ISIS Supreme Commander Visits US Army Oil Thieves in Syria


The supreme commander of the US Army and allied forces, including the Biden’s oil thieves, Al Qaeda Levant, and its ISIS offshoot terrorists sneaked into Syria to boost the morale of his soldiers after the US-led NATO’s miserable failure in Ukraine.

US Army General Mark Milley, the top commanding of Al Qaeda Levant and ISIS and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the USA sneaked into Syria without obtaining a visa from a Syrian embassy and without asking permission from the Syrian authorities, however, we think that he did inform the Russian army of his illegal visit, similar to how his boss Biden asked permission from Russia to visit his proxy puppet in Kiev last month.

When asked by Pentagon propagandists accompanying him on his illegal trip into Syria whether the risk of sacrificing 900 of the US troops who are illegally deployed for almost 8 years in Syria is worth the war criminal said ‘the answer is yes.’

US Army General Mark Milley chief of US joint staff and supreme commander of ISIS in Syria

The British regime’s propaganda news outlet Reuters quoted the US general commanding ISIS telling his travel mates that he believes the task assigned to the 900 soldiers in Syria is worth risking their lives.

The task of those 900 troops was laid out by the former US commander in chief Donald Trump to “steal the Syrian oil because he likes oil” and Milley added that the task includes protecting their allies in Syria, those would be the thousands of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists.

In addition to stealing Syrian oil and protecting the terrorists of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Kurdish separatists, the task of the US troops in Syria is also to steal the food of the Syrian children in order to exert pressure on the Syrian state to force it into providing consensus that would serve the crime families of the Bidens, Clintons, Trumps, Obamas, and their puppeteers.

On its behalf, the Syrian ministry of foreign affairs condemned the illegal visit of the US officer, a spokesperson in the ministry said in a statement:

“Syria condemns the illegal visit of the US Chief of Staff to an illegal military base in northeastern Syria,” adding that “Damascus affirms that the illegal visit of the US Chief of Staff is a flagrant violation of its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity.”

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The Syrian ministry of foreign affairs source added: “Syria calls on Washington to stop its systematic and continuous violations of international law and to stop its support for separatist armed militias.”

Defying the attempts by the USA and its proxies to prevent it from combating terrorism in the country, the Syrian ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson concluded in their statement:

“Damascus confirms that the American practices will not deviate it from its approach to combating terrorism and preserving its sovereignty, security, and stability.”

An undeclared task assigned to the US troops illegally deployed in Syria is to act as cannon fodders for Israel, whenever Israel bombs Syria, the Syrian Resistance responds by bombing the US troops in Syria.

US troops in Syria illegally occupy bases in the Syrian Al Tanf region at the joint Syrian – Iraqi – Jordanian borders, also in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces where they ‘coincidentally’ are based at Syria’s main oil and gas fields.

From their base in Al Tanf, the US Army troops train and command a group of ISIS (ISIL – Daesh) remnants which recently had a marketing rebranding changing its name from ‘Maghawir Thawra‘ (revolution commandos) to Syrian Free Army. These ‘commandos’ are responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in the southern Syrian provinces of Daraa, Sweida, and Quneitra, and in the central Syrian open desert. The bases in the northern part oversee the ISIS breeding farm in Al Hol and the smuggling of stolen Syrian oil to Iraq.


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Window for JCPOA Revival Won’t Remain Open Forever – Amir Abdollahian

March 3, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian cautioned the United States that the window of opportunity for an agreement on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will not remain open forever, urging Washington to adopt a constructive approach to salvage the accord.

In an interview with CNN aired on Wednesday, Amir Abdollahian said Iran has informed the US through mediators that the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are “on the path to reach an accord,” but warned that this might change if the US side hangs back.

“Our relationship with the IAEA is on its correct, natural path, and we have said this to the US side through mediators that we are on the path to reach an accord but if the Iranian Parliament adopts a new law, then we’ll have to abide by the parliamentary act,” he said.

“So, the window for an accord is still open but this window will not remain open forever,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

Amir Abdollahian also made clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been and is the most committed of all the parties involved in the diplomatic endeavors to restore the JCPOA, which was abandoned by the United States in 2018.

“The party that left the JCPOA was [former US president Donald] Trump and the United States,” he said. “The United States should not adopt a deceptive behavior and instead should return to the JCPOA and adopt a constructive approach.”

“The US party has been sending us positive messages through diplomatic channels but in its media remarks, they made very deceptive remarks that are totally different, and really, as the Iranian foreign minister, sometimes I have serious doubts,” he added.

He also noted that even though the administration of President Ebrahim Raisi sees some flaws and shortcomings in the JCPOA, it has decided to continue with the dialogue in order to restore the multilateral accord, provided that all the parties come back to the negotiating table and do their utmost to reach an agreement.

Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. But, Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and its subsequent re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran left the future of the deal in limbo.

Elsewhere in his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Amir Abdollahian criticized the United States for playing the blame game and accusing Iran of not having the “necessary resolve.”

“I will tell you expressively that in the past few years, we saw that the US officials were unable to make a decision because of their own internal problems and the pressures they are under. They are still unable to make a courageous decision to return to the JCPOA,” he said.

The Iranian foreign minister added that the country has shown its initiative on many occasions and “the fact is that we are still on the path of dialogue and we still want to reach an accord.”


‘America is Not a Racist Country’: How Nikki Haley Became Israel’s Candidate for the White House

February 22, 2023

Nikki Haley with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: US Embassy Tel Aviv, via Wikimedia Commons)
– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is

By Ramzy Baroud

Though it has been argued that the so-called American dream is long dead, Nikki Haley is proof that the dream is still alive. Unfortunately, the ‘dream’ is hers alone.

Until recently, a close confidante of former US President Donald Trump and his pro-Israel circle, Haley wants to be the next United States president. On February 14, she officially declared her candidacy and, starting February next year, she will be officially competing against her former bosses in the Republican primaries. 

It is true that her popularity among Republican Party supporters hovers between 3-4 percent, but Haley still feels that she stands to win, if she plays her cards right. Though a victory in a party that is neither keen on women nor minority politicians, she has enough success stories to give her the needed confidence. 

“Even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America,” Haley said in her campaign launch video. Though such a statement may appear somewhat typical by US politicians on such occasions, Haley’s statement carries hidden, if not troubling, insinuations.  

Haley considers her life a testament to the ahistorical claim that “America is not a racist country”, a chant she led to the cheers of thousands of her supporters at her first campaign rally on February 15 in Charleston, South Carolina.

For Republicans, the Haley profile is critical because it is uncommon. They understand that a Black candidate will not perform well among their constituency or that of the Democratic Party. Still, they desperately need any ‘person of color’ who would appeal to disenchanted minority voters, if that candidate reaffirms the pre-existing beliefs of most Republicans: that America is a great country free of racism and inequality, with many dangerous foreign enemies and that Israel is its most trusted ally. Haley, for years, has enthusiastically played that part. 

“I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not Black. Not White. I was different,” she said. This seemingly innocuous statement has served as Haley’s central message in her political career since she left her family’s Exotica International clothing business in 2011 to run for the Governor’s office in South Carolina, and won.

In 2017, Haley’s success story continued. She became the US Ambassador to the UN. This position has historically been far more relevant to Israeli interests rather than the US’, because the UN is one of a few international platforms in which Palestinians and their supporters attempt, though often in vain, to hold Israel accountable for its illegal practices in occupied Palestine. 

For decades, the US has opposed any attempt by Arab and other countries to punish Israel for its military occupation and continued human rights violations in Palestine. The dozens of vetoes used by the US to block any attempt at condemning Israeli colonialism or war crimes at the UN Security Council only tell part of the story.

Within the relatively short span of two years of diplomacy that catered mostly to serve Israel, Haley managed to successfully help in the blocking of US funding of the UN Palestine Refugees Agency (UNRWA). She also engineeredher country’s exit from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) due to its criticism of Israel. 

She is also credited for being part of the decision that led to the US’ abrupt withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and was a crucial member of the Trump team behind the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’, which has ultimately fizzled into empty rhetoric.

Now Haley is hoping to cash in – literally – on her dedication to Israel and to her country’s hawkish foreign policy in the Middle East. One claim that she has repeatedly made to her donors, who consist mostly of pro-Israeli billionaires, is that she has kept all the promises she made to Israel at the 2017 AIPAC conference. Indeed, she has.

Her performance at the lobby group’s annual policy conference ‘thrilled the crowd’, the Times of Israel then reported. In her speech, Haley, intoxicated by the political potential of winning standing ovations from 18,000 AIPAC conference attendees, declared herself a “new sheriff in town”, who will make sure that “the days of Israel-bashing at the UN are over.” 

As far as Israel was concerned, the sheriff delivered, ushering in Israel’s golden age at the UN, and forging lasting friendships between Haley and top Israeli officials and donors. 

Haley became a “source of pride for hawkish supporters of Israel for leading the fight against anti-Israel resolutions,” the Jewish weekly newspaper, the Forward, wrote on February 14.

Notably, a four-second footage in Haley’s campaign launch video was in Israel, specifically near the fence with besieged Gaza. Walking alongside her is the former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. While at the UN, they developed a “unique working relationship – and a lasting friendship”, the Forward reported, citing Danon, currently a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. 

