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IRAQ

Jan 17 08:44

Turkish Base in Iraq Comes Under Rocket Fire, Reports Say

A Turkish military base in Zlikan, northeast of the Iraqi city of Mosul, has come under rocket fire for the second time in two days, a source in the Iraqi security forces told the Shafaq news agency.

"Three rockets fell in the area of the Turkish base northeast of Mosul. Turkish artillery responded with return fire", the source said, as quoted by the media.

No Turkish soldiers were not injured in the attack, the agency's source added.
On Saturday, the surroundings of the Turkish Zlikan base were also fired upon by two Katyusha rockets.

Jan 16 06:55

Turkish Base in Iraq Comes Under Rocket Fire, Reports Say

A Turkish military base in Zlikan, northeast of the Iraqi city of Mosul, has come under rocket fire for the second time in two days, a source in the Iraqi security forces told the Shafaq news agency.

"Three rockets fell in the area of the Turkish base northeast of Mosul. Turkish artillery responded with return fire", the source said, as quoted by the media.

No Turkish soldiers were not injured in the attack, the agency's source added.
On Saturday, the surroundings of the Turkish Zlikan base were also fired upon by two Katyusha rockets.

Jan 14 07:43

How Bush and Blair plotted war in Iraq: Read the secret memo in full

In April 2002, Tony Blair, the British prime minister, visited US President George W. Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The weekend meeting has long been identified as a key moment in the buildup to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, but details of what was discussed between the pair have remained a matter of speculation.

Middle East Eye has seen a copy of a secret memo about the meeting written by David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser, who accompanied him to Crawford.

It was sent to Simon McDonald, principal private secretary to foreign secretary Jack Straw, and shared with five other senior British officials: Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff; Mike Boyce, chief of defence staff; Peter Watkins, principal private secretary to defence secretary Geoff Hoon; Christopher Meyer, UK ambassador to the US; and Michael Jay, permanent secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The text of that memo is published below for the first time.

Jan 14 07:23

Three Injured in Rocket Attack on US Embassy in Baghdad

The US Embassy in Baghdad reported on Thursday that it came under attack, with rockets fired into the area in the Baghdad Green Zone. Three civilians were reported injured, including two children.

At least four rockets entered the area, hitting a school and residential complex. The embassy defense system was reported to have activated, though there is no report any of the rockets were shot down.

The rockets were fired from a nearby neighborhood. It’s not clear who launched the rockets, and there has been no claim of responsibility.

Recent US reactions to rocket fire have almost universally been to blame Shi’ite militias in Iraq, and while there is as yet no official reaction, that, and the implication of Iranian involvement, tends to be the safe bet.

Jan 13 16:30

Watch: Air Defenses Gun Down Inbound Rockets Over US' Baghdad Embassy

Several inbound rockets were detected in the Green Zone on Thursday evening, where the US embassy in Baghdad is located.

At least two rockets were fired at the US embassy in central Baghdad, both of which were shot down without causing casualties or damage, according to Iraq military officials.
Footage posted online purported to capture the intercept. The video shows a C-RAM air defense system firing a blazing stream of bullets at the projectiles.

Jan 13 12:27

US Embassy In Baghdad Under Attack, Defense System Activated: Reports

Forces at the US embassy in Baghdad are attempting to intercept what could be rockets or suicide drones with radar-controlled rapid-fire guns, according to the BBC's Nafiseh Kohnavard.

Multiple videos surfaced on Twitter around 1200 ET, one by Kohnavard of Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (CRAM) weapons activated and firing large bursts into the night sky to combat incoming rockets and or suicide drones in the air before they hit the embassy.

Jan 13 11:59

Iraq war: Secret memo reveals Bush-Blair plans to topple Saddam Hussein

George W Bush told Tony Blair he did not know who would replace Saddam Hussein in Iraq when they toppled him and that he “did not much care”, according to an explosive top secret account of the meeting seen by Middle East Eye.

The former US president was blithe about the consequences of launching an invasion at a crucial meeting with the British prime minister at his Texas ranch in 2002, almost a year before the war was launched.

“He didn’t know who would take Saddam’s place if and when we toppled him. But he didn’t much care. He was working on the assumption that anyone would be an improvement,” the British memo, written by Blair's top foreign policy adviser at the time, reads.

Bush believed - but the memo says he would not say publicly - that a “moderate secular regime” in post-Saddam Iraq would have a favourable impact both on Saudi Arabia - a close US ally - and Iran.

Jan 10 08:15

REPORT: Tony Blair Secretly Promised George Bush He’d ‘Spin’ The Iraq War To The World

It has been revealed that former British prime minister Tony Blair secretly promised George W Bush he would lead a public relations drive to promote the war in Iraq.

Jan 07 07:38

US Coalition Shoots Down Drone Aimed at Base in Iraq as Attacks Continue

For the fourth day in a row, a base housing US troops in Iraq came under fire. The US-led coalition in Iraq shot down a drone that was heading towards the Ain al-Asad airbase, which is located to the west of Baghdad.

US troops in Syria have also come under attack in recent days. On Wednesday, rockets were fired at the Green Village base in eastern Syria, which the US responded to by firing artillery at the area the US says the attacks were launched from.

There have been no casualties reported, but the incidents in Iraq and Syria mark a significant uptick in attacks on US forces in the region. The attacks came after the US formally changed its role in Iraq from a combat mission to an advisory one.

