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Iraq & Russia Look To Boost Military Ties While US Threatens Sanctions

Iraq & Russia Look To Boost Military Ties While US Threatens Sanctions

In more continuing fallout over the Jan.3 assassination by drone of the IRGC’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iraq and Russia are preparing for deepening military coordination, reports the AP

Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday that increased “cooperation and coordination” is being discussed with Moscow amid worsened relations with Washington, which even last month included President Trump issuing brazen threats of “very big” sanctions on Baghdad if American troops are kicked out of the country. 

This week Iraqi army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Othman Al-Ghanimi and Russian Ambassador Maksim Maksimov met to discuss future military cooperation. Crucially, Gen. Ghanimi highlighted Russia’s successful anti-ISIS operations over the past years, especially in Syria where the Russian military has supported Assad since being invited there in 2015.

Iraqi helicopters file image.

On Russia’s role in Iraq, Ghanimi said Moscow had provided “our armed forces with advanced and effective equipment and weapons that had a major role in resolving many battles,” according to the ministry statement.

It’s been long rumored that since late summer Baghdad and Moscow have been in talks to deliver either Russia’s advanced S-400 or S-300 anti-air missile defense systems – a prospect which US officials have condemned. 

Like other areas of the Middle East, as US adventurism heightens pressure for a US withdrawal, Russia appears to be seizing the opportunity to move in. This much was affirmed in AP’s reporting, via at least one anonymous senior official:

A senior Iraqi military intelligence official told The Associated Press that Russia, among other countries, has come forward to offer military support in the wake of fraught US.-Iraq relations following Soleimani’s killing.

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NYT: ‘Iran-Backed Militia’ Attack That Provoked Soleimani Killing Was Possible ISIS False Flag

NYT: ‘Iran-Backed Militia’ Attack That Provoked Soleimani Killing Was Possible ISIS False Flag

The initial major rationale and justification the US administration offered for the drone assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani and commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was the Dec.27 rocket attack on K1 camp in Kirkuk, which houses coalition forces. 

That attack involving surface-to-surface missile strikes killed an American contractor and reportedly wounded several US troops. Washington immediately blamed the Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group Khataib Hezbollah, with Mike Pompeo saying of the attack: “We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy,” after he briefedPresident Trump. But top Iraqi military and intelligence officials are now calling this entire narrative into question.

A new lengthy New York Times investigative report cites multiple top Iraqi officials who go on record to say of their analysis of the Dec.27 Kirkuk incident: “These facts all point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say.”

ISIS terrorists in Iraq, file image.

The Pentagon says it has evidence decisively pinning it on Khataib Hezbollah, known for its closeness to Tehran; however, the paramilitary group itself has denied that it was behind the operation. US officials have from the start been scant on details and have not made public any evidence or intelligence.

This led some analysts in the days after the attack to question whether ISIS cells, still known to be active in the area, might have been behind it — given also it would be to the Sunni terrorist group’s benefit to sow a major rift between US and local Iraqi Shia forces, which is precisely what happened (Trump has recently gone so far as to threaten “very big sanctions” on Baghdad if US forces are kicked out). Alternately the White House perhaps appeared ready to manufacture a justification to take out Soleimani.

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War With Iran

War With Iran

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

The assassination by the United States of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near Baghdad’s airport will ignite widespread retaliatory attacks against U.S. targets from Shiites, who form the majority in Iraq. It will activate Iranian-backed militias and insurgents in Lebanon and Syria and throughout the Middle East. The existing mayhem, violence, failed states and war, the result of nearly two decades of U.S. blunders and miscalculations in the region, will become an even wider and more dangerous conflagration. The consequences are ominous. Not only will the U.S. swiftly find itself under siege in Iraq and perhaps driven out of the country—there is only a paltry force of 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, all U.S. citizens in Iraq have been told to leave the country “immediately” and the embassy and consular services have been closed—but the situation could also draw us into a war directly with Iran. The American Empire, it seems, will die not with a whimper but a bang.

The targeting of Soleimani, who was killed by a MQ-9 Reaper drone that fired missiles into his convoy as he was leaving the Baghdad airport, also took the life of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, along with other Iraqi Shiite militia leaders. The strike may temporarily bolster the political fortunes of the two beleaguered architects of the assassination, Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is an act of imperial suicide by the United States. There can be no positive outcome. It opens up the possibility of an Armageddon-type scenario relished by the lunatic fringes of the Christian right.

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The Global US Squeeze On Iran Has Started: Europe is Looking For Alternatives

THE GLOBAL US SQUEEZE ON IRAN HAS STARTED: EUROPE IS LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES

DrB0vayWoAMUaRI

Today the harshest and highest level economic and energy sanctions that can be imposed on any country are being imposed unilaterally on Iran. The US establishment will try its best to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees and Tehran will do its best to cross the US minefield. Whatever the outcome, Iran will never submit to Washington’s twelve conditions.

Iran is not a fledgeling country ready to collapse at the imposition of the first tight sanctions, nor will Iran allow its oil exports to be frozen without reacting. In fact, US and UN sanctions against Iran date to the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and the fall of the Shah in 1979.

No doubt the Iranian economy will be affected. Nevertheless, Iranian unity today has reached new heights. President Trump has managed to bring reformists and radicals together under the same umbrella!

Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has said to President Hassan Rouhani: “You walk and we stand ahead of you. Don’t respond to Trump’s provocations because he is insolent and not at your level. I shall face him myself”. Rouhani believes “US policy and its new conspiracy will fail”. All responsible figures in the Iranian regime are now united under the leadership of Imam Ali Khamenei against the US policy whose aim is to curb the regime.

Under the previous worldwide sanctions regime, Iran began developing missile technology and precision weapons. Iran has never yielded in support of its allies because these alliances are an integral part of its ideology. Today, Tehran is not standing alone against the US and is waiting to see what course global sanctions will take before reacting. Officials in Tehran, convinced that Trump will win a second term, are preparing for a long siege.

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Qassem Soleimani’s letter to the US: Leave Syria or else! Could Al-Hasaka 2018 become Beirut 1983?

Qassem Soleimani’s letter to the US: Leave Syria or else! Could Al-Hasaka 2018 become Beirut 1983?

Well informed sources have said the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a verbal letter, via Russia, to the head of the US forces commander in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier “or the doors of hell will open up”.

“My message to the US military command: when the battle against ISIS (the Islamic State group) will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it”, said Soleimani to a Russian officer. Soleimani asked the Russian responsible to expose the Iranian intentions towards the US: that they will be considered as forces of occupation if these decide to stay in north-east Syria where Kurds and Arab tribes cohabit together.

The Russians are not against the US presence and can adapt to this after defining the demarcation lines to avoid any clash. But Iran has a clear position and has decided not to abandon the Syrian President alone to face the US forces, if these stay behind.

Soleimani’s letter to the US clearly indicated the promise of ‘surprise measures’ against the US: ” You shall face soldiers and forces you have not experienced before in Syria and you will leave the country sooner or later”.

Russia conveyed to the US that Iran will stay in Syria as long as President Assad decides, he who insists in liberating the entire territory from all forces without exception. Russia confirmed to the US its intention to refrain from offering any air support to Iran and its allies in the case of attacks on US forces. From the Russian perspective, the Iran-US dispute is not its concern nor on its agenda.

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