Significantly, the former Israeli ambassador believes that if “Haley was running for president in Israel she would have won easily”. Considering her poor performance among US voters, one must raise the question: why would an American presidential candidate be far more popular among Israelis than Americans?

Haley’s strategy, however, is paying dividends, at least financially. Jacob Kornbluh elaborated on the sources of funding for Haley’s super PAC, Stand for America. Much of the $17 million raised in the last election cycle came from “prominent Jewish donors”. They include Miriam Adelson, wife of late pro-Israeli casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, along with money from Paul Singers, Bernie Marcus and Daniel Loeb, among many others. 

It may seem strange that such funds are invested in a candidate who has, at least for now, little chances of winning the Republican nomination, but the money is not wasted. Tel Aviv is simply rewarding Haley’s many favors, knowing that, regardless of her exact position in government, Haley will always continue to prioritize Israel’s interests in her political agenda, and, if needed, even ahead of her own country’s.

Martyrs and hundreds of injured by occupation forces in Nablus


EU pursuing Trump’s failed sanctions policy against Iran: FM

Monday, 20 February 2023 7:17 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 20 February 2023 7:34 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) and European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian has censured the European Union’s new round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, saying the 27-member bloc is sticking to former US president Donald Trump’s “ineffectual” policy of sanctions against Tehran.

In a telephone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Sunday, Amir-Abdollahian slammed Brussels’ “overused and obsolete” policy regarding Iran.

Last month, the EU slapped new sanctions on a number of Iranian officials and organizations over an alleged crackdown on riots across the country. Some EU member states and the European Parliament have even pushed for the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) to be listed as a “terrorist organization.”

“The behavior of the European Union in recent months is the continuation of Trump’s ineffective Iran policy. It further proves the continuation of dual and unrealistic standards combined with the exploitation of human rights concepts,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

He also lashed out at certain European countries for backing anti-Iran groups that sponsor terrorism.

Touching on the interactions between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concerning the issues related to safeguards agreements, the foreign minister said Tehran is planning for a visit by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and that joint initiatives are on the agenda.

“If the agency acts with a technical and non-political perspective, it is possible to reach a framework to resolve the issue,” he added.

Iran and the IAEA are currently in a dispute triggered by the agency’s Israeli-influenced accusations, which were leveled against Tehran’s peaceful nuclear activities just as the Islamic Republic and other parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal appeared close to an agreement on reviving the deal.

Iran says an agreement on the revival of the nuclear deal hinges on the settlement of safeguards issues between Tehran and the IAEA, and that without settling those issues, resurrecting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) makes no sense.

The negotiations to salvage the JCPOA have been at a standstill since August 2022 due to Washington’s insistence on its hard-nosed position of not removing all the sanctions that were imposed on the Islamic Republic by the Trump administration.

‘Iran always seeks peace in Ukraine’
Referring to the Ukraine war, Amir-Abdollahian said the Islamic Republic has always stressed the need for a ceasefire and diplomatic strategies to resolve the conflict.
Iran, he added, believes that respect for other countries’ territorial integrity guarantees sustainable peace, including in Ukraine, and it has spared no efforts to push for truce and peace.
Borrell, for his part, referred to Europe’s support for Kiev and voiced pessimism about the prospects of reaching a ceasefire in the coming weeks or even months.
He also expressed hope for the progress made in the cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, underlining the need for keeping up the talks.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:


Renewed request to Kushner: Hand over $2 billion Saudi investment docs

Feb 16, 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Democrats look for records connected to a $2 billion investment by a Saudi fund in Jared Kushner’s private equity firm, which he founded as Donald Trump’s son-in-law and former advisor.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) was a close ally of Kushner’s when he worked at the White House (AFP)

Six months after leaving the White House, Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner got a $2 billion investment from a fund managed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key supporter throughout Trump’s presidency.

Previously undisclosed documents unmasked that a panel that reviews assets for the primary Saudi sovereign wealth fund had concerns about the proposed agreement with Kushner’s newly created private equity business, Affinity Partners.

In a related development, a senior Democrat renewed a request for documents outlining how Jared Kushner received $2 billion from a Saudi investment fund on Tuesday, acknowledging that Kushner had failed to respond to an earlier inquiry and raising new questions about whether he had “improperly traded” on his government work to benefit his financial interests.

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-MD), the House Oversight and Accountability Committee’s senior Democrat, referenced a Washington Post story published Saturday and other publications he said raised troubling questions about Kushner’s relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Unsurprisingly, MBS chaired a sovereign wealth fund that invested in Kushner’s private equity business, known as Affinity Partners, just after Kushner left a White House job that dealt often with Saudi matters.

“I am deeply troubled by your continued refusal to produce documents regarding the Saudi government’s $2 billion investment in your fund in light of recent prominent reporting that Saudi Arabia made that investment in Affinity just months after you left a senior White House position where you were responsible for shaping Middle East policy,” Raskin wrote to Kushner.

Raskin also asked Kushner to name all foreign investors in his company.

It is worth noting that Kushner did not reply quickly to a request for comment.

Raskin’s letter followed a request for the documents from the committee, which was controlled by Democrats at the time.

While Kushner’s firm provided roughly 2,000 pages in response, Raskin revealed in his letter on Tuesday that they primarily consisted of publicly available records that “do not substantively pertain to the Saudi government’s involvement in the firm.” When the committee followed up in October, the company’s legal officer did not answer, as per Raskin.

But, in a statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday, Comer said he would not sign Raskin’s letter, which might make it more difficult for House Democrats to seek information from Kushner.

“Ranking Member Raskin and Committee Democrats have a long way to go to prove they are interested in true oversight after having spent the past two years giving the Biden Administration a free pass,” Comer said.

“If Democrats want to join Committee Republicans in our ongoing efforts, including investigating Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s suspicious business schemes with foreign adversaries, then we can discuss joining together on future requests. Until then, Committee Republicans will continue seeking answers for the American people about the current Administration’s activities,” he added.

In further detail, Raskin’s appeal is expected to be taken up by the Senate Finance Committee and its chairman, Senator Ron Wyden (R-Ore.).

“The financial links between the Saudi royal family and the Trump family raise very serious issues, and when you factor in Jared Kushner’s financial interests, you are looking right at the cat’s cradle of financial entanglements,” The Post quoted Wyden as saying last week.

In an interview on Tuesday, Raskin said that, while he still hoped Comer would cooperate, “we will definitely work with our partners in the Senate to get all of the information we need in order to conduct a thorough and detailed investigation of all of the conflicts of interest that we need to learn about.”

Raskin added he was “not going to allow this to be some kind of lopsided partisan witch hunt. Let’s have a serious investigation into public policy and the profound ethical concerns that have been raised.”

Read next: Jared Kushner Eyes Middle East for Backers on New Fund

A symbiotic relationship: Kushner and MBS

As President Donald Trump’s senior advisor, Kushner worked closely with MBS, who rose to the position of the crown prince in part due to his ties to the Trump administration, which offered arms sales and other perks.

Trump also supplied key assistance by refusing to confirm the CIA’s conclusion that Mohammed ordered the execution or capture of Jamal Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post who had been critical of the crown prince’s policies. Trump has claimed to have “saved” MBS, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in his recent memoir that Trump instructed him to meet the crown prince and “tell him he owes us.”

LIV Golf, which holds tournaments on Trump’s golf clubs, has also received funding from the Saudi Public Investment Fund. It’s unknown how much Trump made from the deal. A request for a response from a Trump official was not immediately returned, as per media reports.

Addressing Kushner in his letter, Raskin wrote, “Your efforts to protect the Crown Prince may have allowed him to maintain his position at the top of the Saudi government and, thus, his ability to deliver significant financial benefits to you and your father-in-law after the end of the Trump Administration.”

When the committee approached Kushner’s company in June, it answered that it had “nothing to hide” and was “committed to collaborating with the Committee to provide appropriate data, documents, and information to further inform your investigation.”

Raskin stated that while Affinity ultimately submitted some records, it “failed to disclose a single correspondence connected to the basis for your firm’s acceptance of $2 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.”

The congressman requested that the papers be delivered by March 1.

Read next: Kushner “pleased” Riyadh allowed him to invest in “Israel”

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President Assad Exclusively Tells Al-Manar Reporter: I Promise Syrians to Exert Non-stop Efforts to Alleviate Quake Sufferings (Video)

February 10, 2023

Mohammad Salami

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Mrs. Asma al-Assad inspected conditions of people affected by earthquake in Aleppo province and ongoing rescue operations in several areas.

During his visit, President Assad exclusively responded to Al-Manar reporter Ali Shoeib’s questions, stressing that he would exert all the possible efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the Syrians.

Two devastating earthquakes hit on Monday Turkey and Syria, leaving around 22,000 people dead as well as nearly 80,000 others wounded and flattening a huge number of buildings.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Assad Visits Quake-hit Aleppo, Promises Nonstop Efforts to Ease People’s Suffering

By Staff, Agencies

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Aleppo to observe relief and rescue operations following a devastating earthquake that has killed nearly 3,400 people in the war-torn country.

