Iran

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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:45 pm

Things they don't tell ya #37:

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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:07 pm

Egypt detains Iran oil tanker, arrests 6 for espionage

July 9, 2019 at 12:19 pm

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A general view of the port of Kharg Island Oil Terminal in Iran on 12 March 2017 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency

Egyptian authorities detained a Ukrainian tanker carrying Iranian oil as it passed through the Suez Canal ten days ago, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed has reported.

News of the seizure came a day after Egypt’s Supreme State Security Criminal Court sentenced six people to jail on charges of spying for Iran.

The court has sentenced the defendants to between 15 and 25 years in jail, a $30,000 fine and the confiscation of their computers and phones. Egyptian Al-Azhar Professor Alaa Moawad, who was present at the trial on Sunday, was accused of harming Egypt’s national interests and receiving money to spread Iranian Shiism in Sunni Egypt by launching a website, issuing publications and attracting recruits.

The remaining five defendants, who were Iranian, were tried in absentia.

The sentences have been issued amid rising tensions between Iran and the US, Egypt’s major ally, which is trying to force Tehran to renegotiate a 2015 nuclear deal by tightening sanctions on the country.

In response Iran said over the weekend that it is prepared to enrich uranium at any level and at any amount, according to Reuters.

Tension between the two countries is ongoing. In June Iran was accused of attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and later shot down a US drone reportedly launched from UAE territory. Tehran has denied targeting the tankers.

At the time UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, also a major ally of the US and Egypt, stated that Britain would consider joining the US in potential military action against Iran.

Then last week Iran summoned the UK ambassador after the Royal Marines seized an Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar it suspected of carrying oil to Syria in contravention of sanctions against Bashar Al-Assad.

Iran-Egypt relations are also tense due to Egypt’s support for the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen, who Riyadh accuse Iran of arming.

Last month Egypt said it was standing by Saudi Arabia following an attack by the Houthis that wounded over 20 people at an airport in the kingdom.

Cairo has joined Washington in calling on the Houthis to cease attacks and said it will “defy any attempt to target the kingdom.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190 ... espionage/

Lackeys & dogs, Nasser would grind them under his shoe.
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:07 am

A US Led Naval Coalition In The Persian Gulf Will Raise The Threat Of War
by Seyed Mohammad Marandi

While Bolton and Pompeo push the region towards maximum tension and Trump makes despicable threats to obliterate Iran, the US military has announced its intention to create and lead an anti-Iranian naval coalition in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, by Trump's own admission, the United States is engaged in economic war against Iranians, as its armed forces have aggressively violated Iranian airspace and territorial waters, resulting in the humiliating downing of its most sophisticated drone by an Iranian surface to air missile.

A few naval ships from far off nations will not change the balance of power, but they will increase confusion and the chances for major regional conflict. Iranians will also view such an entity as an extension of a belligerent American naval presence.

Since the illegal and tragic US occupation of Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been constructing a vast network of underground missile defense facilities alongside the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman in anticipation of possible US attacks. Iran and its powerful allies have also developed formidable asymmetrical capabilities across the region. It has both the will and means to decisively engage with a belligerent power.

In order to prevent any appetite for all-out war, Iran will respond to a limited military strike with a massive and disproportionate counterstrike targeting both the aggressor and its enablers. Regional regimes such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia that facilitate aggression in any way or form should expect the swift destruction of their oil assets and critical infrastructure. On the other hand, all-out war would mean the obliteration of all oil and gas installations as well as ships on both sides of the Strait of Hormuz. Under such circumstances, the closure of the Strait would be the least of Bolton's problems.

The Emirati and Saudi regimes would most probably swiftly collapse. Millions of indentured servants would overrun Abu Dhabi and Dubai while Yemeni forces and their regional allies would overwhelm Saudi Arabia as western occupation forces would be expelled from the region. Millions of people would stream towards Europe, even as the EU and the rest of the world would be facing an economic catastrophe.

Iran does not welcome confrontation nor does it desire war and its massive and extensive military deterrence is designed to prevent such circumstances. Instead of pushing the world closer to tragedy, potential US partners should push the US back to the nuclear deal and the negotiating table.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi is professor of English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran.

