Pro-Iranian Forces Attack US Convoys Withdrawing From Largest Base In Iraq

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The US military has been facing increasing pressure from local resistance forces and pro-Iranian groups in Iraq.

On August 21, an improvised explosive device (IED) reportedly struck a vehicle of company working with the U.S.-led coalition in Aweerij, south of the capital, Baghdad. The vehicle was destroyed and its driver was killed. Pro-Iranian sources even claimed that the entire supply convoy of the US-led coalition was destroyed, and three Fijian private military contractors working for the U.S. military were killed. These claims have not been confirmed by any visual evidence so far.

On August 22, another IED attack hit a logistical convoy of the US-led coalition near Baghdad. This time the incident happened in Ghazaliya, on a highway leading to the al-Shuala district. The video from the site showed that at least one vehicle was damaged.

On August 23, an IED explosion targeted a convoy of US forces withdrawing from Camp Taji just a few hours after the US military officially handed the military base to Iraqi government forces. The base used to host 2,000 US troops. Most of them are set to be withdrawn in the coming days.

According to local sources, local Shiite resistance groups and Iranian-linked forces were behind these attacks. Iran and its Iraqi allies vowed to expel US forces from Iraq after the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Deputy-Commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a US drone strike on January 3, 2020.

On August 20, Iran even unveiled two missiles with named after Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The missiles were revealed on the occasion of the National Defense Industry Day. The first missile “Martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani” is ballistic with a range of up to 1,400 km. The second weapon, named “Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis,” is a cruise missile with a range of up to 1,000 km. Iran claimed that both missiles are capable of penetrating advanced anti-missile systems.

Tehran considers its missile program to be among the cornerstones of the country’s defense capabilities. On January 8, 2020, Iran even publicly conducted a missile strike on US military bases in Iraq retaliating for the assassination of Soleimani and al-Muhandis in Baghdad. The naming of new Iranian missiles after these prominent commanders are likely a demonstration of the Iranian determination to continue its anti-US campaign in the region. Therefore, the pressure on US forces in Iraq will likely further increase in the near future.

USA TO IRAQ: WE WILL WITHDRAW BUT WITHOUT BEING HUMILIATED

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi is preparing to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House, about issues that are burdening Iraq. The country is struggling with a stifling economic crisis, the Coronavirus pandemic, the US military presence that is no longer desirable, the “unmanageable balance” between Iran and the US, and the omnipresent Turkish military activity and Turkey’s presence on Iraqi soil.

The Al-Kazemi team includes economic experts and diplomats who want to resume the second round of strategic talks that began between the two countries last June. This exchange has been imposed on both sides following the binding decision of the Iraqi parliament to order US forces to withdraw from Iraq, following the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, leader of the “Axis of the Resistance” and commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard- alongside the Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis- together with their companions, in January 2020. 

Several groups of unknown affiliation have attacked US bases with Katyusha rockets and mortar shells, deliberately not inflicting fatal injuries. Moreover, Iraqi convoys transporting equipment belonging to the US forces have been intercepted and the contents set on fire- a warning to Iraqi drivers to refrain from providing any services to the US forces, otherwise they too will bear the consequences.

These “so-far unknown” groups shared a common goal: warn US forces that their presence in Iraq will no longer be tolerated unless they withdraw as requested by Parliament. It is to be expected that these groups will escalate, intensifying their attacks so as to put more pressure on both Al-Kazemi’s government and on Washington. Violent confrontation is no longer distant.

Iran has repeatedly indicated its support for Iraq as well as its support for the Iraqis who want to get the US out of Iraq. When Al-Kazemi visited Tehran last month and met with Iranian officials, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, told him: “The US has killed your guest.” Sayyed Khamenei wanted to arouse Arab tribal feelings that sanctify and protect the guest, to remind Iraqi officials that they have done nothing yet to avenge a guest’s murder, and to underscore that if the Iraqis revolt against the killers, this is indeed their right.

Thus, the Iraqi Prime Minister – who is trying to find common ground between the US and Iran – is not mediating with the goal of a meeting between the two countries’ officials, because Iran refuses to engage with the killers of Major General Soleimani, the current US administration. Al-Kazemi would rather try to avoid a military clash in Mesopotamia. However, the chances of him succeeding in his endeavour between Tehran and Washington are weak so long as the Trump administration is in power. The big challenge that Al-Kazemi faces is the illegal Turkish presence in Iraq. For many years, 

RAIN OF ROCKETS HITS US FORCES IN IRAQ. ISRAELI-UAE PEACE DEAL CRUMBLES DAYS AFTER ITS ANNOUNCEMENT

South Front

As it was expected, the ‘historic’ UAE-Israeli peace deal did not contribute to the stability in the Middle East. Instead, the situation has been slowly, but steadily moving towards a larger confrontation in the region.

Immediately after the announcement of the US-sponsored peace deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country is not going to fulfill one of its key provisions – the suspension of the annexation of West Bank territories. The prime minister emphasized that the annexation plan was just delayed, but not suspended.

“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said adding that “Israel will have comprehensive peace agreements with other Arab countries without returning to the 1967 borders.”

This unfortunate, but expected statement goes fully in the framework of the Israeli regional policy and contradicts position of the US-sponsored deal reached with the UAE. In particular, Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed emphasized that “it was agreed to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli actions strengthened the already existing controversy over the deal and on August 15-16, the situation escalated in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Palestinian protesters with explosives tried to approach the security fence and then Palestinian forces launched at least 2 rockets at southern Israel. In its own turn, IDF aircraft conducted a series of airstrikes on what Tel Aviv described as Hamas targets.

If the Israeli leadership keeps its course on the annexation of the West Bank areas, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will expectedly escalate, and even possibly expand further. For example, in this scenario, an escalation could be expected in the area of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and on the Lebanese-Israeli contact line.

On August 14, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah already declared that the movement “will not remain silent on the crime of the bombing the Port of Beirut if it is proven that Israel is behind it.” According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah would wait for results of an investigation into the Beirut port explosion and if it turns out to be an act of sabotage by Israel then it would “pay an equal price”.

The August 4 blast in the port of Beirut is still surrounded by mystery and uncertainties, and many sources, including the top US leadership, still consider the possibility that the tragedy was caused by some kind of ‘attack’. In this event, the main suspect is Israel, which has always been interested in the destabilization of neighboring Arab states to secure own dominance in the region.

Tensions are also growing between the United States and Iran. On August 14, the Department of Justice announced that US forces have seized some 1.116m barrels of Iranian fuel aboard 4 ships headed for Venezuela. The seizure came amid increasing attacks on US forces and facilities from pro-Iranian and anti-US armed groups in Iraq.

On the evening of August 16, a rocket targeted the Green Zone of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which houses government buildings and foreign missions. The strike led to no casualties. Just a few hours earlier, the pro-Iranian armed group Ashab al-Kahf released a video showing an improvised explosive device attack on a US equipment convoy in the Anbar area. The group claimed that the convoy was fully destroyed. On August 15, two rockets targeted the biggest US military base in Iraq – Camp Taji. The base is located north of Baghdad. On the same day, a convoy carrying logistical supplies for the U.S.-led coalition was targeted on the highway between Dhi Qar and Basrah in southern Iraq. The attack was conducted by another pro-Iranian group, Usbat al-Tha’ireen. Pro-US sources denied any casualties as a result of the attack. These were just the most recent in about two dozen various attacks on US-affiliated targets in Iraq during the past few weeks.

If the US and Iran continue the current confrontational course, it is expected that the number and intensity of attacks in Iraq will increase boosting the chances of an open confrontation between the US and Iranian-led forces.

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IRANIAN-BACKED FORCES CHALLENGE US MILITARY IN IRAQ WITH INCREASING ROCKET ATTACKS

South Front

In the recent weeks the US-led coalition in Iraq experienced a turn for the worse.