The Syrian Presidency on Friday shared images of Assad and his wife visiting people who were injured in the devastating earthquake.

Assad Visits Quake-hit Aleppo, Promises Nonstop Efforts to Ease People’s Suffering
Assad Visits Quake-hit Aleppo, Promises Nonstop Efforts to Ease People’s Suffering

The Syrian president also visited a site where rescue teams are working to remove rubble, rescue possible survivors and remove the bodies of victims, in al-Mashareqa neighborhood of the city of Aleppo.

During his visit, Assad promised the Syrian people that he will be working uninterruptedly to ease their suffering.

Assad Visits Quake-hit Aleppo, Promises Nonstop Efforts to Ease People’s Suffering

A day earlier, Assad expressed his appreciation of help from world countries to the Syrian nation and government, stressing, however, that many countries are “under pressure from the United States” not to help the Arab country.

Assad made the remarks in a meeting with a Lebanese delegation headed by caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib who traveled to the country to follow up on the latest status of the deadly earthquake in Syria.

The disastrous earthquake hit Turkey and neighboring Syria in the wee hours of Monday. The 7.8-magnitude temblor has so far killed close to 20,000 people in total in the two countries.

As rescue efforts continue in Syria following massive earthquakes there, calls are growing for the US and its allies to remove their sanctions, which are said to be hampering international aid efforts in the country.

Syria has been in the throes of foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.

The US government has over the past years imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Syria amid the Arab nation’s uphill battle for reconstruction and recovery.

The controversial Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, signed into law by former President Donald Trump, targeted individuals and businesses anywhere in the world that participated either directly or indirectly in Syria’s economy.

The restrictive measures have blocked imports of essential goods, affecting the Syrian people’s access to medical equipment, food, heating, gas, and electricity.

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From President al-Assad’s statement to the media at one of the sites for removing rubble and recovering the injured in the city of Aleppo

Inhumane Stipulation of Humanitarian Item in US anti-Syria Caesar Act

 February 9, 2023

Mohammad Salami

Eight years after the United States of America waged an international terrorist war on Syria with all the tragic atrocities suffered by the Syrian people across the entire Arab country, the US President Donald Trump signed in December “Caesar Act” allegedly aimed at protecting the Syrians.

Paradoxically, the Act, which came into force on June 17, 2020, was not passed by the US Congress to protect the innocent Syrian civilians from the terrorist groups backed by Washington and allies. However, the target was the democratically-elected Syrian President Bashar Assad and the government, which means besieging Syrian and cutting off its official supply line.

In addition to the socioeconomic woes suffered by the Syrian people due to Caesar Act, the neighboring countries, including mainly Lebanon, were deprived from all the geographical and economic privileges that could be gained out of the relations with Syria.

Due to Casar Act Jordan and Egypt were not allowed to provide Lebanon with electric power and gas as the US administration rejected to grant them any waiver.

On February 6, 2023, a devastating earthquake hit Syria and Turkey, killing and injuring dozens of thousands of residents and destroying huge numbers of buildings.International aids rushed into Turkey, but Caesar Act prevented most of the world countries, except  Iran, Iraq, China, Russia, Lebanon and Algeria, from sending aids to Syria.

Briefly, Syria is suffering a big calamity. The following video shows rescue teams dragging the corpse of a father with his alive son out of the debris.

Back to the text of Casar Act, in case of humanitarian crises, the US President may waive, for renewable periods not to exceed 2 years. However, the Act stipulates that the waiver must address a humanitarian need and, simultaneously, be consistent with the national security interests of the United States.

Caesar Act Item

In other words, the political considerations of the United States comprise the essence of the humanitarian waiver, which exposes the crises-hit civilians to more agonies.

The US national security has been always linked to the considerations of Syria’s enemy-‘Israel’. Thus, the waiver will never be approved in accordance with the interests of the Syrian people.

Caesar Act itself is an unjust move of aggression against the state and people in Syria, and the waivers, included in the Act, require more inhumane conditions, even in the items related to the humanitarian cases.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

The Terrorism Pretext: US-ISIS-Kurdish Nexus Preserves Occupation of Syria

February 03 2023

It’s getting harder to ignore. The persistent ISIS presence in the Syrian desert only serves US aims to continue its military occupation and support for Kurdish separatism.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

ByThe Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

In March 2019, former US President Donald Trump startled Washington’s war establishment by announcing that the mission of “eliminating terrorism” had been accomplished in Syria.

Seven months later, Trump solidified his claims by celebrating the assassination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by a US special forces operation in rural Idlib, in the north of the country.

In reality, the US president had been angling to exit Syria for some time, and the absence of terrorism provided that excuse. Trump had promised his voter base to wind down expensive foreign military adventurism, and viewed the high cost of military deployment in Syria as disproportionate to the gains realized.

But while withdrawing US forces from various locations in Syria’s north and northeast, the American president was pressured to maintain a small number of troops in the oil-rich countryside of Hasakah and Deir Ezzor, and in the Al-Tanf base, an area crucial to Israel’s strategic interests as it is located on the border with of Iraq and Jordan, and on the hypothetical road that connects Tehran to Beirut.

Trump, known for his brazen proclamations, publicly stated that “oil interests” were the reason for keeping this small contingent of US troops in the embattled Levantine state. The wholesale exit of US forces would have paved the way for Syrian and Russian troops to take back control of the northeast, and for Moscow to move forward with its peace plan through the Astana Process with Iran and Turkiye.

The facade of ‘fighting terror’

With the arrival of Democratic President Joe Biden to the White House, Washington shifted its priorities and sought to maintain a protracted presence in Syria under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.” ISIS cells were magically reactivated in the Syrian desert, a development heavily circulated in US media through “intelligence sources.” This prompted accusations from Moscow that Washington is supporting terrorism from its Al-Tanf base, which Russian planes bombed last July.

Amidst escalating hostilities between the US and Russia over Ukraine, Syrian field sources have informed The Cradle of the existence of communication channels between the Al-Tanf base and ISIS cells that carry out scattered attacks in the Syrian Desert against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied, Iran-backed factions.

The sources have also noted a marked shift in both ISIS tactics and the terror group’s access to advanced weapons and modern communication equipment that have been discovered in their hideouts. Given Iraq’s stringent measures on all border crossing with Syria – digging a trench along the border, building a separation fence, and installing surveillance cameras and checkpoints – it is unlikely that ISIS could obtain these resources without support from a powerful nation.

Kurdish forces employ the ISIS threat

During every Turkish threat to attack US-backed Kurdish forces in the country’s northern provinces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) raises the specter of ISIS and its expansion, which is used to justify the continued Kurdish occupation of northern Syria to repel these attacks.

This pattern repeated itself during the 2016-2017 Turkish Euphrates Shield operation against ISIS and Kurdish targets, the 2018 Olive Branch operation when Turkish forces invaded Afrin in Aleppo’s countryside, and the 2019 Turkish offensive called the Peace Spring operation.

The trend continued last December, when Ankara threatened to attack Kurdish-held territories in Syria’s north. The SDF, which had halted operations against ISIS, quickly reversed  its decision two days later.

In addition to playing the ISIS card to justify its relevance, the SDF – which is affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) which Ankara considers an extension of the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) – has another lever it frequently employs.

The Kurdish group controls dozens of prisons that house thousands of ISIS leaders, fighters, and their families, the most notorious of which are Al-Hol camp near the Iraqi border, and Al-Sinaa prison in the Hasakah Governorate.

And the SDF, in coordination with US strategists, have employed this leverage to release ISIS members and their families from camps or to allow prison breaks at important junctures.

So why are ISIS attacks on the rise?

A clear correlation can be observed between the rise in ISIS attacks and US attempts to fortify its presence in Syria in order to ‘fight terror.’ After a period of relative decline during Trump’s presidency, the terrorist organization has regained strength, ironically, following Biden’s decision to expand operations against ISIS.

In early 2022, ISIS launched an attack on Al-Sinaa Prison, which holds prominent ISIS leaders and fighters. The operation came less than three weeks after several noteworthy developments: First, international coalition forces brought in large shipments of weapons, including Bradley vehicles and anti-tank weapons; Second, coalition forces returned to the Lafarge base on the strategic international M4 highway north of Aleppo; Third, western forces had just completed maintenance operations for the oil fields.

Notably, the attack also took place after US Caesar Act sanctions were lifted from areas controlled by the SDF and Turkiye.

US support for the SDF through exempting Kurdish areas from the Caesar Act demonstrates Washington’s goal of solidifying the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in SDF-controlled areas. This serves to ensure a continued US presence and foothold in resource-rich northeastern Syria in the event of a future withdrawal of troops – and ongoing obstruction of Russian peace efforts to stabilize the country.

Terrorism: a tool for US expansionism

As soon as Ankara voiced its willingness to reconcile with Damascus, the US began preparing for a new troop deployment to fortify its position in Syria, particularly since rapprochement – backed by Russia and Iran – hinges on several key agreements, the most prominent of which requires the exit of US forces from the country as a necessity for a political solution.

