Tag Archives: Iraq

The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret War, by Sam Jacobs

This is a good review of the history surrounding 9/11. From Sam Jacobs at ammo.com:

With American military personnel now entering service who were not even alive on 9/11, this seems an appropriate time to reexamine the events of September 11, 2001 – the opaque motives for the attacks, the equally opaque motives for the counter-offensive by the United States and its allies known as the Global War on Terror, and the domestic fall-out for Americans concerned about the erosion of their civil liberties on the homefront.

Before venturing further, it’s worth noting that our appraisal is not among the most common explanations. Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants at Al-Qaeda, and the men who carried out the attack against the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon are not “crazy,” unhinged psychopaths launching an attack against the United States without what they consider to be good reason.

Nor do we consider then-President George W. Bush to be either a simpleton, a willing conspirator, an oil profiteer, or a Machivellian puppet whose cabinet were all too happy to take advantage of a crisis.

The American press tends to portray its leaders as fools and knaves, and America’s enemies as psychopathic. Because the propaganda machine hammered away so heavily on the simple “cowardly men who hate our freedom” line, there was not much in the way of careful consideration of the actual political motives of the hijackers, the Petro-Islam that funded them, the ancient, antagonistic split between Sunni and Shi’a, the fall-out from the 1979 Iranian revolution or the 1970s energy crisis, the historical context of covert American involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War and the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, nor the perceived “imperialist humanitarianism” of American military adventures of the 1990s in Muslim nations like Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia and Kosovo. Alone, none of these factors were deadly. Combined, they provided a lethal combination.

It is our considered opinion that the events of 9/11 and those that followed in direct response to the attacks – including the invasion of Iraq – were carried out by good faith rational actors who believed they were acting in the best interests of their religion or their nation. There are no conspiracy theories here; sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

This opinion does not in any way absolve the principals from moral responsibility for the consequences of their actions. It does, however, provide what we believe to be a more accurate and nuanced depiction of events than is generally forthcoming from any sector of the media – because we see these principals as excellent chess players who, in the broad sweep of events, engaged in actions which are explicable.

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The Irrational Logic of Leaving Troops in Iraq, by Bonnie Kristian

The case for leaving troops in Iraq is just as solid and air-tight as the cases for leaving troops in Afghanistan and Syria. The only way for outsiders to win in the Middle East is to stay out. From Bonnie Kristian at nationalinterest.org:

Prolonging U.S. military intervention is making it more difficult for Iraq to achieve stability and sapping American defense resources.

raq does not need “direct and military support, and support on the ground” from the United States, new Iraqi prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in an interview last week before his visit to Washington. His country might want U.S. “cooperation and assistance” at different levels in the future, Al-Kadhimi allowed, depending on “the changing nature of terrorism’s threat.” But the support he mentioned—military training and arms provision—would be a marked drawdown from the current U.S. role in Iraq.

American policymakers should take notice. After seventeen years of fighting, the war in Iraq is a demonstrable failure—and yet a failure with no end in sight.

The Trump administration has repeatedly promised to draw down the U.S. military presence in Iraq, but it’s not clear President Donald Trump really wants to leave. Apparently unguided by any coherent strategy, he threatens further escalation as easily as he condemns the initial invasion. His passion for ending “endless wars” is perhaps not all-consuming.

There are about five thousand American troops in Iraq now, basically the same deployment level as when this administration began. When the Iraqi parliament in January demanded all foreign troops leave their country, the administration rejected the request. “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how best to recommit to our strategic partnership,” said the State Department, “not to discuss troop withdrawal.”

This is unsurprising, as key administration advisers evince no urgency toward departure: the commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., is open about his belief that the United States should continue to occupy Iraq forever, perpetually on hand to combat remnants of the Islamic State or whatever group succeeds it. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday promised the U.S. military would be busy in Iraq for a long time to come, refusing to discuss the possibility of withdrawal, asking reporters “not to focus on that.”

