Tag Archives: Iraq

The Secret Logistics of America’s Global Deep State, by Eric Zuesse

What goes on in America’s gargantuan embassy in Baghdad? From Eric Zuesse at strategic-culture.org:

Why is America’s Baghdad Embassy the world’s largest embassy — and the largest by far?

“It’s as if the US Embassy is there not only to protect American interests, but to manage the entire world from the heart of the capital, Baghdad.”

— Iraqi Sheikh Qassim Al Ta’ee, as quoted on 27 December 2011 in Al Iraq News and translated by Ibrahim Zaidan from the original Arabic by Nicholas Dagher

Zaidan’s article went on to say:

The world’s largest embassy is situated in the Green Zone and fortified by three walls, another barrier of concrete slabs, followed by barbed wire fences and a wall of sandbags. It covers an area of 104 acres, six times larger than UN headquarters in New York and ten times larger than the new embassy Washington is building in Beijing – which is just 10 acres.

[Editor’s’ Note: The ten-acre US Embassy in Beijing is the second largest overseas construction project in the history of the Department of State — and the 104-acre US Embassy in Iraq is the largest.]

So, America’s largest diplomatic mission is surrounded by high concrete walls, is painted in black, brown and grey and is completely isolated from its environment. … The United States announced several months ago that between diplomats and employees, its embassy would include 16,000 people after the pullout of US forces.

On January 1st, Will Sillitoe headlined at the Helsinki Times, “What does the US embassy in Baghdad export to Finland and dozens of other countries?” and he reported that:

More than a million kilograms of cargo were shipped from Baghdad to different parts of the world, reveals US embassies procurement documents.

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Iraq Rejects Iran Sanctions and US Troop Presence, by Jim Carey

It looks like another defeat for the US’s long-running, hapless interventions in the Middle East. From Jim Carey at theantimedia.org:

n another blow to US control on Iraq, the country’s foreign minister warned that Baghdad would ignore US sanctions on Iran.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim laid out the latest step on the path to independence for Baghdad from the US concerning sanctions on Iran by Washington. Although Iraq currently has a 90-day waiver to trade with Iran issued on December 20th, Hakim let reporters know Iraq would be pursuing their own policy on Iran should the waiver not be renewed.

Hakim explained to reporters that “These sanctions, the siege, or what is called the embargo,” imposed by the US is “unilateral, not international,” and Iraq is “not obliged [to follow] them.”

This is a big step for Baghdad to take in the face of pressure from Washington for Iraq to become “energy independent” with the help of US corporations exploiting their oil and gas resources. Instead, as explained by Hakim, Iraq would rather choose their own options for energy, even if that includes continuing the annual $12 billion in trade between Iraq and Iran flowing over US objections.

There are also discussions ongoing concerning increasing the amount of trade between Baghdad and Tehran despite US pressure. Iraqi President Barham Salih and his Iranian President Hassan Rouhani even doubled down on this during a recent meeting where Rouhani said that Tehran was willing to increase trade with Baghdad from the $12 billion a year mark to $20 billion.

Hakim assured reporters Iraq is already thinking of “solutions” to counteract any US threats to increased trade with Iran. According to Hakim, there are multiple options open to Baghdad “including dealing in Iraqi dinars in bilateral trade” as opposed to US dollars.

Iraqi Sovereignty: From Sanctions to Bases

This defiance to US sanctions is only the latest step in Iraq declaring independence from Washington. Another sign that the US is losing their grip on Baghdad was also made apparent last week when, after Trump made a surprise visit to US troops in Iraq, fueling outrage among Iraqi politicians.

Many Iraqi leaders called Trump’s surprise visit to their country a violation of their nation’s sovereignty. This has ended up leading to a wider backlash and resulted in multiple Iraqi politicians demanding a complete end to the US military presence in the country.

This all comes as the Trump regime is attempting to cement new positions in the Middle East by way of new bases on the Iraq-Syria border. According to some Iraqi MPs such as Badr al-Zaidi who has said that the new bases violate “agreements between Iraq and the US were on the pullout of foreign forces from Iraq after 2013.”

Even US-ally and supporter of the NATO occupation, former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected the “method of Trump’s visit,” saying “it was not appropriate to diplomatic mores and to relations with sovereign states.”

These insults to Iraq have led to a wave of Iraqi lawmakers demanding more than an apology and saying the Iraqi government would move to make a “parliamentary decision to expel (Trump’s) military forces” in the words of Qais Khazali, an Iraqi politician. Much like with the rejection of the Iran sanctions, Khazali also promised his faction of the government (backed by Shia militias) also had creative “solutions” to dealing with US pressure on Iraq including “experience and ability to get them out in another way that is well known to your forces, which were forced to withdraw in humiliation in 2011.”

All of these events paint a picture of a growing movement in Iraq to reject US control of the government there that has been in place since the fall of the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003. All the parties that opposed both Saddam and the US occupation are moving closer to the levers of power in Iraq and Baghdad is no longer under Washington’s thumb. The question now for Donald Trump is, will he leave Iraq like he is Syria or will this case take more convincing by the forces of resistance in Iraq?

 

How the War Party Lost the Middle East, by Patrick Buchanan

The war party has a lot of nerve, criticizing President Trump for wanting to pull US troops out of the Midddle East. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“Assad must go, Obama says.”

So read the headline in The Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2011.

The story quoted President Barack Obama directly:

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. … the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David Cameron signed on to the Obama ultimatum: Assad must go!