On the evening of August 10th, a military convoy carrying equipment for US forces near the Iraq-Kuwait border was reportedly targeted by an explosion. The Iraqi Shiite armed group, Ashab al-Kahf, issued a statement claiming that its forces had destroyed “equipment and vehicles belonging to the American enemy” in a bombing, targeting a border crossing south of the Iraqi city of Basra. The group also released a video purposely showing the attack.

Ashab al-Kahf is one of multiple anti-US resistance groups, which have surfaced in Iraq since early 2020 after the US assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, the deputy chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several other prominent Iraqi officers leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq. All these new groups declare their goal to be forcing US troops to leave Iraq and conduct attacks on US military infrastructure and forces. This has already become an everyday reality for the US military.

Additionally to the August 10 attack, there were at least 4 more military incidents blamed by the US and mainstream media on these groups during the past weeks.

Early on August 12, 3 rockets fell near the US embassy building in the Baghdad Green Zone. No casualties were reported. On August 5, at least one rocket was launched at the US embassy area in Baghdad. The rocket was reportedly intercepted by the C-RAM [Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar] system which was recently deployed in the area by the U.S. military. On July 30, two rockets targeted the military section of the Baghdad International Airport, where US forces were deployed. On July 27, multiple rockets pounded the US-operated military base ‘Camp Taji’ north of Baghdad.

The structure and intensity of these attacks demonstrate that they are mostly aimed at pressuring the US military and political leadership into directing a troop withdrawal by creating a hostile environment rather than causing large-scale damage to US forces. If Washington decides to ignore them and accepts instead an increase in casualties in the region, such a resistance may continue for years without a breakthrough. Nevertheless, an especially successful rocket strike leading to significant casualties might well lead to an open military response from the United States. The most likely scenario would then be large-scale airstrikes on what Washington would call ‘Iranian and Iranian proxy targets’ in Iraq and eastern Syria. However, such an isolated even if powerful response would not be enough to change the situation strategically. Therefore, if the situation develops in the current direction, the low intensity conflict between the US and Iranian-led forces in Iraq would enter a lingering phase. The prospects for the stabilization of the economic and security situation in the country would be seriously in question.

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

Description:

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

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

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

Source: Afaq TV (YouTube)

Date: 24 July, 2020

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

Read Transcript: http://middleeastobserver.net/iraqi-pms-visit-to-washington-will-fail-if-he-is-not-obedient-iraqi-politician/

Israel Reinforces Troops Near Golan Heights Fearing Hezbollah Retaliation To Strikes On Syria

South Front

The Middle East is rapidly moving towards a new round of confrontation between the US-Israeli bloc and Iranian-led Shiite forces.

On July 26, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) deployed M109 Doher howitzers near the separation line with Lebanon. The deployment of howitzers became the latest in a series of broad measures employed by the IDF near Lebanon recently. Earlier, the 13th “Gideon” Infantry Battalion of the IDF’s elite 1st “Golani” Brigade reinforced troops near the border. The number Israeli Hermes 450 drone reconnaissance flights also significantly increased over southern Lebanon. Additional IDF units were also deployed in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. On top of this, the IDF announced that it will hold the Lebanese government responsible “for all actions emanating from Lebanon”.

These measures followed the July 20 Israeli strike on Syria, which resulted in the death of a member of Lebanese Hezbollah. Over the past years, Hezbollah has been one of the main supporters of Syrian Army operations against ISIS and al-Qaeda. Tel Aviv increases its strikes on what it calls Hezbollah and Iranian-affiliated targets in Syria every time when the Syrian Army launches active actions against terrorists and seems to be very concerned by the possibility of a Hezbollah response to the July 20 attack.

If Israel is really set to conduct strikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon to the retaliatory action by Hezbollah, this scenario could easily evolve into a wider border confrontation between Hezbollah and the IDF.

At the same time, tensions between local resistance groups and the US-led coalition grew in Iraq. On July 24, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, Ashab al-Kahf, announced that its forces had shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle of the US military over the province of Saladin. The group claimed that the UAV was downed by some ‘new weapon’ and released a photo showing the launch of what appears to be an anti-aircraft missile, likely a man-portable air-defense system.

On the same day, four unguided rockets struck the Pasmaya military camp, which is located 60km south of Baghdad. One of the rockets hit a garage for armoured vehicles, while another one targeted the barracks of the security unit. Two other rockets landed in an empty area. Despite causing some material damage, the rocket attack did not result in any casualties. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pasmaya military camp is known to be hosting troops of the U.S.-led coalition and is used for training of Iraqi troops. On July 25, the coalition withdrew its forces from the camp and handed it over to the Iraqi military. According to the official statement, the coalition trained 50,000 personnel and invested $5 million into the creation of training infrastructure there.

Earlier in 2020, the US-led coalition withdrew its forces from several smaller military camps across the country. Some sources tried to present this as a withdrawal from Iraq due to the increasing attacks on coalition forces by anti-US Shiite paramilitary groups. These attacks increased significantly after the assassination of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Deputy Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike on Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The attack put the region on the brink of the US-Iranian war and caused a public outcry against the US military presence in Iraq. However, in fact, the US has not been withdrawing its troops from the country, but rather redeploying them to larger bases. The US military even brought Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to provide additional protection to its forces. It also continues isolated attacks on positions of the Popular Mobilization Units, an official branch of the Iraqi Armed Forces that Washington describes as terrorist groups and Iranian proxies.

On July 26, several large explosions rocked the al-Saqer military camp near the district of Dora south of Baghdad. The Al-Saqer military camp hosts forces of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) as well as the Iraqi Federal Police. Large quantities of ammunition, which were stored in the camp, exploded. Iraqi Security Media said the ammunition exploded as result of “high heat” and “poor storage”. Nevertheless, sources affiliated with the PMU rejected these speculations. Local sources claimed that the explosions were caused by US drone strikes. An MQ-1 Predator combat drone was spotted over the al-Saqer military camp just after the incident. This was the second situation of this kind that happened in al-Saqer. In 2019, a US drone strike hit a weapon depot at the camp.

The current situation sets almost no prospects for a de-escalation in Iraq. The main goal of attacks by local Shiite groups is to force the US to withdraw troops from the country. At the same time, the US is not planning to withdraw its forces and uses these attacks to justify the increase of its campaign against pro-Iranian forces in the Middle East.

WHEN HEZBOLLAH FLAGS UP THE CHINA AND IRAN OPTIONS THE US TREMBLES

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Meeting Between The Lebanese Cabinet With Ambassador Wang Kejian, The Chinese Ambassador To Lebanon

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Hastily and under the watchful eye of Israeli and US drones, Hezbollah is storing hundreds of tons of food stock, supplied by Iran, in dozens of improvised warehouses on the Syrian-Lebanese border. This new and unusual step by Hezbollah reflects Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s recent promise to prevent the starvation threat looming for the Lebanese population. 

The US-Israel war against the “Axis of the Resistance” continues but with different tools. It is progressing from waging wars with armies on the ground as the US did in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003, and as Israel did in Lebanon in 2006, to the assassination of key figures in Iraq. And now it is the sanctions war on Iran, Syria and Lebanon and the intimidation of Iraq. Last January, following the US’s unlawful targeted killing of Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani – UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard described it as “an act of war” – President Donald Trump threatened to slap sanctions on Iraq “like they’ve never seen before” if Baghdad were to ask for US troops to withdraw from Mesopotamia. Iran has survived 40 years of continuous and escalating US sanctions, and Syria has just been faced with the unilateral and harsh “Caesar’s Act” sanction: the country has already been under EU-US sanctions for the last nine years.

The dire economic situation and the sharp devaluation of the local currency that led to prices of foodstuffs skyrocketing are pressing the Lebanese government and the quasi-state actor, Hezbollah, to look for solutions distinct from the US dictate and objectives. For this purpose, Sayyed Nasrallah proposed that the government look towards the East, to China and Russia, without necessarily turning its back on the West, unless the US continues its harsh punishment which is hitting the entire Lebanese population. 