Posted by b on July 17, 2019 at 9:49 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/07/a ... f-war.html
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:34 pm

No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets In Iraq
Israeli newspaper repeat a report which claims that Israeli planes hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

Haaretz: In Major Shift, Israel Twice Struck Iranian Targets in Iraq 'Using F-35'
Ynetnews: Report: Israeli warplanes hit Iranian targets in Iraq
Jerusalem Post: Report: Israel launched two attacks on Iranian targets in Iraq in July
From the last one:

The IAF used its F-35i stealth fighter jets to hit two Iraqi bases that were used by Iranian forces and proxies and for storing ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.
Asharq Al-Awsat is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi ruling clan. It is - like other Arab papers - often used to launder Israeli disinformation and propaganda that is then repeated in the Israeli press.

The original Asharq Al-Aswat report reads:

Israel has expanded the scope of its Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat amid reports that Tel Aviv carried out an airstrike earlier this month against an Iranian rockets depot northeast of Baghdad.
The July 19 attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, they added.

On Sunday, the Ashraf base in Iraq, a former base used by the Iranian opposition People's Mujahedin of Iran, was targeted by an air raid, said sources.

The base lies 80 kilometers from the border with Iran and 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

The sources revealed that the strikes targeted Iranian “advisors” and a ballistic missile shipment that had recently arrived from Iran to Iraq.

Last week, Syria’s Tal al-Hara was struck by Israeli jets.

The diplomatic sources said the attack targeted Iran’s attempt to seize control of the strategic hill, located in Daraa countryside in southern Syria.

The above F-35 promotion then goes on to laud the Israeli Arrows-3 air defense missile the U.S. paid for.

Of the three incidents Asharq Al-Awsat mentions only one, in Syria, really happened.

On July 19 a fire broke out at a camp of the 16th Brigade of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). It set off some ammunition. The 16th is a light infantry brigade. It does not have ballistic missiles. While the incident was first reported as a missile attack, an investigation later said (Arabic) that the fire was caused by a defect of some equipment (machine translation)

The Central Commission of Inquiry sent by the People's Assembly on Sunday announced the results of the investigation into the bombing of the Martyrs' Camp of the Commission, which is located near the city of Ameri.
The report of the specialized committee confirmed that the investigations conducted have proved that the explosion was not a military target as a result of a plane or a guided missile, but was a fire of solid fuel due to an internal defect.

No one was killed in the incident.

The alleged attack on Sunday never happened:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 17:29 UTC · Jul 30, 2019
The Camp Ashraf incident was nothing more than a rumor that started on Facebook. It's not even called Ashraf anymore, the base is named after the Brigade 27 commander who was Martyred in Diyala battles.

Saudis hard at work creating Fake News.

It is not the Saudis that created this fake news but the "western diplomatic sources", aka the Israeli ambassador in London, who briefed the Asharq Al-Awsat writer.

The third incident, in Syria, did happen:

Syria's state media said on Wednesday an Israeli missile attack had targeted the country's southern province of Daraa, but did not report any casualties.
State news agency SANA and state TV added that the "Israeli aggression" struck Tal al-Hara hill that is home to Syrian army posts adding that it only caused material damage.
...
The Tal al-Hara hill, a strategic area overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

Israel did not hit any Iranian targets or anything else in Iraq. The Asharq Al-Awsat story is pure propaganda.

If the Israeli air force were stupid enough to bomb targets in Iraq, it would likely see consequences that it would not like:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 18:08 UTC · Jul 30, 2019
And besides

If Israel really wants to waste their time and resources striking sites in Iraq, by all means.

They'll only accelerate the decision as to whether or not to purchase the S-400 system.

There are plenty of Air Defense Officers who are already fluent in Russian.

Posted by b on July 30, 2019 at 17:16 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/07/n ... -iraq.html
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:37 pm

Rouhani: No talks with US unless bans lifted, Iran rights respected
Tue Aug 27, 2019 08:17AM [Updated: Tue Aug 27, 2019 09:16AM ]

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran on August 27, 2019. (Photo by president.ir)

President Hassan Rouhani says the United States should lift all its “cruel” and “unlawful” sanctions against Iran and begin respecting the nation’s rights as a “first step” towards dialog, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic will not engage in any negotiations for the mere sake of photo opportunities.

The Iranian president made the remarks on Tuesday, one day after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes for a meeting between Rouhani and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, “in the next few weeks.”

