What sort of reprisals will the assassination of Qassem Soleimani lead to by Iran? From As’ad AbuKhalil at consortiumnews.com:
As’ad AbuKhalil analyzes the Trump administration’s decision to escalate hostilities with Iran and its regional allies.
U.S. paratroopers deploy to the Middle East following the Baghdad airstrike, Jan. 4, 2020.(U.S. Army/Hubert Delany, Wikimedia Commons)
Something big and unprecedented has happened in the Middle East after the assassination of one of Iran’s top commanders, Qasim Suleimani.
The U.S. has long assumed that assassinations of major figures in the Iranian “resistance-axis” in the Middle East would bring risk to the U.S. military-intelligence presence in the Middle East. Western and Arab media reported that the U.S. had prevented Israel in the past from killing Suleimani. But with the top commander’s death, the Trump administration seems to think a key barrier to U.S. military operations in the Middle East has been removed.
The U.S. and Israel had noticed that Hizbullah and Iran did not retaliate against previous assassinations by Israel (or the U.S.) that took place in Syria (of Imad Mughniyyah, Jihad Mughniyyah, Samir Quntar); or for other attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese commanders in Syria.
The U.S. thus assumed that this assassination would not bring repercussions or harm to U.S. interests. Iranian reluctance to retaliate has only increased the willingness of Israel and the U.S. to violate the unspoken rules of engagement with Iran in the Arab East.
Are sanctions war by another means? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.
Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of “extreme pressure” on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about “regime change.” In Pompeo’s twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become “normal countries.”
Killing a general of a country with which you are not at war is criminal under international law. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:
Following the U.S. assassination of Soleimani, the Trump administration is leading American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness.
Of all the preposterous assertions made since the drone assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, the prize for bottomless ignorance must go to the bottomlessly ignorant Mike Pompeo.
Speaking after the influential Iranian general’s death, our frightening secretary of state declaimed on CBS’s Face the Nation, “There was sound and just and legal reason for the actions the President took, and the world is safer as a result.” In appearances on five news programs on the same Sunday morning, the evangelical paranoid who now runs American foreign policy was a singer with a one-note tune. “It’s very clear the world’s a safer place today,” Pompeo said on ABC’s Jan. 5 edition of This Week.
In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire’s foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now.
We are not safer now that Soleimani, a revered figure across much of the Middle East, has been murdered. The planet has just become significantly more dangerous, especially but not only for Americans, and this is so for one simple reason: The Trump administration, Pompeo bearing the standard, has just tipped American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness, Pompeo’s nonsensical claim to legality notwithstanding.
This is a very consequential line to cross.
Even though Trump refuses to comply with the Iraqis’ request and leave Iraq, count that nation as yet another Eurasian nation slipping out of the US orbit of influence and coercion. From Thomas Luongo at tomluongo.me:
A protester waves the Iraqi flag in Baghdad on Wednesday. Both the U.S. and Iran have launched attacks in Iraq in the past week — including the Iranian missile strike on bases housing U.S. military personnel.
In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani a lot of questions hung in the air. The big one was, in my mind, “Why now?”
There are a lot of angles to answer that question. Many of them were supplied by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi who tried to let the world know through official (and unofficial) channels of the extent of the pressure he was under by the U.S.
In short, President Trump was engaged in months of what can best be described as gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq’s future economic and political development.
According to Iraq’s acting Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Trump is trying to muscle Iraq into abandoning a lucrative oil deal with China. From Whitney Webb at mintpressnews.com:
The U.S. is adamant that its assassination of Qassem Soleimani and refusal to leave Iraq is about protecting Americans, but a little known Iraqi parliamentary session reveals how China increasingly strong ties to Baghdad may be shaping America’s new Mideast strategy.
Since the U.S. killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis earlier this month, the official narrative has held that their deaths were necessary to prevent a vague, yet allegedly imminent, threat of violence towards Americans, though President Trump has since claimed whether or not Soleimani or his Iraqi allies posed an imminent threat “doesn’t really matter.”
While the situation between Iran, Iraq and the U.S. appears to have de-escalated substantially, at least for now, it is worth revisiting the lead-up to the recent U.S.-Iraq/Iran tensions up to the Trump-mandated killing of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in order to understand one of the most overlooked yet relevant drivers behind Trump’s current policy with respect to Iraq: preventing China from expanding its foothold in the Middle East. Indeed, it has been alleged that even the timing of Soleimani’s assassination was directly related to his diplomatic role in Iraq and his push to help Iraq secure its oil independence, beginning with the implementation of a new massive oil deal with China.
The indispensable nation does have to leave any place it doesn’t want to, even when it’s asked to do so. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
President Trump’s decision earlier this month to assassinate Iran’s top military general on Iraqi soil – over the objection of the Iraqi government – has damaged the US relationship with its “ally” Iraq and set the region on the brink of war. Iran’s measured response – a few missiles fired on an Iraqi base after advance warning was given – is the only reason the US is not mired in another Middle East war.
Trump said his decision to assassinate Gen. Qassim Soleimani was intended to prevent a war, not start a war. But no one in his right mind would think that killing another country’s top military leader would not leave that country annoyed, to say the least. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said the Trump Administration’s briefing to Congress on its evidence to back up claims that Soleimani was about to launch attacks against the US was among the worst briefings they’d ever attended.
What kind of arrogant assholes insists that the US stay in Iraq, a putative ally, when that nation doesn’t want us there? From Steven Sahiounie at mintpressnews.com:
Even amongst Iraq’s more pro-US factions, the calls for “Yankee go home” have grown increasingly louder.