Sayyed Nasrallah’s suggestion that the government “go East” created a storm in Washington, aware of the growing threat of the colossal Chinese economy and its partners around the globe that are threatening US hegemony. US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea criticised Lebanon’s overture to China in a move indicating the confusion of the US administration. Sayyed Nasrallah’s blow “below the belt” pushed the US administration off balance. Sayyed Nasrallah proposed turning the country’s compass towards the two countries (China and Iran) declared most despicable by the Trump administration. These countries have the capacity to counteract US actions against Lebanon.

This economic strangulation is known as the “soft war” because it costs the US and Israel no human losses. Nevertheless, what US planning did not foresee is the reaction of the opposite camp. The “Axis of the Resistance” has been pushed to be more creative, to learn ways to survive in solidarity, and to overcome the difficult challenges posed by the US and Israel.

Iran promised to support its allies in the Middle East (and in the Caribbean) by exporting oil to Venezuela under the watchful but impotent eyes of the US. Whereas the US treats those who believe they are allies as disposable pawns, interested only in the well-being of Israel. Indeed, the US ambassador, in a private meeting with Prime Minister Diab, raised the Israeli request to establish maritime and land borders between Lebanon and Israel, a request the government in Beirut has always turned down. The US is trying to offer temporary solutions to Lebanon to keep it in limbo and dependent on Washington’s mood and blessing, as long as the Lebanese government doesn’t take that real step towards China for alternative energy and infrastructure.

Hezbollah’s military capability has confirmed a robust seat for the organisation in many theatres around the Middle East. Sayyed Nasrallah’s last speech was not aiming to increase his popularity but was a road map and a plan of action preparing his group to cover some of the needs of the population. The US may indeed be thinking of even further sanctions and other ways to counter Hezbollah. The so-called “soft war” is only just beginning, but the “Axis of the Resistance” seems indubitably ready to produce counter-measures.

Proofread by:  C.G.B. and  Maurice Brasher

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

Iraqi PMF leader: Operations on US forces to escalate day by day

Iraqi PMF leader: Operations on US forces to escalate day by day

Original link 

Description:

Deputy Secretary General of the Al-Nujaba Movement, a faction of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), says that ‘resistance operations against U.S. occupation forces in Iraq will escalate day by day’.

In an interview with Al Mayadeen TV, Nasr al-Shimmari added that the country’s ‘resistance forces’ had previously given time for dialogue in order for American forces to leave Iraq, however, it was clear that the ‘US only understands the language of force’.

Source: Al-Alam TV (citing from Al Mayadeen TV)

Date: 16 July, 2020

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

Transcript:

Iraq: Nasr al-Shimmari, Deputy Secretary General of the Al-Nujaba Movement:

– the Americans cannot change the equations in Iraq

– the Americans have no choice but to withdraw from Iraq or stay and endure the losses that will be inflicted on their forces

– we bless the operations targeting the Americans and the resistance is devising the appropriate methods that will force them to leave

–  the U.S. forces in Iraq are occupying forces and targeting them by the resistance will escalate day by day

– the operations of the resistance are characterized by secrecy, and there is a unified decision among the resistance forces (factions) to confront the American forces

– the government is an executive – and not a legislative – entity, and (thus) cannot prevent the resistance from targeting the American (forces)

– Iran is a friend of all the resistance forces, but the main (side) concerned with confronting the American obstinacy in Iraq are the Iraqis (themselves)

– Washington did not take the initiative to help Iraq confront ISIS by using the pretext that this is was an ‘internal matter’ and not an external attack

– the Americans and the British want to put their (military) forces in areas (of Iraq) where they think the resistance will not (be able to) target them

– Turkish forces invaded Iraqi territory and bombed positions in Iraq and we did not see any American action (in response)

– Neither the prime minister nor the government has the authority to bring foreign troops to Iraq, especially after the parliament’s decision

– We hope that the actions of Al-Kadhimi and his government will be in the interest of Iraq, and we affirm that the future of the country depends on (it attaining its) freedom

– The Americans only understand the language of force and resistance is the only weapon capable of getting them out of Iraq

– resistance had given way for (the path) of dialogue and the implementation of the parliament’s decision for U.S. forces to leave (but that failed)

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IRAQI RESISTANCE FORCES BLEW UP US LOGISTIC CONVOY NEAR BAGHDAD (VIDEOS)

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On July 11 evening, a US logistic convoy was blew up on the road between Samawah and Diwaniyah, south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. At least 3 vehicles of the convoy were reportedly destroyed or damaged by gunment that attacked the convoy.

There have been no reports about casualties following the attack. US logistical convoys in Iraq are often supported or even operated by private contractors. So, the Pentagon may try to ignore the incident pretending that nothing has happened.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Nonetheless, Iraqi sources say that the attack was conducted by one of anti-US Iraqi resistance groups. Multiple such groups appeared following the US drone strike on Baghdad International Airport in early January 2020.

The drone strike killed the deputy commander of the Iraqi Armed Forces’ Popular Mobilization Forces and the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

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The U.S. Military Is the World’s Biggest Climate Destroyer. No to War and Occupation! No to Environmental Degradation

Emerging Dynamics of Antiwar and Climate Justice Movements

By Alison Bodine

Global Research, July 03, 2020

Talk by Alison Bodine at the United National Antiwar Coalition National Conference held from February 21–23, 2020, at the People’s Forum in New York City.

*** 

To begin, I hope everyone has been able to see actions across Canada in solidarity with the people of Wet’suwet’en media and social media lately, footage and their hereditary chiefs who are standing against a fracked gas, or what they call a “natural” gas pipeline, up in northern British Columbia. This struggle is part of my talk today, however, the focus of what I wanted to say is about the importance of bringing the anti-war movement and the climate justice movement together or anti-war organizers and the climate justice movement together.

The Devastating Human and Environmental Impact of War & Occupation 

I want to start with just three short examples of the impact of war on the environment that I think are very important to remember. 

On January 24th, over a million people protested in Iraq. The streets were full in Baghdad of people demanding the U.S. Out of Iraq Now! It was incredibly inspiring.

Iraq is a country that has been devastated for 17 years by U.S. led war and occupation. Over a million people have been killed, not to mention the millions who were killed before the war began in 2003 when the U.S. and the United Nations Security Council imposed severe sanctions between 1991 and 2003. Iraq is a devastated country where the U.S. has set up 500 big and small military bases throughout 17 years of occupation, and deployed countless bullets, bombs, chemical weapons, depleted uranium and burn pits filled with toxic plastics, heavy military machinery and shells of weaponry.

No wonder people in Iraq were demanding U.S. Out of Iraq Now! Because of the devastation that has been brought upon them. But I wanted to further centre our discussion on climate justice by talking about one example of what climate devastation and climate justice means to people in Iraq.

In 2010, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health wrote an article where they reported a 38-fold increase in leukemia, a tenfold increase in breast cancer, and an infant mortality rate eight times higher than in neighboring Kuwait, following what had then been seven years of U.S. war and occupation in Iraq. A big cause of this could be linked to the chemical weapons used, and especially to depleted uranium, which has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. According to a 2007 report by the U.N. Environment Program, between 1000 and 2000 metric tons of depleted uranium were fired into Iraq.

The city of Nagasaki is shown as a teeming urban area, above, then as a flattened, desolate wasteland following the detonation of an atomic bomb, below. Circles indicate the thousands of feet from ground zero.

Now I will bring it back home to the U.S. and Canada. In Canada, an Indigenous Dené nation community in the Northwest Territories became known as the “Village of Widows” because men of the population died of cancers that they developed when mining for uranium. This was the same uranium that was used in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As well, the radium and the uranium mines in the community released tailings into the lake and landfills. The devastating effects of this are still experienced in the community today.

That brings us to what has been said many times, importantly, in this conference already, which is that the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest polluter. We are talking about 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases emitted annually. That is the equivalent of 257 million cars on the road for a year.

In Canada, the Department of National Defence also makes an enormous contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. A portion of this is through the fueling of the warplanes of Canada and other imperialist countries. The government of Canada is often claiming that they are not participating in U.S.-led wars, but then refueling all the jets that are dropping the bombs. The Canadian military provided 65 million pounds of fuel to refuel aircraft used in the bombing of Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2019. This is incomparable, of course, to the fuel consumption of the vehicles that any of us here in this room drive.