The new US military expansion – which is essentially a redeployment – returns troops to previous bases in former ISIS-stronghold Al-Raqqa Governorate all the way to the border with Turkiye, restructures and revitalizes the jihadist-aligned Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade (Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa), and provides them with weapons and equipment to form an SDF-like force in this predominantly Arab province.

In December 2022, ISIS launched a series of attacks in Raqqa, which served as the necessary pretext for the US and SDF to launch a large-scale security operation in and around the governorate. The US military used the attacks as an opportunity to reposition its forces, bring in heavy machinery, and rehabilitate helicopter airstrips.

Similarly, US-led coalition forces and the SDF launched the Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt security campaign in and around Al-Hasakah early this year, which resulted in the arrest of 154 ISIS members – according to an SDF statement on 7 January. However, these figures were questioned by locals, who accused the SDF and coalition forces of arresting countless innocent civilians in the Tel Hamis area.

Local sources accuse the SDF of drawing up indiscriminate lists that include personal targets, which have led to accusations against innocent people, the arrest of US occupation opponents who have nothing to do with ISIS, and a desire to increase detainee numbers as part of “the show” that accompanies all US operations.

In light of these facts, Syrian military sources in the eastern desert anticipate an increase in ISIS attacks – particularly as Syrian-Turkish reconciliation talks progress and exert negative pressure on US ambitions in Syria’s north. The sources says that the connection between the US and ISIS, which is used opportunistically and strategically to achieve political goals, is no longer a secret and will only gather further steam in the months ahead.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Palestine is My Cause: Arabs Reaffirm Support for Palestinians, Rejection of the Occupation

February 1, 2023

Palestinians in Gaza gathered in large numbers to watch the Morocco-Portugal game at World Cup’s quarterfinals. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is “Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak out”. Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is

The latest Arab Opinion Index 2022 is yet more proof that Arab societies are diverse in every possible way, from their assessment of their economic situation and living conditions to their take on immigration, state institutions and democracy. With one single exception: Palestine.

76 percent of all respondents to the poll, which is carried out annually by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, said that Palestine is a cause for all Arabs, not Palestinians alone.

Three important points must be kept in mind when trying to understand this number:

First, Arabs are not merely expressing sympathy or solidarity with Palestinians. They are irrevocably stating that the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli Occupation is a collective Arab struggle.

Second, these views are the same across all sections of society throughout the entire geographic expanse of the Arab world, from the Gulf to the Maghreb regions.

Third, equally important is that the public opinions that have been examined in the poll come from countries whose governments have either full diplomatic ties with Israel or vehemently reject normalization.

The study is quite extensive, as it included 33,000 individual respondents and was carried out in the period between June to December 2022.

Once again, the Arab people collectively reject normalization with Israel, with Algeria and Mauritania topping the list at 99 percent each.

Though some might discount the detailed study by claiming that Arabs inherently hate Israel due to their deep-seated aversion to the Jews, the study breaks down the reason why Arab masses have such a low opinion of Israel.

When they were asked as to why they reject diplomatic ties between their countries and Israel, the respondents mostly “cited Israel’s colonial and expansionist policies, as well as its racism toward the Palestinians and its persistence in expropriating Palestinian land.”

Only five percent cited religious reasons behind their position and that too cannot be dismissed as mere religious zealotry, as indeed many Arabs formulate their views based on the moral values enshrined in their religions; for example, the need to oppose and speak out against injustice.

It must be stated that this is hardly new. Arabs have exhibited these views with an unmistakable consistency, since the start of the Arab Opinion Index in 2011 and one would dare argue, since the establishment of Israel atop the ruins of Palestine in 1948.

But if that is the case, why are the latest poll results deserving of a discussion?

While examining the American public view of Russia, the state of democracy in the US, or the greatest threat to national security, opinion polls often fluctuate from one year to the other. For example, 70 percent of all Americans considered Russia an ‘enemy’ to the US in March, compared to only 41 percent in January.

The massive jump in two months is not directly related to the Russian war in Ukraine, since Ukraine is not a US territory, but because of the anti-Russia media frenzy that has not ceased for a moment since the beginning of the war.

However, for Arabs, neither media shift in priorities, internal politics, class orientation or any other factor seem to alter the status of Palestine as the leading Arab priority.

In 2017 and 2022 respectively, two American presidents visited the Arab region. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden labored to execute a major shift in the region’s political priorities.

Biden summed up his agenda in a meeting with six Arab leaders in Jeddah in July by stating, “This trip is about once again positioning America in this region for the future. We are not going to leave a vacuum in the Middle East for Russia or China to fill.”

None of these self-serving priorities seem to be paying any real dividends.

That said, the pressure to dismiss the centrality of Palestine as an Arab cause does not only come from the outside. It is also guided by the internal dynamics of the region itself. For example, some pan-Arab news networks, which put much focus on Palestine in previous years, have been relentlessly and, sometimes, purposely, ignoring Palestine as an urgent daily reality in favor of other topics that are consistent with the regional policies of host countries.

Yet, despite all of this, Palestine remains the core of Arab values, struggles and aspirations. How is this possible?

Unlike most Americans, Arabs do not necessarily formulate their views of the world based on the media agenda of the day, nor do they alter their behavior based on presidential speeches or political debates. To the contrary, their collective experiences made them particularly cynical of propaganda and fiery speeches. They formulate their views based on numerous grassroots channels of communication, whether using social media tools or listening to the Friday sermon in their local mosque.

The struggle for Palestine has been internalized in the everyday acts of the average Arab woman or man; from the names they choose for their newborn, to the quiet muttering of prayers before falling asleep. No amount of propaganda can possibly reverse this.

Arab public opinion obviously matters, even though most Arab countries do not have functioning democratic systems. In fact, they matter most because of the lack of democracy.

Every society must have a system of political legitimacy, however nominal, for it to maintain relative stability. It means that the collective Arab view in support of Palestinians and rejection of normalization without an end to Israeli Occupation would have to be taken seriously.

Though some Arab governments are listening to their people and thus condition normalization on Palestinian freedom and sovereignty, the US and Israel insist on ignoring the Arab masses, as they have done for many years. However, if Washington believes that it can simply compel the Arabs to hate Russia and China and love Israel, while the latter continues to kill Palestinians and occupy their land, it will be sorely disappointed, not only today, but for many years to come.

McCarthy calls for investigating Biden over classified documents

 January 12, 2023


By Al Mayadeen English 

US President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered a second batch of classified documents from his vice presidency at a new location.

President Joe Biden visits Mexico City on January 9. (Getty Images)

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for a Congressional investigation of Biden after classified documents were found at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Congress has to investigate this,” McCarthy said, pointing to the Justice Department’s investigation of former president Donald Trump for keeping more than 100 classified documents at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Moreover, Republican lawmakers in Congress will look into President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified government records while serving as vice president because it is a serious felony, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar said on Thursday.

A day after the president was briefed about the first set of records discovered in his private office in Washington, Biden’s lawyers discovered a second batch of classified documents from his vice presidency at a new location.

“Joe Biden stole classified documents and secretly hid them in his office while he was Vice President yet suddenly democrats could care less. Negligently retaining classified documents is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Republicans in congress will investigate and see to it that Biden answers for his crimes,” Gosar said in a statement.

In the same context, the White House announced Thursday that “a small number” of classified documents dating from the Obama-Biden administration had been discovered at Joe Biden’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.

Other documents were discovered at a Washington think tank where Biden used to work, embarrassing the White House as authorities investigate an even larger scandal involving ex-President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Biden says ‘cooperating fully’ with classified documents review

In the meantime, Biden stated on Thursday that he is “fully cooperating” with a Justice Department investigation after classified documents were discovered at his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.

Lawyers “discovered a small number of documents with classified markings in storage areas and file cabinets in my home and my personal library,” Biden said, adding, “I take classified documents and classified material seriously.”

Yesterday, Biden said that he was “surprised” to learn that classified documents were taken to his personal office after he left the vice presidency and that he has no idea what is in the records. Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill demanded more information about the discovery that prompted a Justice Department investigation.

“I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office,” Biden said during a news conference in Mexico City on Tuesday evening.

“But I don’t know what’s in the documents. My lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were. I’ve turned over the boxes — they’ve turned over the boxes to the Archives. And we’re cooperating fully — cooperating fully with the review, which I hope will be finished soon, and there will be more detail at that time,” he added.

This came after the White House confirmed that the US Justice Department is reviewing a batch of potentially classified documents found in the office space of Biden’s former institute in Washington.

Richard Sauber, special counsel to Biden, indicated that “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered when the President’s personal attorneys were emptying the offices of the Penn Biden Center, where Biden kept an office after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.

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Washington Has Been Sowing the Wind Decades and It’s Time to Yield the Hurricanes

 January 10, 2023

By Mohammad Youssef

Lebanon – Three years ago, on January 2020, the world has observed a very important event, the first Iranian military response to the assassination of Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani. The Iranian reprisal was directed against the American base Ain al-Asad in Iraq. This military response came directly after an order by Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei to the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard [IRG] to carry out a decisive and clear military strike against the Americans.

Regardless of the number of American casualties and the destruction that devastated the notorious American stronghold, the strike by itself is a remarkable event by the full sense of the political and military word.