“We seek to resolve issues and problems in a rational way but we are not after photos. For anyone wanting to take a picture with Hassan Rouhani, this is not possible” unless that party chooses to set aside all the oppressive sanctions and respect the Iranian nation’s rights, the Iranian president said in a speech aired live on state television.

Iran, he added, sits at the negotiating table with others only in order to secure its people’s rights and interest.

Tehran will make a change in its approach towards “those waging economic terrorism” against the county only if they “repent” of their past mistakes and turn back from the wrong path they have taken.

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PressTV-Macron hopes Rouhani-Trump will meet in few weeks

French President Macron hopes a long-anticipated meeting between the Iranian and US presidents will take place in the next few weeks.
“We will witness no positive development” unless the Americans lift the bans and undo their hostile economic policies against Iran, said Rouhani.

He further touched on the 2015 nuclear deal — officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — whose fate remains in doubt in the aftermath of the US’s exit and Europe’s failure to fulfill their legal obligation to stand up to the American sanctions.

Rouhani noted that if the remaining parties honor their commitments under the JCPOA, Tehran would also live up to its end of the bargain.

He also emphasized that Iran’s military doctrine is “based on conventional arms,” adding that it has never sought weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and microbial ones.

Tehran, he added, is not seeking tensions with the world, but rather “constructive interaction” as well as regional and global security.

https://cdn.presstv.com/photo/20190827/ ... 36c149.jpg
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:16 pm

The U.S. Campaign To Weaken Iran's 'Axis Of Resistance' Is Failing
When Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo was indicted for several crimes we predicted that he would become more dangerous:

Netanyahoo will fight tooth and nail to gain and keep immunity. He will try to delegitimize the judicative and he will use any available trick to stay in office.
That makes him even more dangerous than he usually is.

He might even decide to do something, like starting a big war, to prevent his removal from power.

Lebanon, Syria and Iran must watch out.

Now the former MI6 agent and diplomat Alastair Crooke detects a new Israeli attempt to instigate a war on Iran:

“This is a historic opportunity”, whispered one of Netanyahu’s insiders into Ben Caspit (a leading Israeli journalist)’s ear this week: ..
...
What sort of history might that be? Why six months? Well, Caspit points up: “Netanyahu’s people, headed by minister Yuval Steinitz clearly state that a widespread war is likely to erupt in the next six months between Iran and its adversaries in the region, including Israel”. And the new Defence Minister, Bennett, threatens Iran on an almost daily basis.
“Perhaps Netanyahu simply needs a war with Iran in order to survive politically,” one of the Blue and White leaders told Caspit: “That is scary and dangerous …” .

There nothing new with that one might say. Netanyahoo has for years plotted to instigate a U.S. war on Iran. But there was so far no reason for the U.S. to wage one. War needs a narrative, a story than can be sold to the people who will have to pay for it. Crooke sees a possible one in the recent riots in Iran and elsewhere:

Well, here it is: “For a long time it looked like the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East was unstoppable. Now, the entire Iran-hegemony enterprise is at risk. Protests have been going on in Iraq and Lebanon for weeks, bringing their economies to a near standstill, and forcing their Iran-approved prime ministers to step down. There’s no end in sight to the protests …”.
And hence, the Israeli push – led by the newly-appointed Defence Minister, Bennet, that now – precisely – is the moment for the US to act against Iran. This is the narrative for war.

So the idea is that the current turmoils in the 'axis of resistance' countries - Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran - has weakened Iran so much that it can be attacked.

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But a look at each of those countries shows that it is doubtful that the narrative is true.

Lebanon is in a currency crisis because the U.S. has sanctioned remittances from expatriates (around $8 billion per year) to the country. That has triggered the collapse of a fraudulent scheme used by the rich in Lebanon to increase public debt while channeling the states' money through the central Banque du Liban into their own pockets:

The BdL has issued Treasury bonds at very high interest rates; most of that debt has been bought by other Lebanese banks. Jad Chaaban, a professor at the American University in Beirut, has found “individuals closely linked to political elites control 43 percent of assets in Lebanon’s commercial banking sector.” He also calculated that, to take one example, the Hariri family had earned $108 million between 2006 and 2015 from interest on the public debt.
The idea behind the U.S. sanctions was to economically hurt Hizbullah, to instigate a civil war against it and to remove it from the Lebanese government. But the scheme failed. While the Lebanese pound lost some 40% of its value Hizbullah raised the pay for its people:

Today, no Lebanese citizen is able to dispose of his own saving or company assets in banks due to restrictions on withdrawals, effective “capital controls”. Only small amounts are allowed to be delivered to account holders–around $150-300 per week in a country where cash payments prevail. No one is allowed to transfer any amount abroad unless for university fees or special demands of goods import of first necessities.
However, Hezbollah, the US-Israel main target, was not affected directly by the US sanctions and by the new financial restrictions. Militants were paid, as is the case monthly, in US dollars with an increase of 40% (due to the local currency devaluation) with the compliments of “Uncle Sam”.