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America’s 30-Year War Against Iraq: Bring the Troops Home, by Doug Bandow

Nobody can satisfactorily explain why the US military is still in Iraq. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Three decades ago Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait. It was no contest. Hussein was vastly more ruthless than Kuwait’s emir. Iraq’s military was significantly larger than Kuwait’s armed forces. Hussein declared his conquest to be Iraq’s 19th province.

However, President George H.W. Bush decided that Iraq’s aggression would not stand. The following February the U.S. forced Iraq out of Kuwait. Rather than return home, the Pentagon left bases and troops strewn about the Middle East. Through the Bush and Clinton administrations American forces maintained two no-fly zones in Iraq, launched regular bombing raids to punish Baghdad for failing to cooperate with UN nuclear inspectors and committing other alleged offenses, embargoed Iraq’s oil, and funded opposition groups in a push for regime change. At a time of nominal peace the US averaged a bombing raid a week on Iraq.

President George W Bush continued Washington’s unofficial war against Iraq, before deciding to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to invade the country and oust Hussein. Starting in March 2003, he speedily ousted Hussein. Unfortunately, Bush also triggered a bitter, bloody sectarian war and created al-Qaeda in Iraq, which morphed into the Islamic State. Iraqis and Americans are still fighting Islamist extremists, with no end in sight. Only now US forces also are primed to battle Iran, whose influence in Iraq was dramatically multiplied when Washington removed the secular Sunni Saddam Hussein from command of the majority Shia country.

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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 Syria Deception, Understanding the geopolitical and psychological war against Syria. From Swiss Propaganda Research

The US and its European lap dogs have wanted to get rid of the Syrian government since the 1940s. From Swiss Propaganda Research at swprs.org:

What is the Syria war about?

Contrary to the depiction in Western media, the Syria war is not a civil war. This is because the initiators, financiers and a large part of the anti-government fighters come from abroad.

Nor is the Syria war a religious war, for Syria was and still is one of the most secular countries in the region, and the Syrian army – like its direct opponents – is itself mainly composed of Sunnis.

But the Syria war is also not a pipeline war, as some critics suspected, because the allegedly competing gas pipeline projects never existed to begin with, as even the Syrian president confirmed.

Instead, the Syria war is a war of conquest and regime change, which developed into a geopolitical proxy war between NATO states on one side – especially the US, Great Britain and France – and Russia, Iran, and China on the other side.

In fact, already since the 1940s the US has repeatedly attempted to install a pro-Western government in Syria, such as in 1949, 1956, 1957, after 1980 and after 2003, but without success so far. This makes Syria – since the fall of Libya – the last Mediterranean country independent of NATO.

Thus, in the course of the „Arab Spring“ of 2011, NATO and its allies, especially Israel and the Gulf States, decided to try again. To this end, politically and economically motivated protests in Syria were leveraged and were quickly escalated into an armed conflict.

NATO’s original strategy of 2011 was based on the Afghanistan war of the 1980s and aimed at conquering Syria mainly through positively portrayed Islamist militias (so-called „rebels“). This did not succeed, however, because the militias lacked an air force and anti-aircraft missiles.

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THE ANGRY ARAB: The Lessons of the Taliban, by As`ad AbuKhalil

The US government and its military learned nothing from Vietnam. From As`ad AbuKhalil at consortiumnews.com:

The U.S. humiliation in Afghanistan shows that the empire can’t impose its will, no matter how much violence it inflicts, writes As`ad AbuKhalil.

Zalmay Khalilzad, left, the U.S. chief envoy, signs off on peace deal with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a Taliban leader, in Doha, Qatar, Feb. 29, 2020. (State Department)

It was quite a spectacle for this century.  If Western media were not all tied to the war establishment, they would have commented on the symbolism: a U.S. envoy signing a peace agreement with an official representatives of the Taliban movement.

Had Osama bin Laden been alive, he may have been invited to the signing ceremony.  Younger readers did not live through the massive propaganda campaign by all Western governments against the Taliban back in 2001.  The U.S. war on Afghanistan was very popular then: at least 90 percent of Americans supported it in 2001.

