know that I am no Democrat, I am not American and I couldn’t care less about how he is viewed over there)

So what exactly did Trump achieve with this act of terror?

One of Washington’s long-term goals has been committed to “isolating” Iran, thus weakening the Islamic Republic’s resolve. What they call “Iranian proxies” across the region have become a real headache for Washington and Tel Aviv. It is therefore no surprise that Iran’s allies are being targeted everywhere. The Islamic resistance has gained a lot of strength over the years. The Lebanese Hezbollah has become the strongest ally of Iran, the best armed and trained group in the Middle East, a fact that the Zionist entity is clearly worried over. In the words of IRGC General Mohammad-Reza Falahzadeh “the ability of the resistance front is today at its peak throughout the region and has defeated America, the Zionists and the Wahhabis.”

It is for this exact reason that Washington and Tel Aviv are so violent and hateful against Iran and its allies. “How dare these savage Muslims stand up against ‘the greatest and most freedom loving country’ in the history of mankind?”

Not only did the murder not manage to break up the Resistance Axis, but it actually made them stronger. The Islamic Resistance’s resolve is stronger than ever today, and the battles against the forces of evil have continued with success for the anti-imperial forces. I’m not surprised that Western journalists, think tanks and American/Israeli intelligence couldn’t make the correct calculations of what Soleimani’s murder would mean. How could they ever understand? The other side believes in nothing, they are godless, morally depraved and would even sell out their own people for profit. They have nothing to fight for except to satisfy their lust and greed. Of course they will in their arrogance think that everyone else in the world thinks and acts like they do.

They are incapable of understanding that resistance is an ideology- an idea of a free and independent Middle East. It is not dependent on one man like Ayatollah Khamenei or a group of Generals in Iraq. Killing Iranians or Iraqis will not kill an ideology and a religion that has existed for more than 1400 years, it will only make new martyrs and strengthen the faith. Martyrdom is the core of the Shiite faith ever since the martyrdom of Imam Hussein in 680 AD. The tyrant Yazid couldn’t destroy the ideology back then when he slaughtered Imam Hussein and his followers savagely, what makes Washington believe that they can do it now? Of course, being a racist bigot like Trump or Netanyahu, makes it rather difficult to understand most things about their enemies.

This is why they still cannot understand how Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis did more damage to Washington in their death than they ever could in life. The region responded with hatred. The assassination united the Iranian and Iraqi peoples under the banner of Resistance. From Pakistan to Lebanon, and from Yemen to even parts of Europe, millions of people came out in solidarity with the martyrs and showed their absolute disgust with the Trump and Washington altogether. The martyrs’ funeral procession across Iran and Iraq were among the largest ever seen.

The Iraqi parliament immediately voted to expel the US occupation troops and Iran responded by striking US bases in Iraq despite the White House imbecile’s crude threats to annihilate Iran’s cultural heritage.
The Islamic Republic’s retaliation on January 8th, was not only defiant in nature, but it was also unprecedented. It was a long time ago that another country, especially a smaller country with fewer resources and considerably less military strength, dared to directly attack US forces. I argue, just like the Saker that this was the day that the Empire truly lost.
Washington didn’t respond, despite Trump’s threats to commit crimes against humanity if Iran dared to retaliate. The emperor was shown to be naked behind those pathetic Twitter threats, Washington had nothing to respond with. I believe the reason for Washington’s non-response was due to what happened on the night of January 8th. Immediately after Iran’s retaliation, Iran’s allies Hezbollah, the Houthis and Hashd Al-Shaabi of Iraq threatened to start an all-out regional war if the US dared to attack Iranian soil. I believe that message was received loud and clear by Washington.

So instead, Trump responded with more sanctions, a policy he has continued over the past year. Doubling down on failed policies seems to be Washington’s top priority. The maximum pressure campaign didn’t force Iran to the negotiations table, yet the imbecile still bragged that after his supposed election victory in November “The first call I get will be from Iran, they are dying to make a deal”.

This shows that Trump has no idea what he is dealing with. He has no understanding of the region, how some countries actually care about their independence and how his pathetic Twitter rants have only garnered the collective hate of Muslims in the region.

The Zionists know this. They know that his policies have only emboldened the Resistance front. This is why they are hoping to pressure Trump to attack Iran with less than three weeks remaining of his presidency (again I don’t care if MAGA fans think he will get his second term). Hoping to provoke and all-out war with Iran, they are making the mistake again to think that the Islamic Republic will stand alone, which it will not. I’ve said before that a war with Iran means a regional war, and possibly one where Russia would have to get involved as well. It is therefore troubling to read reports on how Mossad agents have travelled to Iraq with the aim of staging a false flag attack on US interests and pinning it on Iran. It is no coincidence that Washington has been flexing muscles and building up troops in the region, as a “deterrent” against “Iran’s revenge” on the eve of the 1st year anniversary of the murders of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.

Whether the imbecile will start a war on behalf of his Zionist masters or not, we will see in the coming days. In any case, the Resistance Front stands ready to face any threat.