(As many Syrian banks and industries have used the Lebanese banking system, the currency crunch in Lebanon also led to a sharp drop of the Syrian pound. This is a problem for Syria but its allies will help to dampen the effects.)

The U.S. sanctions against Lebanon failed to have the desired effects. There will be no civil war against Hizbullah. The group and its missiles arsenal, which acts as deterrence against Israel, are as ready as ever.

The protests in Iraq are genuine and they have brought the government down. But the U.S. attempt to use them against the Popular Mobilization Forces (al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi), created in 2014 by Iran to defeat the Islamic state, is also failing. The U.S. position in Iraq is weak. It can not out-compete Iran's influence:

President Barham Salih launched talks immediately after Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation by making rounds with different political blocs. Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional security apparatus, also came to Baghdad to meet with key officials.
U.S. military bases in Iraq are increasingly coming under fire.

Genuine protests against fuel price increases in Iran were followed a day later by prematurely triggered attacks from underground groups against the country's infrastructure and banks. Iran reacted immediately to eliminate them. As Crooke describes it:

The security forces reacted militarily – arresting and killing many insurgents. And yes – the internet was shut down. But, not the internal Iranian internet – only the global internet. So, the Iranian equivalent of WhatsApp and Telegraph, and Iranian news channels were still accessible – though the global internet was not. The overseas anger at the external internet shut-down possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability. Likely, it was not a capacity that Iran was thought to possess.
So what was going on? The Iranian government, it seems, had prior knowledge of plans to stage attacks by ‘activists’, as a part of an (externally formulated and resourced) disruption plan. But that original plan indicated that the start of these actions would take place early next year.

What seems to have happened is that when the fuel hike protests began, these ‘activists’ were given the go-ahead to ‘seize the moment’. In other words, they activated all their pre-prepared plans prematurely. This was exactly what the Iranian security forces wanted, and had sought. It enabled them to ‘smoke out’ the plot, and to arrest, or kill the ring-leaders.

To build the underground network of insurgents in Iran must have taken years. It was likely done by the CIA in collaboration with the MEK cult. The militants were supposed to be directed, like the rioters in Hong Kong, via Internet messaging services. When those command and control lines were cut Iranian security services had, as we predicted, no problems to eliminate the militant groups.

The U.S. has tried everything against Iran except waging an outright war. But its schemes against Iran and its friends are failing everywhere.

The U.S. pressure campaign against Iran was an item of a State Department press conference on Friday where Matt Lee of the Associated Press challenged Assistant Secretary Schenker's assertion that the campaign shows 'success':

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: The Iranians oftentimes, or have certainly in the past taken aggressive action when they feel under pressure. We see that in the response to, for example, the maximum pressure campaign working over the months. The past five, six months, Iran has become increasingly more aggressive. There is a trajectory, right, where they have first increased the operational tempo of the Houthis against the Saudis, then raised the rhetoric and the temperature in Iraq against U.S. personnel, moving on from there scuttling boats in Fujairah, then kidnapping boats, then shooting down U.S. drones in international airspace, and most recently Abqaiq, targeting directly with their own missiles Saudi oil facilities.
...
QUESTION: And then you seem to suggest right now that the maximum pressure campaign is a success because it has resulted in greater Iranian aggression and shooting down U.S. drones.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: I – no.
QUESTION: Well, that’s —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: Maybe that’s what you inferred.
QUESTION: No, no, no, that’s – that’s – well, no, that’s I think the way —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: The pressure campaign is working. They are clearly under fear and pressure, and they are lashing out. They are also —
QUESTION: Yeah, but if that’s a success, I mean —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: They’re also having double-digit negative growth.
QUESTION: Fair enough.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: The people in the streets are protesting against the regime for its corruption and for its economic mismanagement —
QUESTION: Yeah, but surely there’s —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: — for spending all the money of the Iranian people on militias abroad, like in —
QUESTION: Surely the metric – surely the metric for the success of U.S. policy, foreign policy anywhere, not just with Iran, is that the country – the other country is less aggressive and less likely to shoot down U.S. drones or attack U.S. bases or threaten —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: There is – no, Matt, there’s – to be fair, there – things sometimes get worse before they get better in those terms.
The U.S. consistently overestimates its capabilities to bring Iran to its knees. While Iran's GDP is falling for lack of oil sales the internal economy is thriving and employment is on the rise as imports get substituted by local production:

The rise of the dollar brings a large change to the price structure in Iran, opening substantial opportunities for profitable production in the non-oil sectors that employ the 99% of the workforce. These are the sectors which are overwhelmed by cheap imports when oil income lowers their prices.
So, in reverse order, and as economic textbooks read, when oil income drop and prices of imports increase, demand shifts from foreign to home goods, encouraging firms to hire workers and expand production. For example, in the past visits to Iran I might have bought a box of Kellogg’s cereal because it tasted better than the Iranian brand and was only twice as expensive. But this past summer, with devaluation having increased the price ratio to four or five, I decided to buy the Iranian brand. Surprisingly, it tasted better, either because the quality had improved or because prices determine taste for Isfahanis!

Inflation in Iran, caused by the U.S. sanctions, is coming down to sustainable levels. The government's new budget is designed to depend to less than 10% on oil sales:

Rouhani told parliament that the budget of 4,845 trillion rials, or $36 billion at the current street rate, was devised to help Iran's people overcome difficulty.
...
Rouhani said that despite the US sanctions, his government expected to earn almost 455 trillion rials ($3.4 billion) from oil exports.
But he also said Iran's non-oil economy would "be positive" in the next year.

So while Iran and its allies are under stress they are certainly not in danger of collapsing. The Israeli war narrative is fraudulent.

Netanyahoo may want a war, if only to stay out of jail. But war is not popular in the U.S. and Trump will not start one during an election year.

What Trump needs is an off-ramp from his failing aggression against Iran. He needs talks with Iran but the country insists that he must first lift the sanctions.

I expect him to do that only after his reelection.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/12/t ... iling.html
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:40 pm

US sanctioning Iran to make room for its shale oil: Zangeneh
Tuesday, 17 December 2019 1:25 PM [ Last Update: Tuesday, 17 December 2019 1:36 PM ]

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Oil rigs are seen at South Belridge oil field in California.

Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says US sanctions on the Iranian oil industry, apart from being a measure of political pressure, aim to open up the world oil market to American shale oil.

"I am certain one of the reasons for the #US to impose sanctions on Iran has been to make room for its #shale_oil in the market; therefore, the sanctions issue is not merely a political matter, but rather an economic one," Zangeneh tweeted.

Since September, the United States has been working to bring Iran’s oil exports down to zero as part of Washington’s “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

Iran's petroleum industry, including its oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, is on the frontline of the fight against the US which believes choking off the main source of income of the Iranians would force the country to negotiate a new nuclear deal.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new state policy strategy that views the US as aspiring to dominate the world’s oceans in a threat to Russia.
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook on Thursday boasted that sanctions targeting Iran's oil sector have led to more than $50 billion in revenue losses, hindered Iran's refined-oil products and undermined foreign investment.

"Both upstream and downstream investments in Iran's oil and gas sector have stopped," Hook said. "Foreign investors have almost entirely pulled out of Iran due to the risks and billions in investment has been lost," he added.

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has increasingly been using sanctions as a weapon of choice. The country is also weaponizing the dollar through its trade-restricting policies with other countries.

On Saturday, US Treasury Secretary acknowledged that Washington is using sanctions as an alternative to military confrontation.

“The reason why we’re using sanctions is because they are an important alternative for world military conflicts. And I believe it’s worked,” Mnuchin was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the Doha Forum in Qatar. “So whether it’s North Korea, whether it’s Iran or other places in the world, we take the responsibility very seriously.”

In 2017, Trump laid out his administration’s new mantra of “energy dominance” by tapping the country's shale formations to bolster Washington’s geopolitical influence.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met with top oil executives to press them on following the US policy of reducing Iran’s oil exports to zero.
The controversial policy has included boosting domestic production through rollbacks of environmental regulations in order to build an international clout in energy markets.