The Department of Defense in the United States is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels. In Canada, the Department of National Defence is the largest consumer of petroleum and Canada’s largest landholder.

This is added to the continued environmental and human impact of chemical and radioactive weapons such as Agent Orange and depleted uranium. Also, the military bases of the United States and its allies around the world persist in poisoning and in polluting.

Another topic to talk about that is important to the discussion about environment and war is military emissions, because specific sources of greenhouse gases are excluded from federal reduction targets due to their important role in “ensuring the national safety and security of all Canadians” — as Canada’s previous environment minister, Catherine McKenna, justified why the declared emissions of the Department of National Defence in Canada has never been counted in Canada’s emission reduction targets.

Military emissions are explicitly stated as excluded in the targets set by the 2015 United National Paris agreements. Under these agreements, countries are “required,” as much as the Paris agreements can “require” anything, to report on their military emissions. Still, countries are not obligated or encouraged to do anything to reduce them. In the international climate agreements that proceeded with the Paris agreement, the Kyoto Accords, military emissions were not even part of the discussion. Military emissions continue to be considered a so-called necessary expense for our planet.

Then, there is the issue of military budgets. For example, the world’s biggest military budget ever has been passed yet again in the United States recently. Instead of being spent on human and environmental destruction, this money could go towards climate justice, meaning health care, education, jobs, public transit, and more.

As Martin Luther King Junior said, and I think this is a good quote for us to use when talking about the environment and war,

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

So, where is the technology that we need to save our planet earth now? 

The War at Home: Wet’suwet’en & the Struggle for Indigenous Rights 

The wars abroad by imperialist countries such as the U.S. and Canada are also carried out against people at home. And I think every once in a while, there are these escalated times when that reality can shake oppressed people and their very foundations. And that has happened with Indigenous people in Canada over the past few weeks.

There is a war against Indigenous people in Canada. There has been since the colonisation of Indigenous land. The Canadian state has the same roots as the United States of genocide, residential schools, and reservation systems. This history and the current reality of colonization are reflected in the mobilization of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en today. 

It is important to understand that one year ago, the RCMP -the Canadian national police- first invaded the territory of the Wet’suwet’en people, and they kept a detachment there for an entire year. Then this January is when things escalated again because the RCMP moved further into the territory and cleared people off of a road to make way for the development of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is in violation of the demands of the Wet’suwet’en people. British Columbia is an unceded territory. No treaties, in 92 percent of the land, were ever signed. So hereditary chiefs and their system of governance are law in those unceded territories. 

The Coastal GasLink pipeline is fracked gas. There has been a lot of talk, specifically in the Province of British Columbia about how the Coastal GasLink pipeline is going to “replace coal for the world,” and at the same time, not have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions. However, the impact of “natural gas” emissions can only be considered minor when you ignore the methane and poisons that are released when it is extracted and considering that when it is burned, Canada does not have to count those emissions targets. 

It is Time to Unite the Antiwar and Climate Justice Movement

That brings me to my final point, which is about bringing together the anti-war movement with the climate justice movement. One way to do this is by making sure “self-determination for oppressed nations, including Indigenous nations!” is always part of our demands. This has always been part of our demands within Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) and MAWO has consistently brought this demand to the cross-border movement that we would like to strengthen and build together, including with this conference. 

I think there are four strategies and demands that we need to bring into our antiwar, anti-pollution, and anti-imperialist movement. The first is that we must build a movement that is against imperialist war and occupation. Today, we live in what we in MAWO call “the new era of war and occupation,” which is the never-ending wars that started in 2001, that we are all coming together to organize against. This era is characterized by a campaign to regain hegemony in the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America by capitalist countries that are facing a grave economic crisis and a rapid falling rate of profit. These countries are on the war path to gain new markets and resources, which means more killing of our planet. 

Secondly, self-determination for oppressed nations, as I said, must be part of our work, from Indigenous and Black people, to oppressed countries under attack and occupation. This important demand calls on us to have strategical unity against any occupation, domestic or international. We cannot just be talking about the U.S. occupying other countries but also what it means when there are oppressed nations within the U.S. and Canada borders.

Thirdly, we need to fight for a world without NATO and U.S. military bases, because of the environmental pollution and also because of the way that the United States uses these bases to increase their wars and occupations and consequently further ecological degradation.

Lastly, I think the environmental struggle ties into the movement against sanctions and blockades, which are war. These attacks do not allow countries to develop their economies or to use their resources for the good of their people. Sanctions and blockades enforce the hegemony of the world’s biggest corporations, which are also the world’s biggest polluters.

If we combine these four pillars, which bring together the war at home and abroad, this is how we can build an anti-imperialist movement, how we can move from just being against war to also being against imperialism. I think we cannot build an effective anti-war movement without centralizing and emphasizing the slogan of self-determination for all oppressed nations.

I will say that I think this slogan of self-determination for all oppressed nations is as important as “Workers of the world unite,” from Marx and Engels.

People of oppressed nations face war and occupation and the denial of self-determination, which unites them in the fight against imperialism. The common struggle that unites workers is their exploitation by the capitalist class and the denial of their rights.

Within the antiwar and the climate justice movement, we must also emphasize that we are building an international movement, one that is also internationalist in character. The struggles of people against massive resource extraction projects are similar in Standing Rock in North Dakota or the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The struggle for a sustainable world requires international cooperation between oppressed people. It requires solidarity and, more importantly, unity across borders to become powerful and effective. 

There are many opportunities for antiwar activists to bring the antiwar movement to the climate justice movement. There were massive protests around the world in September 2019; over 9 million people participated in global climate strike actions. And I think we need to continue to take advantage of that mobilization on the streets. We need to strategically bring the antiwar movement and the environmental movement together. Fighting against war is fighting against the degradation of the environment and fighting for climate justice is fighting against war and occupation. We are in an era of history that these two causes have become two struggles for one purpose, to save our lives and the planet.

I think we are now facing the opportunity to build a better and sustainable world. We must not feel inactive or depressed about the climate crisis or endless wars and occupations around us. In the face of this devastation, we have no choice but to take up the call and fight back.

People marching on the streets today against climate change can also be very capable of understanding that it is not just a clean planet we are fighting for. It will not matter if we have a clean planet if the earth is still full of poverty and human suffering and wars and occupations. The antiwar and climate justice movement now more than ever has one cause: Save the planet.

United we will win!

*

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First printed in Fire This Time Newspaper Volume 14, Issue 3–5: www.firethistime.net

Alison Bodine is a social justice activist, author and researcher in Vancouver, Canada. She is  the Chair of Vancouver’s peace coalition Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) and a central organizer with the grassroots climate justice coalition Climate Convergence in Vancouver, Canada. Alison is also on the Editorial Board of the Fire This Time newspaper. 

Featured image is from The GrayzoneThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Alison Bodine, Global Research, 2020

لا تبالغوا في أوهام إنهاء الحشد الشعبيّ وتكراره!‏

ناصر قنديل

شهدت بغداد خلال الأسبوع الماضي سلسلة عمليات حملت رسائل من فصائل المقاومة لواشنطن، مضمونها التذكير بالدعوة لرحيل قواتها من العراق، وتأكيد أن التراضي على حكومة مصطفى الكاظمي كان بغرض تسهيل تنفيذ قرار الخروج الأميركي من العراق، وليس فتحاً لباب تشريع هذا الاحتلال. وفي ليل 22 حزيران قامت وحدات في جهاز مكافحة الإرهاب التي تتبع بقرارها للكاظمي، كقائد أعلى للقوات المسلحة، بحملة اعتقالات لعدد من مقاتلي الحشد الشعبي، خصوصاً المنتمين لكتائب حزب الله، والحملة التي تم تسويقها من مناصري الكاظمي لدى الأميركيين بصفتها إثباتاً على استقلاله عن الحشد وشجاعته وقدرته على وضع حد لـ «الميليشيات»، تمّ تسويقها لدى قيادات الحشد بصفتها عملاً شكلياً لحفظ ماء وجه الحكومة ورئيسها بوجه الضغوط الأميركية والخليجية، فيما تمّ تسويقها إعلامياً وخصوصاً في وسائل الإعلام الخليجية بصفتها بدء العد التنازلي لمرحلة الحشد الشعبي، ونموذجاً قابلاً للتكرار في لبنان. وبدأت تخرج تحليلات في بعض المواقع اللبنانية تثير الضحك عن مشروع شبيه للكاظمي عنوانه النائب السابق لحاكم مصرف لبنان محمد البعاصيري.