Never before, has any power, regional or international, dared to challenge the American empire, let alone announce threats and carry them out clearly.

The US doctrine shock and awe that has been carried out by the American troops in many countries and against many governments did not materialize in the Iranian case. In Afghanistan, the Americans occupied the country, and this later on took place in Iraq as well, not to mention many other Latin American governments.

Tehran has never bowed down to the American pressures nor did it surrender to its blackmail.

In every problem Iran suffered or suffers since the advent of the Islamic Republic, Washington has a full hand of aggression and conspiracy.

Nonetheless, Tehran not only confronted the US conspiracy with full determination and resolve but also stood up to the US challenges and retaliated wherever it deemed necessary and has drawn the redlines to the Americans.

The Iranian account record with Washington has not settled down, it is still open as Iran has reserved its right for the just punishment against the American administration under former US President Donald Trump that took the decision to assassinate General Soleimani.

Washington should expect the punishment anytime in the future, as the horrible crime should not go without a very heavy price that the American perpetrators should pay for.

The Axis of Resistance too has its own declared goal to evict the Americans from all over the region. All the efforts should be organized and coordinated to this end. This aim should be pursued relentlessly, the US occupation and military presence should not feel safe at any time anywhere in the region. A time will come when all the region will be free from the American malignant and sinister presence. People’s awareness about the hostility and animosity of the Americans is growing by the day, and their understanding for America’s conspiracies and hegemonic imperialist nature is deepening.

Washington had been sowing the wind decades and it’s time to yield the hurricanes. Hopefully this will be soon!

Not a good strategy (Douglas Macgregor – MUST SEE!)

January 09, 2023

US killing of Soleimani ‘brazen attack’ on Iraq sovereignty: Iraqi PM

6 Jan 2023

Source: News websites

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Iraqi prime minister emphasizes that his government is working to lay a solid foundation for Iraqi sovereignty.

The coffins of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis were carried through Karbala, January 5, 2020. (Reuters)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani has paid tribute to top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed three years ago in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport, calling their targeted killings a “brazen attack” on Iraq’s sovereignty.

“The crime of assassinating the ‘Commanders of Victory’ and their companions represented a flagrant violation of Iraq’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty. The targeted killings of the commanders, who had a leading role in the elimination of the scourge of terrorism, is an utter disrespect to bilateral agreements [signed between Baghdad and Washington],” Sudani said at a Thursday ceremony in the capital Baghdad in commemoration of the two commanders.

“We woke up on January 3, 2020 to hear the terrible news about the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was on an official visit to Iraq,” he added.

The Iraqi prime minister went on to condemn former US President Donald Trump’s administration for its brazen attack on Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, pointing out that the fight against dark terrorism “requires power and resilience.” 

Read next: US occupation loots, smuggles 100 tankers of Syrian oil to Iraq

He emphasized that his government is working to lay a solid foundation for Iraqi sovereignty, that it is independent in decision-making, that it forges relationships based on common interests, that it protects the sovereignty of the country’s soil and territorial waters, and that it will go to any length to repel any act of aggression against the Iraqi nation and its guests.

Furthermore, Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council Chairman Faiq Zidane condemned the assassination of and Gen. Soleimani as a “vile and cowardly act.”

He emphasized that it is the responsibility of the Iraqi judiciary to shed light on all circumstances surrounding the US assassination, and he urged the country’s security institutions to provide judicial authorities with all relevant documents and findings.

‘Iraq judicial chief highlights arrest warrant for Trump’

Zidane went on to say that the Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq has issued an arrest warrant for former US President Donald Trump in connection with the assassination of General Soleimani and the deputy chief of the PMU.

The president of the council stated that Trump has admitted to his “crime” in relation to the assassination of the “Leaders of Victory.”

Read next: US forces withdrew from Ein Al-Asad base in Iraq

He urged all Iraqi officials involved in the targeted killings investigations to do everything possible to identify all related architects, organizers, and perpetrators.

Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers passed legislation requiring the government to withdraw all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.

The struggle of the axes in the region and the consequences of the assassination of the two commanders, Soleimani and Al-Muhandis
documentaries | Victory leaders
Documentaries | Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis of Iraq – Part One
Documentaries | Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis of Iraq – Part Two

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    In Confirmation of Sayyed Nasrallah’s Remarks, NATO Officer Revealed in 2001 US Plans to Attack Seven Muslim States

    January 5, 2023

    Former commander of NATO’s forces in Europe Wesley Clark

    Commemorating the third martyrdom anniversary of General Qassem Suleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in a ceremony, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah indicated on Tuesday that the American project seeks hegemony, domination, and control of wealth and oil.

    Sayyed Nasrallah added that throughout two decades, Haj Qassem faced two versions of the American schemes in the region.

    Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

    “The first version of the American scheme in the region, which was confronted by martyr Suleimani and other leaders, is the “New Middle East” project in Lebanon and Palestine,” the Hezbollah leader indicated. He explained that 9/11 (September, 11 attacks) served as an impetus to the American plan to enter Afghanistan and Iraq and get closer to Iran and Syria.

    “In 2006, attempts began to unleash in order to strike the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon, and the objective was to invade and impose multinational forces at the airport, ports, and borders,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. “At that time, Hajj Qassem Suleimani set foot in frontlines as a leader; Iran stood firm, and Syria, too, leaving the enemy with dilemma in July war,” he added.

    “Had the Zionists won the war on Lebanon, it would have expanded towards Syria, but that did not happen thanks to martyr Suleimani.”

    Sayyed Nasrallah lauded Shiite and Sunni resistance factions in Iraq who fought the occupation forces with utmost sincerity; where exceptional operations targeting the American occupation forces took place, imposing on occupation forces to set a timetable for withdrawal. He said that when occupation forces faltered, the operations increased until they forced them to leave.

    “If we combine what the Iraqi resistance has done with the steadfastness of Iran, Syria, along with the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine, we conclude that the first version of the American scheme has ended and failed,” Sayyed Nasrallah asserted.

    The result of the first version of the American scheme, the Hezbollah leader said, is that [Former US President Donald] Trump was forced to go secretly to Iraq despite spending 7 thousand billion dollars on this scheme.

    In confirmation, the former commander of NATO’s forces in Europe, Wesley Clark, said he met a senior military officer in Washington in November 2001 who told him the Bush administration was planning to attack Iraq first before taking action against Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

    Former commander of NATO’s forces in Europe Wesley Clark

    The general’s remarks surfaced in a book, The Clark Critique, excerpts from which appeared in the latest edition of the US magazine Newsweek.

    Clark said  after the 11 September 2001 attacks, many Bush administration officials seemed determined to move against Iraq, invoking the idea of state sponsorship of terrorism, “even though there was no evidence of Iraqi sponsorship of 9/11 whatsoever”.

    Turning to the second phase which began with the tenure of Former US president Barak Obama, Sayyed Nasrallah said that when they (the US administration) discovered that large-scale wars are doomed to failure, and that relying on ‘Israel’ in wars is a fiasco, wars took on an internal turn; with the eruption of inner and sectarian strife after the emergence of Takfiris.

    “This version was the version of destroying countries and peoples, so that America will come out as the ‘savior’. In this arena, Suleimani and Al-Muhandis were present in public because they were supposed to be in the field to fight off this scheme,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, stating that before these two major and historic failures, Trump decided to deal a decisive blow to the resistance axis by assassinating both commanders (Suleimani and Al-Muhandis).

    Clark acknowledged Iranian and Syrian support for resistance groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian movement Hamas.

    “But neither Hezbollah nor Hamas were targeting Americans,” he wrote. “Why not build international power against Al Qaeda?”

    Instead, Clark pointed the finger at what he called “the real sources of terrorists – US allies in the region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia”.

    Clark blamed Egypt’s “repressive policies”, Pakistan’s “corruption and poverty”, as well as Saudi Arabia’s “radical ideology and direct funding” for creating a pool of angry young men who became “terrorists”.

    Hezbollah’s secretary general said that with a two million-man funeral held for martyr Suleimani, the largest in history, and his emergence as an inspiration and symbol for Iranians, the scheme had an adverse effect on America, adding that after the martyrdom of Suleimani, the “deal of the century” fell through, Lebanon established the rules of deterrence, and victory was achieved in the issue of demarcating the maritime borders.

    Source: Al-Manar English Website

    Iraqi Leaders Vow to Preserve Victories Secured by Martyrs Suleimani, Muhandis

     January 5, 2023

    Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani during a ceremony in Baghdad marking the third martyrdom anniversary of resistance commanders (Thursday, January 5, 2023).

    Iraq marked on Thursday the third martyrdom anniversary of anti-terror resistance commanders General Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, with leader pledging to preserve achievements secured by martyrs.

    A ceremony was held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on the occasion, and was attended by PM Mohammed Shia’ Al-Sudani, Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbusi, and many other senior officials.

    “The commanders of victory foiled the enemies’ plots,” said Abdullah Al-Ilyawi, representing President Abdul Latif Rashid.

    He described the US strike which killed Gen. Suleimani and Al-Muhandis near Baghdad International Airport in January 2020 as a denounced crime.

    For his part, Al-Sudani said the strike was a flagrant aggression on Iraq, adding that it would have destabilized the entire region.