US oil output has risen to more than 12 million barrels per day for the first time since 1970. Natural gas output has also soared, making America the world’s top producer of the fuel.

According to US military analyst James “Spider” Marks, America’s designs for supremacy include using energy as a weapon to counter enemies such as Russia, China and Iran and exert power over allies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“If the United States is to counter the global influence of Russia, Iran, China and other hostile nations, we will need to find peaceful ways to advance our interests while undermining theirs,” he wrote on the website of Washington-based Morning Consult company.

As the US produces more oil and gas, “we reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Marks said. “Second, as our production grows, so does our ability to advance our interests abroad through exports.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/12/ ... energy-gas
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:02 pm

After U.S. Strike On Iraqi Forces Its Troops Will (Again) Have To Leave
Within Syria @WithinSyriaBlog - 17:43 UTC · Dec 29, 2019
Trump just made the mistake of his presidency.
That may be true or may be not true. Here is what happened.

On Friday a volley of some 30 107mm Katyusha rockets hit the K1 base which houses Iraqi and U.S. troops near Kirkuk, Iraq. One U.S. mercenary/contractor died, two Iraqi and four U.S. soldiers were wounded. Instead of finding the real culprits - ISIS remnants, disgruntled locals, Kurds who want to regain control over Kirkuk - the U.S. decided that Kata'ib Hizbullah was the group guilty of the attack.

Kata'ib Hizbullah is a mostly Shia group with some relations to Iran. It is part of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) which were founded and trained by Iran to stop and defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) when it occupied nearly a third of Iraq and Syria. KH is like all PMU units now under command and control of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

To take revenge for the death of one of its mercenaries the U.S. air force attacked five camps where Kata'ib Hizbullah and other Iraqi forces were stationed:

In response to repeated Kata'ib Hizbollah (KH) attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces, U.S. forces have conducted precision defensive strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH's ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces.
The five targets include three KH locations in Iraq and two in Syria. These locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks on OIR coalition forces.

All of the KH positions that were hit were in the western Anbar desert, 450 kilometer away from Kirkuk. KH has bases on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border where it is engaged in fighting the still active ISIS. The results of the air strikes were devastating:

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 6:20 UTC · Dec 30, 2019
32 killed and 45 wounded the count of #US violent aggression on #Iraq security forces brigades 45 and 46 last night on a military position established to counter-attack and raid #ISIS remnant at al-Qaem, the borders between Iraq and Syria.
The al-Qaem/al-Bukamal border station is the only open one between Iraq and Syria which is not under U.S. control. The U.S. was furious when the Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul Mahdi allowed it to be established. It was previously attacked by Israel which had launched its assault from a U.S. air force base in east Syria.

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 6:11 UTC · Dec 29, 2019
It wasn't just Hezbollah Battalions members who were affected, there are also wounded among the ranks of the Missiles Forces / Rocket Battalion which is considered a separate unit apart from the numbered brigades.
The dead include Abu Ali Madiniyah, the commander of the 1st battalion of the 45th Brigade.

The strikes were in total disregard of Iraqi sovereignty and against forces under direct command of the Iraqi state:

In a statement, Abdul-Mahdi said Defense Secretary Mark Esper had called him about a half-hour before the U.S. strikes to tell him of U.S. intentions to hit bases of the militia suspected of being behind Friday’s rocket attack. Abdul-Mahdi said in the statement he asked Esper to call off U.S. retaliation plans.
The statement said Iraqi President Barham Salih also received advance notice from a U.S. diplomat, and also asked unsuccessfully for Americans to call off it off.

The strikes were designed to kill those who still fight ISIS in its most virulent hide outs:

Rania Khalek @RaniaKhalek - 18:44 UTC · Dec 29, 2019
The PMF group that was hit by the Americans has been fighting ISIS for years. They were on the front lines protecting Iraq from ISIS in Syria and engaged in the ongoing battles with ISIS in the Syrian and Iraqi deserts. They were THE line of defense.
The American attack on this PMF group is not only a disproportionate act of revenge, it is also a threat to regional security. AND it’s pathetic for a so-called super power to get into a fight with a small militia.
Here is video of the bloody aftermath.