Iranian forces launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against two military bases housing US troops in Iraq early hours of Wednesday morning. The al-Assad airbase in western Iraq was hit by 17 missiles, and 5 targeted at a base in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil. No US casualties were immediately reported.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the attack a “slap in the face” of the US, and observers seem to question whether the attack was designed to kill or inflict casualties, or was it carefully orchestrated to produce closure to a situation which could have escalated into a regional or perhaps world war. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he was informed of the attack by Iran ahead of time, which acted as a safety valve after he, in turn, informed US commanders.
Iraqi militias may now begin attacks of revenge for the US assassination of the Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who died alongside Soleimani in the drone strike on Friday. Iraqi militia leader Qais al-Khazali said today his group’s retaliation should be “no less than the size of the Iranian response.”
We’re all ignorant; few recognize it.
Aubrey’s deployment order came a week later. A conflict had waxed and waned in Syria and Iraq for the better part of three years. It was the typical Middle Eastern fracas: hapless governments and their armies; not-so-hapless sectarian brigades with colorful names waging guerrilla war, detonating bombs, promoting mayhem; shifting alliances; endless intrigue; diabolical duplicity; rampant disinformation; appearances masking antipodal realities; and machinations by outside string pullers, money honeys, and intelligence agencies who never seemed to realize—or if they did, never acknowledged—that they were the puppets, not the puppeteers. Despite the seeming complexity, the war boiled down to the usual two issues: oil and the centuries-old question of Muhammad’s rightful heir.
Governments couldn’t resist throwing matches on the gasoline. Sunni nations—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the rich little monarchies scattered around the Persian Gulf—as well as a variety of sectarian brigades with colorful names, launched massive and coordinated maneuvers to “restore order” (Middle Eastern–speak for replacing a government with one more to your liking) to Shiite Syria and Iraq. The Shiite governments were not without friends. Russia, Iran, and various sectarian brigades with colorful names would not let them go down without a fight. So in a very short time, the corner of the world with the highest per capita concentrations of troops, terrorism, weapons, and warfare saw exponential increases in all four.
The US government urged all parties to come to the negotiating table. No parties came to the negotiating table. The US government consulted with its European allies. A resolution was submitted at the United Nations. The war intensified. The war lobby screamed: this was World War III, and the United States was not there! It was like missing your senior prom! The Europeans screamed. Refugees were streaming to Europe. Despite welcoming gestures, the only assimilating they seemed to be doing was slurping up government benefits. It was getting expensive. Some Europeans didn’t like their new guests. Some of their new guests didn’t like the Europeans, but they did like blowing people up. Voters were getting mad. Something had to be done!
The US government ultimately did what the US government does best: came up with a catchy name (Operation Restoration of Peace, Freedom, Hope, Democracy, and Dignity in the Middle East), parked aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, dropped bombs, and deployed thousands of troops to “advise and assist” without a clear idea of whom they would be advising and assisting. It implored the Europeans to join its efforts, to staunch the refugee flow by making war, blowing things up, and creating more refugees. Back in the States, the groups that reflexively cheered every war distributed more Support Our Troops bumper stickers.
Prime Deceit, Robert Gore, 2016
This is satire, although not obviously so. Prime Deceit is dedicated To all those grown bone weary of the bulls**t. The novel’s main shortcoming is that it isn’t satirical enough. Only brutally savage satire is within field goal range of capturing the reality of the Middle East. Almost all of the mountain of journalism and propaganda focused on or emanating from that part of the world is pure twaddle, bulls**t that bone wearied most of us long ago. You can instantly recognize those who don’t have the first clue about the Middle East by their claims to understand it, especially if they claim they’re experts.
Posted in Financial markets, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Horseshit, Imperialism, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Hubris, Ignorance, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Prime Deceit, Qassem Soleimani assassination
It’s truly tragic that the rest of the world doesn’t realize what a “Force For Good” the US is. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Perhaps entirely to be expected, the US administration has unambiguously rejected Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s urgent call for Washington to enact a US troop ‘withdrawal mechanism’ in Iraq. In a Thursday phone call to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Iraqi leader urged the administration to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament’s resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.”
Echoing prior statements of Mark Esper, the State Department underscored Friday that it’s “our right” as a “force for good” in the region to maintain “appropriate force posture in the Middle East” in a statement by spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. She stated the US considers that a troop pullout is not on the table for discussion with Baghdad officials.
“At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” Ortagus said. The words also appear aimed at Abdul-Mahdi’s assertion that US forces were operating “without permission”.
The US State Department’s global network of embassies is archaic, costly, and unnecessary. From Becky Akers at lewrockwell.com:
“Protesters broke into the heavily guarded compound of the United States Embassy in Baghdad on [Dec. 31, 2019] and set fires inside … The men … demand[ed] that the United States withdraw its forces from Iraq.”
YAWN. Old news: mobs in the Middle East have been bawling such objections for decades, though I grant that they’re hard to hear over the windows they shatter and their Molotov cocktails. And of course patriots who revere liberty agree wholeheartedly that Washington should recall its hired killers. In that spirit, I offer a friendly amendment to the militants: how about the US withdraws its ambassador and worthless diplomats, too?
The embassy lately attacked in Baghdad, America’s “biggest and most expensive in the world,” robbed us serfs of $750 million when it was built during George the Pea-brain’s reign; were I the editor of a dictionary, I’d illustrate “boondoggle” with its picture.
Actually, I’d feature the whole of Iraq under “boondoggle.” As of 2012, Our Rulers’ largesse there held the infuriating distinction of “the most ambitious American aid effort since the Marshall Plan”—and that’s on top of the $5-$12 trillion for DC’s wars in and around Iraq. Why we pay to destroy a place and then “restore” it is a conundrum only the military-industrial complex and their bought-and-paid-for politicians can fathom. Rational folks with even a speck of prudence or humanity will never comprehend such evil.