    “The blood of the honored martyred won’t go in vain. And for that purpose, the Iraqi Government is working to preserve its sovereignty.”

    Meanwhile, the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Faeq Zaidan said Iraqi authorities won’t hesitate to take all measures against the perpetrators of the January 3 strike that killed the resistance commanders, including former president Donald Trump who ordered the attack.

    Source: Al-Manar English Website

    IRGC Says Revenge on Gen. Soleimani’s Murderers is “Definite”

    January 2, 2023


    In a statement commemorating the third anniversary of Martyr Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) considered revenge against the perpetrators and murders of Martyr Soleimani as certain.

    The statement said that the three years since the martyrdom of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani the discourse of Resistance and anti-Arrogance around the world has matured.

    Referring to the school of Martyr Soleimani, the statement added that Martyr Haj Qassem is a lasting legend and myth not only for Iran and Iranians but also for the Anti-Arrogant and anti-Zionist Resistance front in the world.

    According to the statement, Martyr Soleimani following the instructions of Imam Khomeini (RA) and Imam Khamenei, had firmly set to respond to the needs of the revolution, Iran, and the Muslim nations of the region in dealing with Takfiri terrorism and ISIL by using the capacities of the Resistance Front and its allies and supporters.

    The statement further added that the strength and vitality of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in advancing the strategy of supporting and accompanying the Islamic Resistance Front indicate the continuation of the path of General Soleimani and the survival of the ideal of the Iranian nation in supporting the Palestinian nation and the liberation of Quds.

    The statement considered taking revenge on the perpetrators and murderers of Martyr Soleimani as a “definite” and “inviolable” matter and further stated that the IRGC monitors the process of expelling the US from the West Asian region and deems the promotion of the schools of figures such as General Soleimani schools in Iran as undeniable strategies of the IRGC.

    In the end, the Guards reiterated that they will sacrifice their lives for the sake of the homeland and the nation against the global hegemonic system and Zionism.

    Source: Mehr News Agency

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    Iran: Indictment on case of Martyr Soleimani’s assassination near

    31 Dec 2022


    By Al Mayadeen English 

    The head of the Iranian special committee in charge of the case, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, says that the US committed an unforgivable crime.

    The head of the Iranian special committee responsible for pursuing the legal case of the assassination of Martyr Qassem Soleimani, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei.

    Iran is in the final stages of releasing an official indictment on the case of the murder of IRGC’s Quds Force Commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, by the United States back in 2020, according to an Iranian official.

    The head of the special committee in charge of the case, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, said on Saturday that the Judiciary in the Islamic Republic and the foreign ministry have taken measures to accurately follow the case.

    “In the criminal aspect, the indictment related to this case is nearing its final stages and we hope that it will reach good result,” he said.

    Kadkhodaei made the announcement during an event on the fight against terrorism and extremism in West Asia.

    On January 3 of 2020, the US carried out a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump targeting a car carrying the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC General Qassem Soleimani, and his Iraqi trench-mate and the second-in-command of Iraqi PMU (Popular Mobilization Units), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

    Martyr Soleimani was on an official visit to Iraq and was being transported in a car with Martyr al-Muhandis from Baghdad’s International Airport upon his arrival, before being assassinated by the US.

    “This is an unforgivable crime and the American officials who committed this crime and accepted responsibility for it must be tried and punished for their action,” Kadkhodaei, who is an advisor to the foreign minister, continued.

    “The US tries to resort to every means to secure its illegitimate interests.”

    During an address to the 77th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last September, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi raised a picture of the former commander of the Quds Force and called for punishing former US President Donald Trump, who ordered the assassination of Soleimani in a barbaric and illegal manner.

    “The previous president of the United States [Trump] effectively managed to sign the document of the savage crime, an illegal crime, an immoral crime,” he indicated.

    It’s noteworthy that earlier this month, former Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhimi had local lawmakers contemplating his arrest for allegedly being involved in the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani by the US in 2020.

    A senior official in the State of Law Coalition, Fadel al-Zerigawi, stated during an interview with Iraqi news outlet Shafaq News last Monday that Kadhimi is hiding inside the US embassy.

    Although Kadhimi previously vowed to expel all foreign military forces from the country, US troops remained but were given the option to “rename” their position as “advisory roles”.

    Read more: 

    Leader: Gen. Soleimani empowered, equipped and revived resistance front against Israel, US

    Sunday, 01 January 2023 11:23 AM  

    [ Last Update: Sunday, 01 January 2023 12:13 PM ]

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei holds a meeting with General Soleimani’s family and members of his commemoration committee. (Photo by

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has lauded sacrifices made by late commander General Qassem Soleimani, saying the anti-terror icon’s great work was to protect, empower, equip and revive the resistance front against Israel and the US.

    The item is being updated..

    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

    Gen. Soleimani ‘unifying figure’, ‘architect of resistance’: Academic

    Sunday, 01 January 2023 11:07 AM  

    [ Last Update: Sunday, 01 January 2023 11:08 AM ]

    Iran’s top anti-terror commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani

    An academic has described Iran’s top anti-terror commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, as the “architect of resistance” and a “unifying figure” in life and death.

    Pro-Palestine professor, David Miller, sacked by Bristol University over his criticism of Israel and Zionism, made the comments about General Soleimani in Press TV’s Palestine Declassified aired on Saturday.

    Soleimani, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was assassinated on January 3, 2020, in a US air raid outside Baghdad International Airport under the direct order of then-US president Donald Trump.

    Miller mentioned the “practical effect” of Soleimani’s legacy on enabling the Axis of Resistance as well as Palestinian factions to collaborate with each other.

    “All the Palestinian factions got together and still remain unified, even though the Israelis tried to split them apart; I think that the resistance is unified much stronger than it has been for many years and that is directly because of Soleimani’s activity,” he said, adding that, “he was a unifying figure in life and death.”

    Miller also said that Soleimani was the “architect of resistance” and brought together the forces in the Axis of Resistance, a transnational organization, willing to fight US imperialism and target and fight Zionism.

    He also lauded the anti-terror commander for his endeavors in bringing the resistance together despite the Shia-Sunni divide.

    “He worked seamlessly across the sectarian divide, and the support from [the Palestinian resistance movement] Hamas, predominantly a Sunni organization, is unparalleled for any other particular leader in the Iranian government,” he said.

    “Soleimani is somebody who, during his life, accomplished military feats, for which the whole world should be grateful,” Miller added.

    The killing of General Soleimani

    The killing of Qassem Soleimani by a drone strike on 3 January 2020 was carried out on the direct orders of President Donald Trump.

    ‘Gen. Soleimani steadfast ally of Palestinian resistance’

    Aamar Kazmi, an anti-imperialist political activist, also told Press TV that General Soleimani was certainly seen as a “steadfast ally of the Palestinian resistance.”

    “Many Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza, admire Soleimani, display portraits of him and even in the West Bank, and there are murals of him on the apartheid wall, so he is very well respected in Palestine and lots of tributes were paid to him upon his martyrdom,” he said.

    ‘Soleimani, architect of defeat of ISIS’

    Elsewhere in his remarks, Kazmi said Soleimani was the architect of the defeat of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

    “Qassem Soleimani’s role was quite unique; over the years, he was on the ground, literally all over the place in Iraq and Syria, building connections, planning and strategizing, providing inspiration and morale. Sometimes it is possible to attribute too much to a single individual but I do not think this is one of those cases,” he concluded.

    Iraq commemorates General Soleimani ahead of US assassination anniversary: ‘His path will continue’

    The Iraqi people hold ceremony in Salahedine Governorate to commemorate the former commander of the IRGC Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani and his comrades.

    During his lifetime, General Soleimani played a significant and direct role all across the region.

    In 2006, Soleimani sent military support to Hezbollah to help eject the Zionist invasion of southern Lebanon.

    In Syria, Soleimani assumed personal control of the Iranian intervention. He reportedly coordinated the war from a base in Damascus with Syrian officers, Hezbollah, and Iraqi Shia militia forces.

    In 2015, he was the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. Soleimani personally briefed President Putin on the strategy.

    In 2017, he dealt a decisive blow against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq.

    General Soleimani was targeted in a US drone strike directly ordered by Trump, which also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis among others.

    Five days later, Iran, which had vowed to avenge Soleimani’s assassination, launched a barrage of missiles at the US-run Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, as well as another airbase in Erbil.

    The Islamic Republic also said the attack, dubbed Operation Martyr Soleimani, was a “first slap” and that its retaliation was not over.

    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:



    NOVEMBER 18TH, 2022


    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has been available for less than three weeks, but it is already making waves. Breaking records, within ten days, the first-person military shooter video game earned more than $1 billion in revenue. Yet it has also been shrouded in controversy, not least because missions include assassinating an Iranian general clearly based on Qassem Soleimani, a statesman and military leader slain by the Trump administration in 2020, and a level where players must shoot “drug traffickers” attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border.

    The Call of Duty franchise is an entertainment juggernaut, having sold close to half a billion games since it was launched in 2003. Its publisher, Activision Blizzard, is a giant in the industry, behind titles games as the Guitar HeroWarcraftStarcraftTony Hawk’s Pro SkaterCrash Bandicoot and Candy Crush Saga series.