There are some 5,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq in bases which also house 10,000nds of Iraqi soldiers and PMF troops. Revenge attacks are now inevitable:

In the aftermath of the American strikes, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said, “We have already confirmed our rejection of any unilateral action by coalition forces or any other forces inside Iraq. We consider it a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region,” according to a statement released on Iraqi state television.
Abdul-Mahdi now finds himself facing the nightmare possibility of Iranian-linked paramilitaries, whose political wings hold enormous sway over his government, going to war with American forces on Iraqi territory, which would compound a disastrous few months in which the deaths of hundreds of protestors have been laid at his feet, prompting him to hand in his resignation to parliament.

The coming days and weeks will answer a number of questions about how this perilous situation will play out, primarily how far are the paramilitaries willing to act upon their rhetoric which has endlessly stated that the American presence in Iraq is a continuation of the occupation, in addition to their readiness to take military action in order to force out the Americans, “once again”.

The U.S. and Israel have already killed hundreds of Iraqi forces that are aligned with Iran. But these were the most egregious strikes. There is no doubt. The U.S. forces will have to (again) leave Iraq:

Brasco_Aad @Brasco_Aad - 19:55 UTC · Dec 29, 2019
Iraqi PMU Asai'b Ahl al-Haq statement on the American attack on Iraq tonight:
''The American military presence has become a burden for the State and a source of aggression against our forces and therefore it has become mandatory for all of us to expel them from Iraq.''
U.S. President Donald Trump had declared that he wants U.S. troops to leave the Middle East. But the 'deep state', the Pentagon and State Department bureaucracy, have resisted any such move:

Pompeo, Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, flew to Palm Beach, Florida, after the operation to brief President Donald Trump.
Esper said they discussed with Trump “other options that are available” to respond to Iran.
...
Trump was at Mar-a-Lago but did not appear with his top national security officials. After Pompeo and Esper spoke, the president traveled to his private golf club in West Palm Beach. The White House did not immediately say why Trump returned to the club after spending nearly six hours there earlier Sunday.

Yesterday's attacks guarantee that all U.S. troops will have to leave Iraq and will thereby also lose their supply lines to Syria.

One wonders if that was the real intent of those strikes.

Posted by b on December 30, 2019 at 8:03 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/12/a ... leave.html

'b', as usual, overestimates Trump's ability. He has the cunning of a toadfish but that's it. But this might render the re-occupation of Iraq untenable

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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:34 am

US putting troops in danger to continue occupation of Iraq: Geopolitical analyst
Thursday, 02 January 2020 6:56 PM [ Last Update: Thursday, 02 January 2020 7:06 PM ]
US-based geopolitical analyst Randi Nord
The United States is purposely putting troops in danger and wait for them to die so they can continue their occupation of Iraq, according to American geopolitical analyst Randi Nord.

Nord, the founder and editor of Geopolitics Alert who covers US imperialism with a special focus on the Middle East, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

Up to 4,000 American paratroopers have been ordered to deploy to the Middle East region following mass protests outside the US embassy by Iraqi protesters infuriated over Washington’s recent deadly military aggression on the Arab country.

The US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’s alert brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers, known as the Deployment Ready Brigade (DRB), has been issued orders to prepare for a possible deployment in the days ahead in Kuwait, three US defense officials told Fox News on Tuesday.

At least 500 paratroopers are already making their way to Kuwait, the officials added.

Earlier in the day, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement that at least 750 paratroopers were set to swiftly deploy to the region.

Esper added that additional forces from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) were prepared to deploy over the next several days.

“It seems Washington’s strategy is to purposely to put troops in danger and wait for US troops to die so they can legitimize a direct attack on Iran, and continue their occupation of Iraq,” Nord said.

“The United States does not belong in Iraq. It never did. It started the war based on lies, and keeps managing to conjure up excuses to continue its occupation -- not to mention justify the cause. This is a very expensive occupation and war for the United States. I think I read recently the cost has reached a trillion dollar alone. And sending these 4 thousand troops to the region will only multiply that cost. So this is a very foolish to send US troops to Iraq on multiple levels,” she stated.

“And if something drastic happens to a large number of US troops, this could end up costing Trump the election. So at this point I am not sure how far he will take this. We’re in an election year right now,” she noted.

The US embassy in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad was evacuated on Tuesday after thousands of angry demonstrators gathered outside the gates of the compound to condemn Washington’s fatal military aggression that targeted Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) on Sunday.

The protesters held up signs calling for the US mission to be shut down and for the parliament to order US forces to leave Iraq.

