Tag Archives: Iran

It Is A Time Of Crisis And U.S. Foreign Policy Is Becoming Unhinged, by Moon of Alabama

Never let a good opportunity to conduct deranged foreign policy when the world is preoccupied with a crisis go to waste. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

The Trump administration is reacting to the pandemic stress by lashing out at perceived internal and external enemies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is leading the external onslaught.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate global ceasefire” to focus on fighting Covid-19. He has appealed for the “waiving of sanctions that can undermine countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic.”

But Washington is not listening.

Requests from Venezuela and Iran for emergency IMF loans to buy medical supplies were blocked by U.S. interventions.

Just a month ago Pompeo announced an increase of sanctions against Iran. The sanctions block money transfers. They make it impossible for Iran to import the medical equipment it urgently needs to counter the epidemic.

While the U.S. renewed the sanction waiver which allows Iraq to import electricity and gas from Iran the waiver is now limited to only 30 days. One third of Iraq’s electricity depends on those imports from Iran and, if the waiver is not renewed, its hospitals will go dark just when the epidemic will reach its zenith.

Parts of the Trump administration are even pressing for a wider war against alleged Iranian proxy forces in Iraq:

The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops.But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran.

Some top officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, have been pushing for aggressive new action against Iran and its proxy forces — and see an opportunity to try to destroy Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq as leaders in Iran are distracted by the pandemic crisis in their country.

Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been wary of a sharp military escalation, warning it could further destabilize the Middle East at a time when President Trump has said he hopes to reduce the number of American troops in the region.

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Stop Tightening the Thumb Screws, A Humanitarian Message, by Kathy Kelly

Coronavirus poses a threat to all of humanity, except for Iranians, whose deaths are to be welcomed. From Kathy Kelly at antiwar.com:

U.S. sanctions against Iran, cruelly strengthened in March of 2018, continue a collective punishment of extremely vulnerable people. Presently, the US”maximum pressure” policy severely undermines Iranian efforts to cope with the ravages of COVID-19, causing hardship and tragedy while contributing to the global spread of the pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Iran’s Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif urged member states of the UN to end the United States’ unconscionable and lethal economic warfare.

Addressing UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Zarif detailed how US economic sanctions prevent Iranians from importing necessary medicine and medical equipment.

For over two years, while the US bullied other countries to refrain from purchasing Iranian oil, Iranians have coped with crippling economic decline.

The devastated economy and worsening coronavirus outbreak now drive migrants and refugees, who number in the millions, back to Afghanistan at dramatically increased rates.

In the past two weeks alone, more than 50,000 Afghans returned from Iran, increasing the likelihood that cases of coronavirus will surge in Afghanistan. Decades of war, including US invasion and occupation, have decimatedAfghanistan’s health care and food distribution systems.

Jawad Zarif asks the UN to prevent the use of hunger and disease as a weapon of war. His letter demonstrates the wreckage caused by many decades of United States imperialism and suggests revolutionary steps toward dismantling the United States war machine.

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Militarism in a Time of Pandemic: The Arrogance of the (Ongoing) US War in Iraq, by Danny Sjursen

Refusing to leave a country that’s supposedly an ally, and then waging war on it, definitely sounds like arrogance. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Look, I’m no doctor; not a scientist; certainly no expert in epidemiology. So I’ve kept silent, for the most part, on the Coronavirus. Being more than a little out of my depth on the subject, I’ll continue to do so. Nonetheless, it is striking how the disease outbreak has swallowed the news cycle whole, totally blotted out the sun of reportage on America’s ongoing militarist wars. While almost certainly not the cause or initial motive, 24/7 Corona-coverage has been convenient for the establishment media and political elites: a beyond-reproach justification for total blackout for U.S. wars and violent interventions that continue to kill our soldiers and – in far greater numbers – foreigners unlucky enough to live in the vast, contested expense from West Africa to Central Asia.

Generally, I’m a decidedly Occam’s Razor sort of guy: which is to say, one who never rules out the preeminence of contingency and rank incompetence as an explanatory tool for world events. Conspiracy peddling is hardly my go-to position. Still, however this Corona emergency turns out – passing (let’s hope) panic or zombie apocalypse – it must be said that the wall-to-wall disease reporting serves as an opportune disciplining tool. To wit, while it’s totally acceptable to utilize Corona as a cudgel – by the establishment “Left,” and it’s peculiar neoconservative allies – to batter (perhaps somewhat appropriately) Donald Trump, any critical analysis of the media response and it’s failure to report other war-related news is beyond the pale. Count me skeptical of the polite, prevailing band of admissible discourse.