    Yet a closer inspection of Activision Blizzard’s key staff and their connections to state power, as well as details gleaned from documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Call of Duty is not a neutral first-person shooter, but a carefully constructed piece of military propaganda, designed to advance the interests of the U.S. national security state.


    It has long been a matter of public record that American spies have targeted and penetrated Activision Blizzard games. Documents released by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA, CIA, FBI and Department of Defense infiltrated the vast online realms such as World of Warcraft, creating make-believe characters to monitor potential illegal activity and recruit informers. Indeed, at one point, there were so many U.S. spies in one video game that they had to create a “deconfliction” group as they were wasting time unwittingly surveilling each other. Virtual games, the NSA wrote, were an “opportunity” and a “target-rich communication network”.

    However, documents obtained legally under the Freedom of Information Act by journalist and researcher Tom Secker and shared with MintPress News show that the connections between the national security state and the video game industry go far beyond this, and into active collaboration.

    In September 2018, for example, the United States Air Force flew a group of entertainment executives – including Call of Duty/Activision Blizzard producer Coco Francini – to their headquarters at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The explicit reason for doing so, they wrote, was to “showcase” their hardware and to make the entertainment industry more “credible advocates” for the U.S. war machine.

    “We’ve got a bunch of people working on future blockbusters (think Marvel, Call of Duty, etc.) stoked about this trip!” wrote one Air Force officer. Another email notes that the point of the visit was to provide “heavy-hitter” producers with “AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] immersion focused on Special Tactics Airmen and air-to-ground capabilities.”

    “This is a great opportunity to educate this community and make them more credible advocates for us in the production of any future movies/television productions on the Air Force and our Special Tactics community,” wrote the AFSOC community relations chief.

    Francini and others were shown CV-22 helicopters and AC-130 planes in action, both of which feature heavily in Call of Duty games.

    Yet Call of Duty collaboration with the military goes back much further. The documents show that the United States Marine Corps (USMC) was involved in the production of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty 5. The games’ producers approached the USMC at the 2010 E3 entertainment convention in Los Angeles, requesting access to hovercrafts (vehicles which later appeared in the game). Call of Duty 5 executives also asked for use of a hovercraft, a tank and a C-130 aircraft.

    This collaboration continued in 2012 with the release of Modern Warfare 4, where producers requested access to all manner of air and ground vehicles.

    Secker told MintPress that, by collaborating with the gaming industry, the military ensures a positive portrayal that can help it reach recruitment targets, stating that,

    For certain demographics of gamers it’s a recruitment portal, some first-person shooters have embedded adverts within the games themselves…Even without this sort of explicit recruitment effort, games like Call of Duty make warfare seem fun, exciting, an escape from the drudgery of their normal lives.”

    Secker’s documentary, “Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood” was released earlier this year.

    The military clearly held considerable influence over the direction of Call of Duty games. In 2010, its producers approached the Department of Defense (DoD) for help on a game set in 2075. However, the DoD liaison “expressed concern that [the] scenario being considered involves future war with China.” As a result, Activision Blizzard began “looking at other possible conflicts to design the game around.” In the end, due in part to military objections, the game was permanently abandoned.


    Not only does Activision Blizzard work with the U.S. military to shape its products, but its leadership board is also full of former high state officials. Chief amongst these is Frances Townsend, Activision Blizzard’s senior counsel, and, until September, its chief compliance officer and executive vice president for corporate affairs.

    Prior to joining Activision Blizzard, Townsend spent her life working her way up the rungs of the national security state. Previously serving as head of intelligence for the Coast Guard and as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s counterterrorism deputy, in 2004, President Bush appointed her to his Intelligence Advisory Board.

    As the White House’s most senior advisor on terrorism and homeland security, Townsend worked closely with Bush and Rice, and became one of the faces of the administration’s War on Terror. One of her principal achievements was to whip the American public into a constant state of fear about the supposed threat of more Al-Qaeda attacks (which never came).

    Frances Townsend
    Before she joined Activision Blizzard, Frances Townsend worked in Homeland Security and Counterterrorism for the Bush White House. Ron Edmonds | AP

    As part of her job, Townsend helped popularize the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” – a Bush-era euphemism for torturing detainees. Worse still, Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, the officer in charge of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, alleged that Townsend put pressure on him to ramp up the torture program, reminding him “many, many times” that he needed to improve the intelligence output from the Iraqi jail.

    Townsend has denied these allegations. She also later condemned the “handcuff[ing]” and “humiliation” surrounding Abu Ghraib. She was not referring to the prisoners, however. In an interview with CNN, she lamented that “these career professionals” – CIA torturers – had been subject to “humiliation and opprobrium” after details of their actions were made public, meaning that future administrations would be “handcuffed” by the fear of bad publicity, while the intelligence community would become more “risk-averse”.

    During the Trump administration, Townsend was hotly tipped to become the Director of National Intelligence or the Secretary of Homeland Security. President Trump also approached her for the role of director of the FBI. Instead, however, Townsend took a seemingly incongruous career detour to become an executive at a video games company.


    In addition to this role, Townsend is a director of the NATO offshoot, the Atlantic Council, a director at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a trustee of the hawkish think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a group MintPress News has previously covered in detail.

    Funded by weapons companies, NATO and the U.S. government, the Atlantic Council serves as the military alliance’s brain trust, devising strategies on how best to manage the world. Also on its board of directors are high statespersons like Henry Kissinger and Conzoleezza Rice, virtually every retired U.S. general of note, and no fewer than seven former directors of the CIA. As such, the Atlantic Council represents the collective opinion of the national security state.

    Two more key Call of Duty staff also work for the Atlantic Council. Chance Glasco, a co-founder of Infinity Ward developers who oversaw the game franchise’s rapid rise, is the council’s nonresident senior fellow, advising top generals and political leaders on the latest developments in tech.

    Game designer and producer Dave Anthony, crucial to Call of Duty’s success, is also an Atlantic Council employee, joining the group in 2014. There, he advises them on what the future of warfare will look like, and devises strategies for NATO to fight in upcoming conflicts.

    Anthony has made no secret that he collaborated with the U.S. national security state while making the Call of Duty franchise. “My greatest honor was to consult with Lieut. Col. Oliver North on the story of Black Ops 2,” he stated publicly, adding, There are so many small details we could never have known about if it wasn’t for his involvement.”

    Oliver North is a high government official gained worldwide infamy after being convicted for his role in the Iran-Contra Affair, whereby his team secretly sold weapons to the government of Iran, using the money to arm and train fascist death squads in Central America – groups who attempted to overthrow the government of Nicaragua and carried out waves of massacres and ethnic cleansing in the process.


    Another eyebrow-raising hire is Activision Blizzard’s chief administration officer, Brian Bulatao. A former Army captain and consultant for McKinsey & Company, until 2018, he was chief operating officer for the CIA, placing him third in command of the agency. When CIA Director Mike Pompeo moved over to the State Department, becoming Trump’s Secretary of State, Bulatao went with him, and was appointed Under Secretary of State for Management.

    There, by some accounts, he served as Pompeo’s personal “attack dog,” with former colleagues describing him as a “bully” who brought a “cloud of intimidation” over the workplace, repeatedly pressing them to ignore potential illegalities happening at the department. Thus, it is unclear if Bulatao is the man to improve Activision Blizzard’s notoriously “toxic” workplace environment that caused dozens of employees to walk out en masse last summer.

    After the Trump administration’s electoral defeat, Bulatao went straight from the State Department into the highest echelons of Activision Blizzard, despite no experience in the entertainment industry.

    Donald Trump,
    Trump stands with then-CIA Chief Operations Officer Brian Bulatao at CIA Headquarters, May 21, 2018, in Langley, Va. Evan Vucci | AP

    The third senior Republican official Activision Blizzard has recruited to its upper ranks is Grant Dixton. Between 2003 and 2006, Dixton served as associate counsel to President Bush, advising him on many of his administration’s most controversial legal activities (such as torture and the rapid expansion of the surveillance state). A lawyer by trade, he later went on to work for weapons manufacturer Boeing, rising to become its senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. In June 2021, he left Boeing to join Activision Blizzard as its chief legal officer.

    Other Activision Blizzard executives with backgrounds in national security include senior vice president and chief information security officer Brett Wahlin, who was a U.S. Army counterintelligence agent, and chief of staff, Angela Alvarez, who, until 2016, was an Army chemical operations specialist.

    That the same government that was infiltrating games 10-15 years ago now has so many former officials controlling the very game companies raises serious questions around privacy and state control over media, and mirrors the national security state penetration of social media that has occurred over the same timeframe.


    These deep connections to the U.S. national security state can perhaps help partly explain why, for years, many have complained about the blatant pro-U.S. propaganda apparent throughout the games.

    The latest installment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, is no exception. In the game’s first mission, players must carry out a drone strike against a character named

    The latest installment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, is no exception. In the game’s first mission, players must carry out a drone strike against a character named General Ghorbrani. The mission is obviously a recreation of the Trump administration’s illegal 2020 drone strike against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani – the in game general even bears a striking resemblance to Soleimani.