American forces deployed inside the compound fired tear gas, flash bangs and stun grenades to disperse the crowd, however, the Iraqi protesters breached the outer wall of the high-security compound, throwing bricks and stones at the surveillance cameras around the building.
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Pentagon deploying extra troops to Baghdad after embassy attack by protesters
The Pentagon chief says the United States is sending additional troops to Baghdad to provide security for the US embassy there following an attack by protesters.
Reacting to the developments in Iraq, US President Donald Trump accused Tehran of being behind the mass protests outside the US embassy in Baghdad.

Trump said that Tehran will be held fully responsible for any US lives lost in Iraq and claimed Iran would pay a "big price" in case US facilities are damaged or its forces are attacked in the Arab country.

Rejecting the US accusations, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Washington should abandon its destructive policies in the region and warned US officials against taking any uncalculated action.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/ ... q%E2%80%99
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:39 am

Who was General Qassem Soleimani?
Friday, 03 January 2020 9:18 AM [ Last Update: Friday, 03 January 2020 9:24 AM ]
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File photo showing Major General Qassem Soleimani. (Image via Farsnews)
Major General Qassem Soleimani, whose assassination by the US was confirmed earlier on Friday, had played a major role in defending Iran against its enemies and assisting regional countries fight foreign occupation and terrorism.

Soleimani, born in 1957, started his military career by joining the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) following the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979.

During the imposed Iraqi war on Iran, which was launched in 1980 and lasted for eight years, Soleimani gradually became known as an adept commander, leading Iranian troops in numerous battles against invading Ba'ath regime forces.
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Image shows a young Soleimani speaking to troops during the imposed Iraqi war of the1980s.
Later appointed as the chief of the IRGC's expeditionary Quds Force, Soleimani gradually became a forefront figure in Iran's push to assist regional states and allies counter foreign-backed interventions in the region.
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Untold facts: Gen. Soleimani on 33-day War with Israel
After 20 years, for the first time since being appointed as the Chief Commander of Quds brigade, Major General Soleimani was interviewed by Khamenei.ir.
As foreign-backed Takfiri outfits reared their heads in recent years, the IRGC commander emerged as a key strategist and ingenious commander leading Iranian military advisers assisting Syrian and Iraqi troops in battles against terrorists.

The general was frequently pictured on the frontlines during anti-terrorism operations from Iraq’s Mosul to Syria’s Aleppo.

In Iraq, at the height of Daesh’s terror campaign, he assisted the Baghdad government in operations to retake the strategic oil-rich city of Tikrit from Daesh in 2015.
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General Qassem Soleimani, who commanded the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), is pictured in northern Iraq in May 2017.
In January 2015, the head of Iraq’s Badr Organization credited Tehran and Soleimani with saving Baghdad when Daesh first unleashed its campaign of terror in the neighboring country a year earlier.

The general also took personal command of the battle against Takfiri militants in the Syrian city of Bukamal, located in Dayr al-Zawr Province, in November 2017.
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Major General Qassem Soleimani is seen during an anti-Daesh operation in the city of Bukamal, Dayr al-Zawr Province, Syria.
In November 2017, Soleimani declared the end of Daesh’s territorial rule in a letter addressed to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
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General Soleimani congratulates Ayatollah Khamenei on victory over Daesh
In a congratulatory message to Iran
Earlier this year, the Leader awarded Soleimani with Iran’s highest military order, the Order of Zulfaqar.

Hailed both by the enemies and foes as a major military tactician, General Soleimani topped Foreign Policy (FP)’s 2019 list of Global Thinkers in defense and security.

Several reports emerged about assassination plots against the commander by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia– which are believed to be among the major supporters of Takfiri terrorists wreaking havoc on the Middle East.
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IRGC's intelligence unit thwarts Arab-Israeli plot to assassinate Gen. Soleimani
The IRGC
On Thursday, however, the Trump administration openly claimed responsibility for assassinating Soleimani.
In a statement on Friday, Iran's leader vowed "harsh revenge" for the perpetrators of the attack.
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Iran Leader vows 'harsh revenge' following assassination of Gen. Soleimani
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says a harsh revenge will be taken against the criminals who assassinated IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.
The Leader also offered condolences to the Iranian nation and General Soleimani’s family, and declared three days of national mourning.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/ ... -Soleimani
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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