في ليل 23 حزيران أقفل الحشد الشعبي كل مداخل المنطقة الخضراء، بوحدات مقاتلة ووجه إنذاراً للكاظمي عنوانه، أن محاولة الاستفراد بكتائب حزب الله لن تمرّ، وأن التمييز بين فصائل المقاومة لعبة مكشوفة، وأن ما جرى كان انتهاكاً صريحاً للاتفاق السياسي الذي تمت تسمية الكاظمي على أساسه، وبعد مفاوضات امتدت لساعات، تم التوصل إلى اتفاق يقضي بالإفراج عن عناصر الحشد الذين تمّت مداهمة منازلهم، خلال يومين، مقابل انسحاب وحدات الحشد الشعبي، وحفاظها على حال الاستنفار والجهوزية، وليل أمس خرج المعتقلون من السجن وقاموا بإحراق الأعلام الأميركية والإسرائيلية في الساحات العامة وتحت الكاميرات، وهتفوا ضد الكاظمي، وتم إسدال الستار على سيناريو بهلواني، يفترض أن بالمستطاع تغيير وقائع تمّت صياغتها بالدماء، بقرارات صنعت من الحبر، واستعادت التوازنات التي أنتجت حكومة الكاظمي، كإطار رسمي لانسحاب أميركي من دون معركة عسكرية، مكانها في السياسة العراقية، وصمتت طبعاً الأبواق الإعلامية التي كانت تتحدث قبل ساعات عن نظرية حجارة الدومينو، متوقعة تهاوي فصائل الحشد تحت مقصلة الكاظمي، واحداً تلو الآخر.

في لبنان لا تختلف الأوهام عن العراق، ولا يختلف أصحابها، لكن الوقائع اللبنانية أشد صعوبة عبر تاريخ عقود من المقاومة، والتجارب والاختبارات الصعبة لمناوئيها، والذين رفعوا الدعوات لنزع سلاح المقاومة كانوا من أصحاب الأوهام المستمدّة من قراءة المبالغات الخليجية حول المشهد العراقي، ويُفترض بهم إعادة حساباتهم في ضوء التطورات العراقية، وفي ضوء المستجدات على جبهة النفط والغاز، وما تؤكده من مكانة المقاومة اقتصادياً، في حماية المورد الرئيسي الذي يعول عليه لبنان لأجيال قادمة، وكذلك في ضوء المستجدات المعيشية، حيث بعيداً عن نقاش عقيم حول النمط الغربي للعيش أو نمط شرقي، كأن المطروح هو استبدال اللبنانيين لمطبخهم وأزيائهم وكتابة نشيدهم الوطني باللغة الصينية، تقول المعلومات إن المقاومة تقود مشروعاً لتعزيز صمود اللبنانيين بتأمين سلع استهلاكية أساسية من مصادر لا تستبدل نمط العيش الغربي، لكنها تترجم معنى التوجه شرقاً لجهة الأسعار الأرخص، ومستوردة بالليرة اللبنانية بحيث لا ترتب ضغطاً على سوق الصرف وسعر الدولار.

لو يخفف المتذاكون من أوهام رهاناتهم، ويبقون أقدامهم على الأرض، فيرتاحون ويريحون.

IRAQ’S USBAT AL-THA’IREEN CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR RECENT ATTACKS ON U.S. FORCES IN NEW VIDEO

Video here

18.06.2020 
Usbat al-Tha’ireen (UT), a newly-formed Iraqi armed group, has claimed responsibility for three recent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.
On June 18, the group released a video titled “With Patience Comes Victory” showing footage of the following attacks:
  • The June 8 rocket attack on Camp Taji, which damaged a C-130 military transport aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition.
  • The June 11 rocket attack on U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
  • The June 16 rocket on the military section of Baghdad International Airport.
All three attacks were carried out with rockets of the 107 mm caliber. UT claims that the coalition is hiding the results of the attacks.
“These operations have the major effect of terrorizing occupation forces and their tails [proxies],” the group says in the video.
UT revealed its existence on March 15. Back then, the Iraqi group claimed responsibility for the March 11 Camp Taji rocket attack, which killed three U.S.-led coalition service members.
The group is one of several pro-Iran factions, which emerged in Iraq after the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Deputy-Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units, and Iran’s Quds Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani, by the U.S. earlier this year.
MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Iraqi base hosting US forces comes under attack

By News Desk -2020-06-14

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:45 A.M.) – The Joint Operations Command in Iraq announced last night that the Taji Airbase was targeted by missiles from an unknown entity.

The leadership said in a press statement: “Despite our previous warnings to those who are trying to mix cards by tampering with security and threatening our heroic security forces by targeting their camps, but these parties launched Saturday Katyusha rockets from the main street opposite the Al-Nasr facility north of Baghdad.

They said that “the two missiles landed inside the Taji camp without losses.”

The leadership indicated that “this bombing is a message that does not want the good of Iraq and its people, especially during this stage, and therefore our security services received urgent direction to undertake a qualitative intelligence effort to reveal these entities that, despite our warnings to them, seek to weaken Iraq, and to know who the same has proved to be absurd.” With Iraq’s security, he will soon be subject to the law.

As of now, no group has claimed responsibility for this latest attack.

Multiple Rockets Hit Camp Taji Hosting US Forces In Iraq: Reports

Multiple Rockets Hit Camp Taji Hosting US Forces In Iraq: Reports

Several rockets fell inside the Camp Taji military base hosting US forces in Iraq on April 13 evening. Local media reported at least one explosion in the military base area.

The Camp Taji is the largest US military base in Iraq. Early in 2020, the base became a target of the Iranian missile strike:

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STRING OF ATTACKS ON US FORCES AND FACILITIES CONTINUES IN IRAQ

South Front

Last night, two rockets struck the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The heavily fortified area houses some of the main Iraqi government offices and the US embassy. There were no immediate reports about casualties. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier, Saraya Thorat Al-Ashrin Al-Thani, one of Iraq’s many anti-US groups, which have surfaced since the start of the year, released two videos claiming that these show attacks on convoys carried out using US equipment. According to the group, the attacks took place on May 20 and June 6. The impact of the attacks remains unclear.

Military bases housing US troops across Iraq and the U.S. embassy have frequently been targeted by mortar and rocket attacks over the post months. According to US officials, most of these have been carried out by Iranian-backed forces.

Iraqi-U.S. relations have been witnessing tensions since January 3 when a US drone struck a convoy at Baghdad airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces. This attack escalated tensions in the region and led to a large-scale Iranian missile attack on US military bases in Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament also demanded that the US withdraw its troops from the country. Washington rejected the demand and threatened Iraq with sanctions if it is forced to withdraw its forces.

On June 11, US and Iraqi officials will be holding another meeting to discuss the current state of  Iraqi-US relations and the issue of US troop withdrawal from the country. However, it remains highly unlikely that Washington will back down from its de-facto occupation of the country.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces continue their anti-ISIS raids in eastern Homs and southern Raqqah in central Syria. According to pro-government sources, over 10 ISIS members have been neutralized in the framework of these efforts since the start of the month.

On June 10, a unit of the Syrian Army and pro-government locals blocked a US military convoy and forced it to retreat near the village of Dardara in the province of Hasakah. Separately, a US military patrol was blocked by the Russian Military Police near Qamishli. At least one US vehicle broke down when it went off road to bypass the Russians.