People inside U.S. may respond to assassination of Gen. Soleimani: Quds Force chief

January 1, 2021 – 16:44

TEHRAN – The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Brigadier General Esmaeil Qaani said on Friday that some people inside the United States are likely to seek revenge for the assassination of his predecessor Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

Speaking at a ceremony held on Friday at the University of Tehran to commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of the Lt. Gen., Ghaani said the U.S. assassinated the top Iranian commander at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“By committing this crime, you [the U.S.] created a job for all freedom-seeking people across the globe. Be sure that it is possible that some people will be found inside your home to respond to your crime,” General Ghaani warned.

The general pointed out that enemies had been trying to target General Soleimani and his comrade Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), for at least 30 years.

“[But] during this period, the dirtiest man [Trump], with temptations from the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia, went insane. All the world will condemn you. Those who committed this crime should know that throughout the world there would be a man who will punish the cowards behind this crime,” the commander of Quds Force cautioned.

He also said that the path of resistance and General Soleimani will continue and the U.S.’s acts of mischief will not stop the global support for the oppressed in Yemen, Syria, and Palestine, according to Tasnim.

Earlier on Wednesday, General Ghaani made similar remarks during a closed session of the Iranian Parliament, underlining that U.S. officials involved in the assassination of General Soleimani should learn how to lead a clandestine lifestyle in the future because Iran will take revenge against them.

“I warn the U.S. president, CIA director, secretary of defense, secretary of state and other American officials involved in the assassination of martyr Soleimani that they must learn the clandestine lifestyle of Salman Rushdie because the Islamic Republic will avenge the blood of martyr Soleimani which was shed unrightfully,” the Ghaani Twitter account quoted him as saying in the Wednesday session.

General Soleimani was assassinated in an American drone strike on January 3, 2020, along with al-Muhandis near Baghdad’s international airport. The strike was ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump, a reckless move that brought Iran and the United States close to an all-out war as General Soleimani was an influential figure in Iran and beyond. In response, Iran showered a U.S. airbase in western Iran with missiles, causing brain injury among dozens of American servicemen.

However, Iran has said time and again that the ultimate revenge for the assassination of General Soleimani would be far more important than a missile strike on a U.S. base. It would be the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region.

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has recently said that the missile strike on the American airbase of Ain al-Asad was slap on the face of America. But the tougher slap, the Leader said, would be the soft victory over the superficial hegemony of arrogance and the expulsion of the Americas from the region.

The Leader also underlined the need to take revenge for the assassination of the top general.

“Millions attending Martyrs Soleimani and Abu Mahdi’s funerals in Iraq and Iran was the first severe slap to the U.S. But the worse one is overcoming the hegemony of arrogance and expelling the U.S. from the region. Of course, revenge will be taken on those who ordered it and the murderers,” the Leader stated.

As Iran prepares to mark the first assassination anniversary, Iranian officials reiterated their determination to seek revenge for the assassination of the general.

On Friday, IRGC Chief Major General Hossein Salami announced that Iran is ready to avenge the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis.

“We are ready to avenge the blood of these martyrs and to forever liberate Muslims from the political, economic and cultural domination and hegemony of the Western world led by the mischievous Americans,” General Salami asserted.

He said Iran is not worried by the recent activities of the U.S. in the region, adding that “We are ready to defend our independence, vital interests and the achievements of our great revolution.”

The IRGC chief noted that Iran has sought to boost its capabilities over the past decades and it is now prepared for any showdown with any power.

“Over the past 41 years, we have created this readiness, and today, we have no problem and concern whatsoever to confront any power. We will tell our final words to the enemies on the battlefield,” General Salami continued.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the Friday ceremony at the University of Tehran.

MS/PA

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Spokesperson for Iraq’s Nujaba Movement to Al-Ahed: Our Confrontation with The Americans Is Open-ended

Spokesperson for Iraq’s Nujaba Movement to Al-Ahed: Our Confrontation with The Americans Is Open-ended

Al-Ahed Exclusive

The first martyrdom anniversary of the two leaders, Hajj Qassem Soleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, is a reminder to the American occupiers that their presence in the region will not last long. On this occasion, al-Ahed News sat down with the official spokesperson for the Nujaba Movement, Engineer Nasr al-Shammari, who asserted that “Iraq’s resistance is fighting an open confrontation with American occupation forces and the American hegemony. The confrontation will remain open-ended and its goal is the removal of the entirety of the US presence in the region.”

Below is the transcript of the interview:

On the first anniversary of the assassination of the commander of the IRG’s Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, where is the response to this crime? And what do you promise the American occupier?

We, in the Iraqi resistance, have been engaged in an open confrontation with the American occupation forces and the American hegemony since 2003, and this confrontation has never stopped. In 2011, all US occupation forces that begged for a safe and timely withdrawal were expelled under fire from the resistance. The last blow was dealt to them near the border crossing with Kuwait. These forces then returned through the window in 2014 after being expelled from the door under the pretext of fighting the Daesh gang, which is essentially their creation, according to the admission from US President Donald Trump.