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Iraq’s Resistance Reveals How U.S. Troops Will Be Removed From Its Country, by Moon of Alabama

The US wants a big military presence in Iraq to harass Iran. The only problem is Iraq wants the US out. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

Yesterday the U.S. attacked five sites in Iraq and killed 3 Iraqi soldiers of the 19th Division, two policeman and a civilian. The strikes came after some 10+ rockets, fired by unknown people, had hit the joint base Camp Tali and had killed 2 U.S. and one British soldiers.

Today the U.S. received the revenge for its strikes.

The U.S. Central Command had argued that the “defensive precision strike” against the five sites created deterrence i.e. they would prevent other attacks:

We believe that this is going to have an effect on deterring — on deterring future strikes of this nature. We’ve seen in the past what happens when you don’t respond. Now people know that we’re not going to — we’re not going to tolerate these direct attacks on American or coalition service members, and we’re willing and able to respond.

Even hawkish analysts find that the argument is nonsense.

The U.S. claims that the group Kataib Hezbollah, part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and under command of the Iraqi government, fired the missiles. But the positions the U.S. hit were not Kataib Hezbollah positions. U.S. intelligence in Iraq is not up to date with regards to where Kataib Hezbollah units or those of the other 20+ PMU groups are stationed.

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Why Is The U.S. Launching A New War On Iraq? by Moon of Alabama

We know the neocons dream of a US war against Iran, but now the US is quietly waging war against Iraq. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:

On January 3 the U.S. assassinated the Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani and the deputy chairman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al Muhandis near the airport of Baghdad. In response to the infraction of Iraq’s sovereignty the parliament voted to evict all U.S. and coalition forces from Iraq. The U.S. rejected the request to leave.

On March 11, the birthday of Qassem Suleimani, unknown guerilla fired 18 Katyusha rockets against a joint base at Camp Taji, about 17 miles north of Baghdad. Two U.S. and one British soldiers were killed by the strike and twelve others were wounded.

Only hours later the U.S., or one of its allies, responded by striking ten targets near Bukamal with drones. Bukamal is a border crossing where Iraqi units aligned with Iran are guarding the Syrian-Iraqi border. While some sources claimed that 18 people were killed in those strikes others denied that there were any casualties.

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The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle, by Pepe Escobar

Don’t expect too much from any Afghanistan peace deal. The Taliban want the US out, the US military wants to stay. From Pepe Escobar at asiatimes.com:

As far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military want to stay in what is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques
In this photo taken on February 21, youths and peace activists gather as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Kandahar. A week-long partial truce took hold across Afghanistan on February 22, with some jubilant civilians dancing in the streets as the war-weary country prepared for this coming Saturday’s planned agreement on a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States. Photo: AFP / Javed Tanveer

Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban.

We should start by stressing three points.

1- The Taliban wanted all US troops out. Washington refused.

2- The possible deal only reduces US troops from 13,000 to 8,600. That’s the same number already deployed before the Trump administration.

3- The reduction will only happen a year and a half from now – assuming what’s being described as a truce holds.

So there would be no misunderstanding, Taliban Deputy Leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, in an op-ed certainly read by everyone inside the Beltway, detailed their straightforward red line: total US withdrawal.

And Haqqani is adamant: there’s no peace deal if US troops stay.

Still, a deal looms. How come? Simple: enter a series of secret “annexes.”

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It’s time to reclaim Syria’s road to recovery, by Pablo Escobar

Two has two very unattractive options in Syria. From Pablo Escobar at asiatimes.com:

Erdogan de facto supports al-Qaeda remnants while facing either humiliating retreat from or total war against Syria

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, neo-Ottoman extraordinaire, is not exactly inclined to commit seppuku, the Japanese act of ritual suicide.

But if not through the perspective of neo-Ottomanism, how to explain the fact he is de facto supporting al-Qaeda remnants in Syria while facing two unsavory options – a humiliating retreat from or total war against the Syrian Arab Army?

Everything about the slowly evolving, messy chessboard in Idlib hinges on highways: the imperative for the government in Damascus to control both the M5 highway between Damascus and Aleppo and the M4 highway between Latakia and Aleppo. Fully reclaiming these two crucial axes will finally turbo-charge the ailing Syrian economy.

Very few players nowadays remember the all-important Sochi memorandum of understanding signed between Russia and Turkey in September 2018.

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