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Iraqi Resistance Leader: US Presence in Iraq Protects ‘Israel’s’ Security

Iraqi Resistance Leader: US Presence in Iraq Protects ‘Israel’s’ Security

By Staff, Agencies

Secretary General of Iraqi resistance movement ‘Asaib Ahl al-Haq’ Sheikh Qais al-Khazaali stressed that the US presence in Iraq aims to protect the security of the “Israeli” entity.

Al-Khazaali’s remarks were made during a Monday address on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

Questioning the intentions of the US military forces withdrawal, al-Khazaali said that “the American presence in Iraq is in order to protect the security of the ‘Israeli’ entity.”

He further stressed that “there is a popular and courageous public will that refuses to keep any foreign force on Iraqi soil.”

“We are not warlords, not bloodthirsty, but patriots, and we are looking for the dignity and sovereignty of the nation,” he added.

Al-Khazaali further voiced the Iraqi resistance’s readiness to pay lives and blood for dignity and sovereignty: “We are not warlords nor thirsty for blood, but patriots, and we are searching for the dignity and sovereignty of the homeland.”

“The United States, which is a superpower, could 

Three missiles land near US embassy in Baghdad

By News Desk -2020-05-19

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 P.M.) – At least 3 missiles fell inside the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where foreign diplomatic missions are locate, including the U.S. embassy.

Following the fall of the missiles, the U.S. military activated their emergency sirens and Iraqi security forces reportedly arrived on the scene to help alleviate the situation.

One of the sources mentioned that a missile landed in the vicinity of the British embassy; however, no damage was reported.

For its part, the Iraqi security forces said in a press release, that “a Katyusha rocket landed on an empty house inside the Green Zone in Baghdad.”

The security forces added: “Information indicates that this missile was launched from the Idrisi neighborhood of Palestine Street, and its fall resulted in minor damage to the wall of the house.”

No group has claimed responsibility for this attack.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Green Zone in central Baghdad, which includes government headquarters and embassies, including the American and British embassies, is exposed from time to time to rocket and mortar shelling, sometimes leading to deaths, injuries and material damage.

لماذا الهدنة مع الأميركيين؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

نجاح حكومة مصطفى الكاظمي العراقية في نيل ثقة المجلس النيابي بها، وموافقة صندوق النقد الدولي على التفاوض مع حكومة حسان دياب لوقف الانهيار الاقتصادي في لبنان، مؤشران قويّان يرمزان الى مرحلة هدنة بين القوى الداخلية والخارجية في هذين البلدين لوقف التراجع المخيف فيهما.

لجهة القوى التي تستطيع تمرير حكومة الكاظمي بعد ستة أشهر من صراعات ومناكفات وعجز متتابع لسياسيين فشلوا في تشكيل حكومة، فهي داخلياً مجموعات الحشد الشعبي والأحزاب الموالية لرئيس المجلس النيابي الحلبوسي في الغرب العراقي وآل البرازاني الأكراد في الشمال. هؤلاء هم الذين يسيطرون على المجلس النيابي ويكملون عديده بهيمنة للحشد الشعبي لأن الدستور يمنح الشيعة نحو 60 في المئة من عدد النواب تبعاً للتوازنات السكانية.

أما القوة الثانية في الداخل العراقي فهي المرجعية الدينية العليا للشيعة التي تتدخّل كلما شعرت أن خطراً يتهدد الدولة العراقية أو الكيان السياسيّ. ولها نفوذها في مجلس النواب وبالتالي بين وزراء الحكومة، بشكل يمكن فيه اعتبارها ناقوس الخطر الذي يضرب حين يتأزم العراق.

هذا عن الجانب الداخلي، وهو جزء بسيط من الصراعات الخارجية العميقة في العراق التي بدأت منذ 1990 وتعمّقت مع الاحتلال الأميركي المتواصل لأرض الرافدين منذ 2003 وازدادت التهاباً مع نجاح الحشد الشعبي في تدمير القسم الأكبر من الإرهاب الداعشي والقاعدي والسيطرة على قسم وازن من العراق السياسي.

هناك اذاً صراع أميركي – إيراني عنيف على الاراضي العراقية يرتدي لباس احتدام في التنافس السياسي في بعض الأحيان، وقتال يتسربل بتبادل للقصف بين قواعد أميركية، ومقار داخلية متحالفة مع إيران، للإشارة فإن آخر الاعمال الأميركية كانت اغتيال القائد الإيراني قاسم سليماني وقائد الحشد الشعبي أبو مهدي المهندس وهما يخرجان من مطار بغداد. وردّ الإيرانيون بقصف قاعدة عين الأسد الأميركية في العراق.

بذلك فإن القوى المؤثرة على السياسة العراقية هي بناها الداخلية من أحزاب ومراكز دينية وحشد وتنظيمات والاحتلال الأميركي المتواصل الى جانب نفوذ إيراني عميق سببه تحالفه مع الحشد الشعبي والعلاقات الدينية التاريخية التي تجمعه بغالبية العراقيين.

هناك أيضاً نفوذ تركي وسعودي على بعض التنظيمات العراقية في الوسط الغربي، لكنها غير مؤثرة إلا من خلال الاحتلال الأميركي.

فما الذي استجدّ بعد ستة أشهر من العجز عن تشكيل حكومة عراقية وتأزم الوضع العسكري بين إيران والأميركيين ورفع الحشد الشعبي لشعار الانسحاب الفوري للقوات الأميركية المحتلة من العراق؟

فجأة وافق الأميركيون على تمديد استجرار العراق للكهرباء الإيرانية لنحو 120 يوماً أي أربعة اشهر كاملة، كما نالتا حكومة الكاظمي ثقة واسعة وهي التي كانت تتهيأ لاعتذار رئيسها عن متابعة التشكيل للعراقيل الداخلية والخارجية.

والطريف أن برنامج حكومة الكاظمي اورد ضرورة مجابهة الصعوبات الاقتصادية والأمنية والتحضير لانتخابات مبكرة ووضع برنامج عمل لتنويع الاقتصاد العراقي.

فلم ينسَ شيئاً، إلا الاحتلال الأميركي، فتجاهله وكأن لا احتلال ولا مَن يحتلّون.

هناك أمور مثيرة للدهشة الى درجة الذعر، وهو أن معظم قوى الحشد الشعبي وافقت بدورها على هذا البرنامج.

الأمر الذي يكشف أن حكومة الكاظمي هي تسوية سببها التعادل في موازين القوى بين حشد شعبي قوي جداً بتركيبة أحزابه، ومدعوم من إيران وبين احتلال أميركي لديه مؤيدوه في وسط العراق وغربه عند جماعة الحلبوسي ومن كردستان العراق، أما أسرار هذا التوازن فهي موجودة بتلويح الأكراد وبعض أحزاب الوسط بالانفصال وتشكيل اقاليم مستقلة في كل مرة يحاول فيها الحشد الشعبي دفع الأميركيين الى الانسحاب وهذه واحدة من مصادر القوة الأميركية في أرض السواد وهي واحدة من مصادر عجز الحشد الشعبي في أرض السواد.

لذلك، فإن تراجع أسعار النفط وخفض إنتاجه وما تسبّبوا به من انهيار اقتصادي بالاستفادة من الكورونا والتلويح بتقسيم العراق الى كيانات سنية وكردية وشيعية دفعت باتجاه هدنة مؤقتة لتمرير هذه المرحلة بأقل قدر ممكن من الأضرار.

لجهة لبنان فموضوعه مشابه، خصوصاً لناحية انهياره الاقتصادي المريع والانقسام الحاد بين قواه السياسية التي تتمحور بين الولاء للأميركيين والسعوديين وبين التحالف مع إيران وسورية.