As for the horrific crime that led to the martyrdom of the leaders of victory, the response of the people was immediate through the millions that took part in the martyrs’ funeral processions. Then came the Iraqi parliament’s decision to expel the foreign forces. After that, millions of people took part in demonstrations calling for the withdrawal of American occupation forces. Then, a new page of open-ended confrontation between the resistance on the one hand and the occupation forces on the other ensued.

The occupation forces’ convoys, headquarters, and camps continued to be targeted on a daily basis until they were forced to retreat to limited bases deep in the desert, which are within range of the mujahideen’s weapons. These will be closed soon, as many of the bases were closed before. Despite all this, the confrontation will remain open, and its goal is the removal of the entirety of the US presence in the region because there is no American target that has the same value of the martyred leaders.

In your opinion, what is the significance of the martyrdom of the two leaders Soleimani and al-Muhandis, both of whom spent their lives together in the fields of jihad?

They were both a confirmation to the noble hadith about those whom Allah will shade in His shade on the Day of Resurrection [Two men who love one another for the sake of Allah and meet and part on that basis.]

After a blessed jihad career of more than 40 years, being in their presence, you could see that they both originate from one source. Both of them have the same ideological, human, and moral attributes, and both are characterized by honesty, clarity, humility, courage, closeness to people, and love in the hearts of the believers.

Their martyrdom together had the greatest message – the mixing of blood, approach, and fate of all the children of this blessed axis from Palestine to Afghanistan, and the enemy sees that we are one. So, it is not permissible – and this is the case – for us not to see ourselves with the same eye in which our common enemy sees us, and this is why the responsibility for this pure blood falls on us all as His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said. We clearly see that its blessing will bring victory closer.

What is the impact of the martyrdom of the two leaders, Soleimani and al-Muhandis, on the Iraqis in general and on the Iraqi resistance factions in particular?

On the humane level, I have never in my life witnessed sympathy for any major incident like the departure of these two great martyrs. You could see sadness and tears in the old and young, the educated and the simple person, man and woman. There was sorrow and grief in every gathering or position in Iraq. The observer should not be fooled by the small group that was paid to try and distort the image of this situation.

But the effects of this blessed ascension are the unification of all fronts of the resistance into one as well as the solid position and the severity of the confrontation until America pays a high price for this crime.

And the greater price will be achieving what the two martyrs have long fought for, the liberation of al-Quds, God willing.

AZERBAIJAN RESCHEDULES ‘VICTORY DAY’ TO PLEASE SULTAN ERDOGAN. HEZBOLLAH DRONE BUZZES ISRAELI FORCES

South Front

An unmanned aerial vehicle operated by Lebanese Hezbollah managed to cross into Israel’s north and monitor the Israeli military drills dubbed “Lethal Arrow”, Lebanese media affiliated with Hezbollah reported on December 3. The incident allegedly took place on November 26, on the second day of the drills.

The Israeli side promoted the drill as an exercise to put to the test a strategy based on network-centered warfare bringing together the capabilities of ground, air, naval and cyber forces to quickly eliminate hostile targets in the event of the conflict in the area. The Hezbollah drone buzzed Israeli forces just during these military exercises. Additionally, on December 3, the Israeli government urged its citizens to avoid travel to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, citing threats of Iranian attacks.

At the same time, the United States and its allies continue demonstrating concerns regarding possible attacks in Iraq in the wake of an expected Iranian retaliation to the assassination of its top nuclear scientist near Tehran in an alleged US-Israeli plot. According to media reports, following the earlier move of the United States, France and Spain are also considering at least partial withdrawal of diplomatic staff from Iraq. US officials speculate that Iranian-backed factions of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, an official branch of the Iraqi military, are preparing attacks on facilities and personnel of the US diplomatic mission.

Meanwhile, in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan for the first time released an official number of its casualties in the Second Nagorno-Karabkah War. According to the defense ministry, 2783 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, 1245 were injured and over 100 are still missing. In own turn, the Health Ministry of Armenia reported that at least 2718 Armenian soldiers were killed as a result of the conflict. The almost equal casualties of the advancing and defending forces in the standoff in such a complex mountainous area as Nagorno-Karabkah is another factual demonstration of the overwhelming Azerbaijani dominance in the manpower, and firepower, including heavy military equipment, artillery and air support, the in the 1.5-month conflict with the Armenians.

Azerbaijan, however, seems to have already started paying price of its sovereignty for the Turkish support in the war. On December 2, President Ilham Aliyev declared the establishment of the new national holiday ‘Victory Day’ in Azerbaijan. The holiday scheduled for November 10 was dedicated to the start of the implementation of the peace agreements in Karabakh, under which Armenian forces in fact accepted their defeat and agreed to withdraw from Agdam, Kalbajar and Lachin districts.However, a day later Baku was reminded by Ankara that November 10 is the Day of Remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. So, on December 3, the presidential administration of Azerbaijan changed its order and rescheduled the Azerbaijani national holiday for November 8. Let’s hope the Big Neo-Ottoman Brother is now satisfied. In other case, the Azerbaijani leadership will have to reschedule a few more national holidays and rename ministries to please it.

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