Conservatives and liberals united to convince public opinion that the removal of the Taliban from power was an American national priority.  The liberal organization, the Feminist Majority, aided the White House in its propaganda effort by releasing information on the Taliban’s war on women.

But when U.S. bombs started to kill women and children on a regular basis, the Feminist Majority and other liberals were silent. (Among women’s rights activists — including some in Afghanistan — the Feminist Majority’s pro-military position on Afghanistan was controversial at the time.)

George W. Bush and his wife briefly posed as feminist in an effort to persuade the public that the American invasion of Afghanistan is a humanitarian effort.

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Russia Is Defeating The U.S. In The Middle East Oil Game, by Simon Watkins

Russia is playing, and winning, the long game in the Middle East. From Simon Watkins at oilprice.com:

MBS Putin

Historically, Russia goes to great lengths to hide or disguise its strategic intentions but it clearly feels empowered enough in the Middle East to very obviously stake its claim in the region – excluding, for the time being only, Saudi Arabia – by stating that a slew of Russian companies are to spend up to US$20 billion on oil projects in Iraq in the near term. “Since [U.S. President Donald] Trump outlined the new U.S. foreign policy of not engaging in conflicts abroad unless they were directly aligned with U.S. interests [October 2019], and then effectively withdrawing from Syria and from supporting the Kurds, Russia and China have felt that they can bring forward their plans to bring Iraq within their geopolitical arc of influence,” a senior source who works closely with Iraq’s Oil Ministry told OilPrice.com last week. “They know that provided that they do not impinge on Saudi Arabia and, at a pinch the UAE and Kuwait, or launch attacks against U.S. personnel, then they can basically do whatever they want anywhere else, hence this announcement from Russia last week,” he added.

Before this announcement – which specifically mentioned Zarubezhneft, Tatneft, and Rosneftegaz as companies interested in pursuing specific but as yet unnamed projects, in addition to those Russia companies already active in the country (including Lukoil, Bashneft, and GazpromNeft) – Russia had adopted its usual stealth approach to building up its presence in Iraq. “It is incremental colonialism, beginning one day with one relatively small contract being taken up by some Russian company nobody has heard of, then more Russian companies turn up in the same place under ‘contractor’ terms having been engaged by the company you gave the original contact to, then security companies turn up to guard all of the personnel, and suddenly you have a major Russian occupation of part of your key oil and gas infrastructure,” the Iraq source underlined,

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Did Washington Use a False Pretext for Its Bloody Escalation in Iraq? By Helena Cobban

It would be more surprising if Washington didn’t use a false pretext than if it did. From Helen Cobban at lewrockwell.com:

In a key piece of actual extensive, on-the-ground reporting, the New York Times’s Alissa Rubin has raised serious questions about the official US account of who it was that attacked the K-1 base near Kirkuk, in eastern Iraq, on December 27. The United States almost immediately accused the Iran-backed Ketaib Hizbullah (KH) militia of responsibility. But Rubin quotes by name Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the chief of intelligence for the Iraqi federal police at the same base, as saying, “All the indications are that it was Daesh” — that is, ISIS.

She also presents considerable further detailed reporting on the matter. And she notes that though U.S. investigators claim to have evidence about  KH’s responsibility for the attack, they have presented none of it publicly. Nor have they shared it with the Iraqi government.

KH is a paramilitary organization that operates under the command of the Iraqi military and has been deeply involved in the anti-ISIS campaigns throughout the country.

The December 27 attack killed one Iraqi-American contractor and was cited by the Trump administration as reason to launch a large-scale attack on five KH bases some 400 miles to the west which killed around 50 KH fighters. Outraged KH fighters then mobbed the US embassy in Baghdad, breaking through an outside perimeter on its large campus, but causing no casualties. On January 2, Pres. Trump decided to escalate again, ordering the assassination of Iran’s Gen. Qasem Soleimani and bringing the region and the world close to a massive shooting war.

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