ولأن الأميركيّين لا يمكنهم ترك بلد بأهمية لبنان يلعب فيه حزب الله رأس حربة المقاومة في الإقليم، والسماح لفوضى لن تؤدي إلا إلى خسارة الحلفاء اللبنانيين لأميركا وتراجع دورهم السياسي، فارتأت الدولة الأميركيّة العميقة أن التعامل مع حكومة حسان دياب من خلال الصندوق والبنك الدوليين والمؤتمرات الأوروبيّة هي لفرصة لتتوازن فيها مع القوة البنيوية العمودية لحزب الله في لبنان، وذلك في محاولة للتساوي معه في المرحلة الحالية وعرقلته في آجال لاحقة.

هكذا هو دائماً حال الدول البراجماتية النفعية التي تعطي كل مرحلة ما تستحق، والهدنة الأميركية في لبنان هي محصلة جهود بذلها حزب الله في قتال «إسرائيل» والإرهاب والدفاع عن الدولة السورية ما جعله مرهوب الجانب وقوياً الى درجة أن مهادنته في لبنان هي انتصار للطرف الآخر، لذلك فإن الأميركيين هم الذين نجحوا في إرجاء انسحابهم من العراق ويحاولون الإمساك بلبنان من خلال الصندوق الدولي، أما حزب الله فيعرف من جهته أن الأميركيين لا يوزعون هبات على أعدائهم، بل يهادنون بشكل مؤقت في محاولة لتكوين ظروف سياسية أفضل، لهم بالطبع.

والحزب بدوره يهادن من بعد ملحوظ ساهراً على حماية حكومة قد تكون هي الفرصة النموذجية للدفاع عن لبنان في وجه فوضى قد تؤدي الى تدمير الدولة وتفجير الكيان السياسي.

US Preparing Ground in Iraq for ‘Deal of Century’

US Preparing Ground in Iraq for ‘Deal of Century’

By Staff, Tasnim

Iraqi resistance movement Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq warned that the US is paving the way for the implementation of the so-called ‘deal of the century’ in certain parts of Iraq, where it plots to settle displaced Palestinians.

In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Spokesman Mahmoud al-Rabiee said the movement has irrefutable evidence that the American forces are in cahoots with terrorists in Iraq.

“The US is trying to turn certain parts of Iraq into gateways for implementing the deal of the century and the western al-Anbar ploy. According to this plan, the Palestinians mentioned in the deal of century will be relocated to the western regions of al-Anbar province.”

Pointing to the active presence of American forces in western al-Anbar and in areas near al-Tanf border crossing between Iraq and Syria, Rabiee said the US is also trying to transfer terrorists from Syria into Iraq.

The Americans are attempting to take control of those regions to make them safe for the implementation of the deal of the century, the spokesman added, deploring certain Iraqi parties for cooperating with the US to fulfill their personal interests.

Rabiee further emphasized that the US must respect the Iraqi Parliament’s decision to ratify a bill on the expulsion of foreign forces from his country. “They [the Americans] may delay withdrawing from Iraq and want to settle in areas that are a little far from the reach of the resistance forces, but it does not mean that resistance does not have access to them, and, if necessary, we will once again begin armed resistance.”

In early January, Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution telling the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq and ensure they do not use its land, air, and waters for any reason.

The move came after the assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, the deputy head of Hashd al-Shaabi Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and a number of their comrades in a US airstrike in Baghdad.

The strike was carried out by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of January 3.

واشنطن وإشكالية الانسحاب من العراق وسورية

د. حسن مرهج

من جديد يعود المشهدان العراقي والسوري إلى واجهة التطورات الشرق أوسطية، على الرغم من استحواذ فايروس كورونا على جُلّ العناوين الإقليمية والدولية، إذ لا شك بأنّ جوهر الاستراتيجية الأميركية وجُزئياتها في الشرق الأوسط، تنطلق حُكماً من العراق وسورية وجغرافيتهما ذات الأبعاد الجيواستراتيجية؛ ففي غمرة انشغال العالم بكورونا وانتشاره «الغير منطقي»، تعود إشكالية التواجد الأميركي في المنطقة من بوابة العبث بالخرائط السياسية، والذهاب بعيداً نحو تعزيز حالة اللا استقرار في المنطقة، إذ لم تعد القضية تتمحور حول انسحاب أو طرد القوات الأميركية، فهذا الأمر سيكون واقعاً لا محال، لكن لقضية الأساسية تكمن في حيثيات ومبرّرات الإدارة الأميركية حيال تواجدها في المنطقة، خاصة أنّ واشنطن تُدرك بأنّ هذا التواجد في العراق وسورية لن يطول، لكن لا ضير من العبث مُجدّداً بما حققه محور المقاومة خلال سنوات خلت؛ مع فروقات تتعلق بالمسار السياسي في سورية والعراق، وطبيعة التعاطي مع تواجد القوات الأميركية.

وردتني معلومات من مصادر خاصة، تحدثت عن وصول عناصر من المخابرات الأميركية إلى العراق وسورية، ويتحدثون اللغة العربية بطلاقة، وتابع المصدر حديثه أنّ أحد هؤلاء العناصر يُلقب بـ «كلاي الصغير»، وأنّ كلاي قال له حرفياً، إنّ هناك خطة أميركية تقتضي التوجه إلى وجهاء العشائر في سورية والعراق، لتشكيل نواة مسلحة وبهدف مواجهة داعش إنْ عاد مُجدّداً. المصدر قال لـ كلاي إنّ داعش بحسب تصريحات إدارتكم قد انتهى، ليردّ كلاي بقوله نعم انتهى لكن ليس كلّ ما نعرفه سنقوله، وأضاف أنّ واشنطن لم تعد ترى في الكرد حليفاً جراء خططهم التي تمّ كشفها لجهة التقرّب من دمشق وموسكو وهذا لا يناسب استراتيجيتنا. ويتابع المصدر قوله هل داعش أيضاً جزء من خططكم في سورية والعراق، يقول المصدر هنا «كلاي» دُهش وقال لي داعش سيعود إلى سورية والعراق.

شخصياً، قد يكون ما نقله لي المصدر غير دقيق ويُراد به إيصال فكرة تتمحور حول تواصل أميركي مع عشائر سورية والعراق، الذين تربطهم صلات قُربى ووحدة الدم، وبغضّ النظر عن خطط الإدارة الأميركية وتحركات داعش الأخيرة في البادية السورية، إلا أنّ الوقائع تقتضي التأني والتعمّق في استراتيجية واشنطن حيال سورية والعراق، مع الربط بين التحركات الأميركية في سورية وإرسال آلاف القوافل العسكرية وتمركزها في شمال شرق سورية، فضلاً عن جزئية لها ما لها من وقائع ورسائل حيال نشر صواريخ باتريوت في العراق. كلّ هذه الوقائع تصبّ مباشرة في بوتقة هدف أميركي واضح المعالم، حيث أنّ واشنطن تسعى مُجدّداً لخلط أوراق الجغرافية السورية، وابقاء الساحة العراقية حُبلى بالمفاجآت التي لا يمكن التنبّؤ بمسارها.

لا شك بأنّ تحركات داعش الأخيرة في سورية، يمكن ربطها في سياق تمرير الذرائع لإبقاء القوات الأميركية في سورية والعراق، خاصة أنّ التحركات الشعبية الأخيرة في العراق ركزت على جزئية إخراج الأميركي من الجغرافية العراقية، وبغضّ النظر عن التجاذبات السياسية في العراق، إلا أنّ التوجه الحالي تتمّ هندسته وفق قاعدة إخراج الأميركي، وكذا في سورية، هناك العديد من العمليات النوعية التي نُفذت ضدّ القوات الأميركية في شمال شرق سورية. وعليه من الطبيعي أنّ أيّ شخص لديه الحدّ الأدنى من الانتماء لوطنه سيرفض أيّ وجود لقوات أجنبية على أراضي بلده، لكن قضية الوجود العسكري الأميركي مختلفة ومعقدة وتنطوي على تساؤلات عديدة حول طبيعته، ومن هذه التساؤلات: هل القوات الأميركية في العراق بعد عام 2011 قوات احتلال أم قوات حليفة؟ ولماذا تصاعدت المطالبات بانسحابها في هذا الوقت بالذات؟ ولماذا هذه المطالبة تصدر فقط من الجهات السياسية –المسلحة العراقية المرتبطة بإيران؟ وهل رأي الجهات المرتبطة بإيران يمثل رأي جميع مكونات الشعب العراقي بخصوص هذه القضية؟ كما أنّ التواجد الأميركي في سورية أيضاً يحتوي العديد من التساؤلات، والتي ستظلّ مبهمة حتى ذهاب غبار فايروس كورونا، الذي أسفر عن هدوء الأوضاع أو بالأدقّ تجميدها.