    General Ghorbrani
    The latest Call of Duty game has players assassinate a General Ghorbrani, a nebulous reference to Iranian General Qassem Solemani, pictured right

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II ludicrously presents the general as under Russia’s thumb and claims that Ghorbrani is “supplying terrorists” with aid. In reality, Soleimani was the key force in defeating ISIS terror across the Middle East – actions for which even Western media declared him a “hero”. U.S.-run polls found that Soleimani was perhaps the most popular leader in the Middle East, with over 80% of Iranians holding a positive opinion of him.

    Straight after the assassination, Pompeo’s State Department floated the falsehood that the reason they killed Soleimani was that he was on the verge of carrying out a terror attack against Americans. In reality, Soleimani was in Baghdad, Iraq, for peace talks with Saudi Arabia.

    These negotiations could have led to peace between the two nations, something that the U.S. government is dead against. Then-Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi revealed that he had personally asked President Trump for permission to invite Soleimani. Trump agreed, then used the opportunity to carry out the killing.

    Therefore,, just as Activision Blizzard is recruiting top State Department officials to its upper ranks, its games are celebrating the same State Department’s most controversial assassinations.

    This is far from the first time Call of Duty has instructed impressionable young gamers to kill foreign leaders, however. In Call of Duty Black Ops (2010), players must complete a mission to murder Cuban leader Fidel Castro. If they manage to shoot him in the head, they are rewarded with an extra gory slow motion scene and obtain a bronze “Death to Dictators” trophy. Thus, players are forced to carry out digitally what Washington failed to do on over 600 occasions.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops
    A mission from “Call of Duty: Black Ops” has players assassinate a hostage-taking Fidel Castro

    Likewise, Call of Duty: Ghosts is set in Venezuela, where players fight against General Almagro, a socialist military leader clearly modelled on former president Hugo Chavez. Like Chavez, Almagro wears a red beret and uses Venezuela’s oil wealth to forge an alliance of independent Latin American nations against the U.S. Washington attempted to overthrow Chavez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, multiple times. During the sixth mission of the game, players must shoot and kill Almagro from close range.

    The anti-Russian propaganda is also turned up to 11 in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019). One mission recreates the infamous Highway of Death incident. During the First Iraq War, U.S.-led forces trapped fleeing Iraqi troops on Highway 80. What followed was what then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell described as “wanton killing” and “slaughter for slaughter’s sake” as U.S. troops and their allies pummeled the Iraqi convoy for hours, killing hundreds and destroying thousands of vehicles. U.S. forces also reportedly shot hundreds of Iraqi civilians and surrendered soldiers in their care.

    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare recreates this scene for dramatic effect. However, in their version, it is not the U.S.-led forces doing the killing, but Russia, thereby whitewashing a war crime by pinning the blame on official enemies.

    A mission in “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” has players recreate the infamous highway of death

    Call of Duty, in particular, has been flagged up for recreating real events as game missions and manipulating them for geopolitical purposes,” Secker told MintPress, referring to the Highway of Death, adding,

    In a culture where most people’s exposure to games (and films, TV shows and so on) is far greater than their knowledge of historical and current events, these manipulations help frame the gamers’ emotional, intellectual and political reactions. This helps them turn into more general advocates for militarism, even if they don’t sign up in any formal way.”

    Secker’s latest book, “Superheroes, Movies and the State: How the U.S. Government Shapes Cinematic Universes,” was published earlier this year.


    In today’s digitized era, the worlds of war and video games increasingly resemble one another. Many have commented on the similarities between piloting drones in real life and in games such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Prince Harry, who was a helicopter gunner in Afghanistan, described his “joy” at firing missiles at enemies. “I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think I’m probably quite useful,” he said. “If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game,” he added, explicitly comparing the two activities. U.S. forces even control drones with Xbox controllers, blurring the lines between war games and war games even further.

    The military has also directly produced video games as promotional and recruitment tools. One is a U.S. Air Force game called Airman Challenge. Featuring 16 missions to complete, interspersed with facts and recruitment information about how to become a drone operator yourself. In its latest attempts to market active service to young people, players move through missions escorting U.S. vehicles through countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, serving up death from above to all those designated “insurgents” by the game.

    Players earn medals and achievements for most effectively destroying moving targets. All the while, there is a prominent “apply now” button on screen if players feel like enlisting and conducting real drone strikes on the Middle East.

    U.S. Armed Forces use the popularity of video games to recruit heavily among young people, sponsoring gaming tournaments, fielding their own U.S. Army Esports team, and directly trying to recruit teens on streaming sites such as Twitch. The Amazon-owned platform eventually had to clamp down on the practice after the military used fake prize giveaways that lured impressionable young viewers onto recruitment websites.

    Video games are a massive business and a huge center of soft power and ideology. The medium makes for particularly persuasive propaganda because children and adolescents consume them, often for weeks or months on end, and because they are light entertainment. Because of this, users do not have their guards up like if they were listening to a politician speaking. Their power is often overlooked by scholars and journalists because of the supposed frivolity of the medium. But it is the very notion that these are unimportant sources of fun that makes their message all the more potent.

    The Call of Duty franchise is particularly egregious, not only in its messaging, but because who the messengers are. Increasingly, the games appear to be little more than American propaganda masquerading as fun first-person shooters. For gamers, the point is to enjoy its fast-paced entertainment. But for those involved in their production, the goal is not just making money; it is about serving the imperial war machine.

    Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

    Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

    DPRK fires ballistic missile, vows ‘fiercer’ military response

    November 17, 2022

    Source: Agencies

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    DPRK launches a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, according to Seoul’s military.

    A woman watches a TV broadcasting a news report on DPRK firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, S. Korea. (Reuters)

    The latest in a series of launches aimed at downplaying western provocations and threats, DPRK launched a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday, according to Seoul’s military, as Pyongyang threatened a “fiercer” military response to the US and its regional allies.

    South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military had “detected around 10:48 am (0148 GMT) one short-range ballistic missile fired from the Wonsan area in Kangwon province.”

    “The military has stepped up monitoring and guard and is maintaining utmost readiness in close coordination with the US,” it added.

    On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, US President Joe Biden spoke with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping earlier this week about DPRK’s recent spate of missile tests.

    After a series of missile launches fuelled concerns that DPRK would soon conduct its seventh alleged nuclear test, the US President urged China to exert pressure on its ally. Biden also spoke Sunday with the prime ministers of Japan and South Korea, Yoon Suk-yeol and Fumio Kishida, to discuss ways to counter the threat posed by DPRK’s “unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” according to the White House.

    Read next: DPRK launches 4 short-range ballistic missiles: Reports

    DPRK’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, slammed Thursday those talks, saying they were “bringing the situation on the Korean peninsula to an unpredictable phase.”

    “The US bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts,” Choe said in a statement reported by state news agency KCNA. 

    The more efforts Washington will make to fortify its security pact with Seoul and Tokyo, “the fiercer the DPRK’s military counteraction will be,” Choe said.

    According to experts, the launch of the missile on Thursday was timed to coincide with the Foreign Minister’s statement from Pyongyang.

    DPRK “fired the missile after releasing the statement hours earlier in an attempt to justify the launch to send its message to the US and Japan,” Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute told AFP

    UN gridlock

    DPRK launched numerous missiles earlier this month, including a barrage on November 2 that included 23 missiles, more than it did in 2017, the year of “fire and fury” in which Kim and the US President at the time, Donald Trump, traded insults

    Hundreds of US and South Korean warplanes, including B-1B heavy bombers, took part in joint air drills, which have long sparked strong reactions from DPRK.

    Read next: US, Japan conduct joint drills amid DPRK missile launches

    Experts claim DPRK is seizing the opportunity to conduct “prohibited” missile tests, confident of avoiding additional UN sanctions due to the Ukraine-related gridlock at the UN.

    China, Pyongyang’s main diplomatic and economic ally, joined Russia in May in vetoing a US-led bid at the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on DPRK.

    DPRK warns US, allies of proportional response to bolstering US extended deterrence

    DPRK Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui warned the US and its regional allies on Thursday that Pyongyang will respond proportionally to Washington’s strengthening of extended deterrence and intensification of provocative military activities in the region.

    “The keener the US is on the ‘bolstered offer of extended deterrence to its allies and the more they intensify provocative and bluffing military activities on the Korean peninsula and in the region, the fiercer the DPRK’s military counteraction will be, in direct proportion to it, and it will pose a more serious, realistic and inevitable threat to the US and its vassal forces,” the Foreign Minister said in a statement, as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

    Read next: DPRK rigorously warns US and South Korea amid Vigilant Storm drills

    The Minister noted that “staged large-scale war drills” of the US and its allies in the region not only failed to contain Pyongyang but also “resulted in increasing their security crisis.”

    “The US ‘bolstered offer of extended deterrence and the daily-increasing military activities of the allied forces around the Korean peninsula are foolish acts that will bring more serious instability to the US and its allies,” the Minister said.
    Since the beginning of 2022, DPRK has conducted over 30 missile tests. Pyongyang launched more than 20 missiles of various types on November 2.

    Pyongyang maintains that DPRK’s military activities are in response to provocations by South Korea and its allies, the United States and Japan.

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