Seven years and 500,000 dead Syrians later, it is Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron who are gone. Assad still rules in Damascus, and the 2,000 Americans in Syria are coming home. Soon, says President Donald Trump.

But we cannot “leave now,” insists Sen. Lindsey Graham, or “the Kurds are going to get slaughtered.”

Question: Who plunged us into a Syrian civil war, and so managed our intervention that were we to go home after seven years our enemies will be victorious and our allies will “get slaughtered”?

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Trump Ran Scared to Iraq, to Avert Coup Against Him, by Finian Cunningham

Did Trump take his hasty trip to Iraq to tack towards the military and to show he didn’t “really” mean it when he said he’d withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan? From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Donald Trump’s visit this week to US forces in Iraq has to be seen as a highly peculiar move. Following his announcement to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, which caused a split with senior Pentagon figures, it seems that Trump was making a desperate bid to reassure the military establishment. Perhaps even to forestall a feared coup against his presidency.

For nearly two years since his election, President Trump had not visited US troops in any active combat zone, unlike all his predecessors in the White House. His apparent indifference to overseas forces had engendered much consternation from political opponents and the media. In a recent editorial, the New York Times admonished: “Put Down the Golf Clubs, Visit the Troops”.

Recall, too, the US media scorn heaped on Trump when, during his trip to France in November to mark the centennial end of World War One, he declined to pay his respects at an American war cemetery “because it was raining”.

Trump is therefore not the sort of person to put himself in discomfort for others. That’s why it seems all the stranger that on Christmas Night, December 25, the president and his wife Melania left the comfort of the White House, and boarded Air Force One for a 6,000-kilometer overnight flight to Iraq.

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Bring the Troops Home, But Also Stop the Bombing, by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies

The number of bombs the US military drops around the world is mind-boggling. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies at antiwar.com:

As our nation debates the merits of President Donald Trump’s call for withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, absent from the debate is the more pernicious aspect of US military involvement overseas: its air wars. Trump’s announcement and General James Mattis’ resignation should unleash a national discussion about US involvement in overseas conflicts, but no evaluation can be meaningful without a clear understanding of the violence that US air wars have unleashed on the rest of the world for the past 17 years.

By our calculations, in this “war on terror,” the US and its allies have dropped a staggering 291,880 bombs and missiles on other countries – and that is just a minimum number of confirmed strikes.

As we contemplate that overwhelming number, let’s keep in mind that these strikes represent lives snuffed out, people maimed for life, families torn apart, homes and infrastructure demolished, taxpayer money squandered, and resentment that only engenders more violence.

After the horrific crimes of September 11, 2001, Congress was quick to pass a sweeping Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). While three presidents have claimed that the 2001 AUMF legally justifies these endless wars as a response to the crimes of 9/11, no serious reading of the authorization could interpret it that way. What it actually says is:

That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

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Good Riddance to General Mattis and the Rest of Washington’s Mad Dogs of War, by David Stockman

A pretty good measure of the value of President Trump’s initiatives is how load Washington screams about them. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

From the wailing and gnashing of teeth among the mainstream media and officialdom over General Mattis’ (welcome) departure, you would think that the Rapture had come and Washington’s ruling class was being unjustly left behind to eternal perdition. And if not that, then the Mattis Affair is alleged to be at least its secular equivalent – an unwarranted and unforgivable affront to the good and the brave of the Imperial City.

Then again, exactly what was so existentially harmful to America’s security about Trump’s decision to get out of Syria – the apparent reason for Mattis’ ballyhooed resignation?

The fact is, you can’t find a trace of threat to America on the map. Syria is now a tiny, broken country of ruin and rubble with a vastly diminished religiously and ethnically fractured population of 18 million; GDP of barely $60 billion; per capita income of only $3,000; a trickle of oil production (25k barrel/day); and a depleted and battle-ravaged military that cannot possibly operate outside of its own borders and barely controls the lands inside them.

In short, Syria has no economic, strategic or military relevance whatsoever to the safety and security of the American homeland. And that’s as in none, nada, nichts and nugatory.

If you are not looking through the distorted lens of Imperial Washington’s group think, in fact, the whole brouhaha over getting out of Syria is not even a close call; it’s inexplicable.

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A Shift: Repudiating War on Yemen, by Kathy Kelly

It’s tragic that tens of thousands had to die before anyone in the US sat up and took notice. From Kathy Kelly at antiwar.com:

Twenty years ago, a small delegation organized by Voices in the Wildernesslived in Baghdad while U.S. cruise missiles attacked more than 100 targets in Iraq. Following four days of bombing, known as “Operation Desert Fox,” our group visited various Iraqis who had survived direct hits. One young girl handed me a large missile fragment, saying “Merry Christmas.”

An engineer, Gasim Risun, cradled his two-week-old baby as he sat in his hospital bed. Gasim had suffered multiple wounds, but he was the only one in his family well enough to care for the infant, after an unexploded missile destroyed his house. In Baghdad, a bomb demolished a former military defense headquarters, and the shock waves shattered the windows in the hospital next door. Doctors said the explosions terrified women in the maternity ward, causing some to spontaneously abort their babies while others went into premature labor.

In December 1998, US news media steadily focused on only one person living in Iraq: Saddam Hussein. With the notable exception of Stephen Kinzer of The New York Times, no mainstream media focused on U.N. reports about the consequences of US economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. One of Kinzer’s articles was headlined: “Iraq a Pediatrician’s Hell: No Way to Stop the Dying.”

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