حقيقة الأمر انّ إشكالية التواجد الأميركي في سورية والعراق، ستأخذ أبعاداً غاية في الحساسية، وقد نشهد خلال الفترة القادمة تحركات أكثر حساسية بالمعنى العسكري، عبر تحريك الأدوات الأميركية في سورية والعراق، خاصة أنّ واشنطن تُدرك أنه لا بدّ من تهيئة الأرضية الخصبة لتأمين وجود مستدام، فهي تُدرك أيضاً أنّ محور المقاومة بكلّ جزئياته عاقد العزم على فتح المعركة ضدّ التواجد الأميركي في سورية والعراق. هذا التوجه أيضاً تهندسه رغبات روسية صينية للحدّ من تفشي الخطط الأميركية في المنطقة، للحدّ من تداعياتها الكارثية على الجميع، وبالتالي ستكون الفترة المقبلة أيّ ما بعد كورونا عسكرية بإمتياز، ومن الضروري في هذا الإطار، تشبيك الجغرافية الممتدّة من إيران إلى العراق مروراً بسورية، لتشكيل جبهة مضادة للتوجهات الأميركية. ولننتظر…

THE RESISTANCE STRIKES THE US WHICH SEEKS A TRUCE IN IRAQ

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier:

New anonymous organisations in Iraq have threatened to strike US forces if they refuse to withdraw from Iraq. One of these newly emerged organisations released its first video of an attack against a US military convoy transporting vehicles on the road between the Kurdish province of Erbil and the northern Salahuddin province, where the US maintains large military bases.

US Ambassador Matthew Tueller has met with caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, expressing the will of his country to begin strategic talks with Baghdad. The US did not disclose that the US diplomat informed Mr Abdul-Mahdi about the US intention to pull out forces from Iraq and his request not to be attacked during the withdrawal of troops. Indeed, the US has already evacuated forces from 6 bases and centres of control in different places in Iraq. This is what prompted the Iraqi Kataeb Hezbollah (Brigades) to ​​announce particularly that the organisation does not intend to strike US forces as long as they completely withdraw from the country. 

However, the Iraqi resistance does not trust the US promises as forwarded to the Iraqi premier. It considers the US is manoeuvring to redeploy forces from the more vulnerable bases to more protected bases. This scepticism has caused new Iraqi resistance to surface, and provoked attacks against US forces in a manner reminiscent of the 1980s “Islamic Jihad” organisation in Lebanon, which was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of US officers and citizens.

The first newly emerged organisation identified itself as “The Revolutionary League” (Usbat al-Thaereen). In its first communiqué, it has shown drone images with excellent resolution of the US embassy in Baghdad in all its details, building, helicopters, movement of personnel and military forces inside.  What is striking is not only the fine details and high-quality of the drone footage but how a drone managed to fly for extended minutes over the most guarded buildings inside the Iraqi capital. Three brigades of the Iraqi army (6, 11 and 17) are deployed in the capital Baghdad along with the anti-terrorist force, the federal police HQ, the Ministry of the Interior and the local police. Most of these are based in the “Green Zone” where the US embassy is. US forces are also deployed at Baghdad airport (not far away) and inside the Embassy.

Not only that, but a second video was also distributed to the press a few days later with drone footage of the most extensive US military base in Iraq, at Ein al-Assad base in the Anbar desert. The video showed weapons stores, forces, buildings, command and control tower and base, hangars, landing and take-off runways and many more details of the entire map of the base. At Ayn al-Assad, the US deploys of the most sophisticated radars, Patriot missiles and other defence systems that are supposed to secure the base.

Moreover, the video had also been shot from outside the base, showing the driving of a car along the walls of the American base in Ain al-Assad, which indicates the ease of movement of the group without regard for the security measures deployed along the road.

The organisation broadcast an enthusiastic song stating its goal of avenging the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani and the Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. The singer’s dialect indicates that he is not Iraqi, though clearly, the singer is a native Arab speaker.

Another new organisation called “The Islamic Resistance in Iraq – People of the Cave” (referring to Surat al-Kahf in the Quran) issued a video in which it showed an IED exploding in convoy carrying military vehicles and, one minute later, a second powerful IED explosion when the convoy personnel gathered to assess the damage. The convoy is said to be travelling from Kurdistan – Erbil to Salah al-Din Governorate, the Uwaynat region. This attack is a message for the US forces: they will not be able to roam as they wish in Iraq because for them the country is now insecure, as are their military bases.

A statement issued by a third new Iraqi organisation called “Islamic Resistance Factions – Iraq – the fist of guidance” accuses America of preparing to launch an attack against the Iraqi factions, and gives the American and British ambassadors 48 hours to leave, or they will be killed. It was not possible to confirm the authenticity of this  statement. 

It is to be expected that more organisations will emerge in Iraq, enjoying military, media and organisational skills and capabilities. These undoubtfully benefited from the long years of war in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israel, in Syria against al-Qaeda and ISIS (The Islamic State), and in Iraq against the US during the 2003-2011 invasion and against ISIS following the occupation of a third of Iraq in 2014.

These organisations seek retribution against the US, which assassinated the leader of the “Axis of Resistance” Major General Qassim Soleimani, the field commander in the “Popular Mobilisation Forces” (PMF) Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and which bombed several bases of the Iraqi army, its federal police and the PMF at the Syrian-Iraqi borders, al-Qaem, and destroyed Karbala Civil Airport. The US breach of the memorandum of agreement signed in 2014 exasperated Iraqi political, military officials and many other resistance groups.

The US Ambassador visited the caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to inform him about its decision to leave Iraq and proposes a large meeting next June to agree on the mechanism of withdrawal from Iraq. The ambassador asked Mr Abdul Mahdi to intervene to stop all attacks against American forces while withdrawing and to mediate with Iran to achieve this, because “America is serious about proceeding with the exit from Iraq.”

The Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, the League of the Righteous (Asaeb Ahl al-Haq), Al-Nujabaa Movement and the Imam Ali Brigades responded to the Iranian request to refrain from opposing al-Kazemi, despite their lack of trust in him and in the US intention to withdraw. These factions promised not to attack the US forces as long as the US shows they are withdrawing their forces from the country. Thus, the emergence of new organisations aims to offer an excuse for these groups, that they are not apparently involved in any attack and that they are “encouraging” the US to leave. These groups are unknown and new on the Iraqi scene. Therefore, it is easy for them to avoid pressure from the officials in Baghdad.

However, the style of these organisations reminds us of the “Islamic Jihad” organisation in Lebanon that emerged in the 1980s, was responsible for the kidnapping of hostages in Lebanon and worked directly under the command of Iran. It was not connected to Lebanese “Hezbollah” at the time.

It seems that the US has not read carefully enough the Iranian messages following the assassination of the Axis of the Resistance leader. When Sayyed Ali Khamenei said: “The price of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is the US departure from West Asia” this meant that the decision had been taken to force the US out whatever the cost.

Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon and of the “Axis of Resistance” in Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, said “every American soldier is a legitimate target”. He wondered, when directing his question to the US following the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis: “what have you done? Are you aware whose blood you spilt?” His message was clear: “Hezbollah will not stand idle and will target every US soldier.” Sayyed Nasrallah said explicitly: “Iraq is the battlefield”.

Driving the US out of West Asia is the goal. The methods used by the Iraqi resistance will not be different from methods used against Israel in Lebanon, in Syria and Iraq during the past decade. They will be employed until the very last US soldier leaves Iraq.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B

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