Jan 06 13:22

Iran’s top negotiator: S Korea must release Iran's frozen assets regardless of Vienna talks

The top Iranian negotiator to the ongoing negotiations in the Austrian capital on the removal of Iran sanctions has met with South Korea’s deputy foreign minister in Vienna to discuss release of Tehran's frozen assets in Seoul.

Ali Bagheri Kani, who is also Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said in the meeting held with Choi Jong-kun on Thursday that regardless of the outcome of the talks in Vienna, the South Korean government is obliged to unfreeze Iran's frozen funds, stressing that unilateral US sanctions cannot justify the non-payment of Seoul’s debts to Tehran.

"The South Korean government is obliged to release Iran's blocked assets, and unilateral US sanctions cannot justify non-payment of debts to Iran," he said.

Jan 06 07:05

Tony Blair: Iraqis 'disgusted' at knighthood being offered to war architect

Iraqi campaigners and politicians have expressed their "disgust" at the decision by the British government to award a knighthood to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, citing his involvement in the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

The anger comes as a petition launched in the UK calling for the former Labour leader to have the honour withdrawn reached over 700,000 signatures.

Blair has been accused of war crimes over his role in the invasion of Iraq, which toppled longtime ruler Saddam Hussein and led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, widespread internecine violence and ongoing instability in Iraq and beyond.

Jan 05 14:50

US Bases In Both Iraq & Syria Under Fresh Rocket Attacks

During the week of the Jan.3rd second anniversary of the 2020 killing by US drone strike of IRGC commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, there's been a spate of attacks on bases where American troops are stationed in Iraq and Syria. On Wednesday there's been three consecutive attacks so far.

As ABC News details, "Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq's western Anbar province and the capital of Baghdad were hit by Katyusha rockets Wednesday while in Syria, eight rounds of indirect fire landed inside a base with members of the U.S.-led coalition, the Iraqi and U.S. militaries said."

Jan 05 07:57

BOMBSHELL: Tony Blair’s Defense Secretary Was Ordered To Burn Secret Memo That Iraq War Could Be Illegal

A campaign to strip former prime minister Tony Blair of his knighthood received a boost over night following damning allegations from his own defense secretary Geoff Hoon.

Jan 05 06:57

The damning truth about Tony Blair's war: His own defence secretary reveals in new memoir an order to burn memo on legality of Iraq invasion. So how can the former Prime Minister be worthy of honour, asks SIMON WALTERS

He was defence secretary as Britain edged towards war – which means Geoff Hoon had a front-row seat for the most controversial moments in Sir Tony’s premiership. His new memoir reveals astonishing insights about the conflict in Iraq... and raises more troubling questions about his former boss’s knighthood.

Downing Street’s orders to ‘burn’ legal advice

Mr Hoon, then defence secretary, says No 10 ordered him to ‘burn’ secret legal advice from Sir Tony’s attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, which said the Iraq war could be illegal.

When the claim first emerged in 2015, the former PM said it was ‘nonsense’ – but Mr Hoon insists in his book, See How They Run, that the order was delivered by Sir Tony’s No 10 chief of staff Jonathan Powell. Mr Hoon defied the order and made sure the advice was locked in a safe at the Ministry of Defence.

Jan 05 06:55

Tony Blair's Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says he was told to BURN secret memo that said Iraq war could be illegal in incendiary revelation that will fuel campaign to strip former PM of knighthood

The campaign to strip Tony Blair of his knighthood was boosted last night by devastating allegations from his own defence secretary.

Geoff Hoon says he was ordered by Downing Street to burn a secret memo that said the 2003 invasion of Iraq could be illegal.

When the claim emerged in 2015, Sir Tony said it was 'nonsense'. But Mr Hoon, who was in charge of defence when the war started, insists the allegation was true and he has now given a sensational blow-by-blow account of a No 10 'cover-up'.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The petition to strip Blair of his knighthood is close to 600,000 now.

Dec 29 08:13

US DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TO ALLOCATE $260 MILLION FOR PESHMERGA FORCES

US President Joe Biden on Monday (December 28) signed his country's defense budget bill for 2022, which would allocate $260 million for Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and $177 million for Syrian Kurds and another force called al-Thawra.

The Voice of America published a report and said Biden's signature directly makes the project lawful. In other words, the Department of Defense (DOD) can start spending the $771 billion allocated to it next year.

This time, the Pentagon’s budget will increase by five percent due to inflation. The budget of defense department employees will increase by 2.7 percent next year.

Details of how the budget will be spent in the Middle East have been published in a DOD appendix. and it is written $5 million will be allocated to the Peshmerga to buy Puma drones.

AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is an American company in California that builds drones for spying or data collection, not attacking.

More money for Peshmerga, less for Baghdad

Webmaster's Commentary: 

While American veterans sleep on American streets!

Dec 28 10:02

Iraq Supreme Court Rejects Challenge, Ratifies October Vote

Iraq’s Supreme Court has rejected the last challenges to the October election, and certified the final results. This ends months of political in-fighting, and will allow competitive parties

October’s vote saw Moqtada al-Sadr’s party winning the largest plurality. Most parties did roughly as expected. The Fatah Party, which is dominated by Shi’ite militias, did very poorly.

Fatah claimed there was fraud, and continued to test the results right up until today, when the court spurned their challenge. There doesn’t seem to be a path for a new challenge either.

Iran is allied with the militias, and recently admonished them to stop challenging and move forward. Iran prioritizes stability in Iraq, and there’s little to be done after a decisive election defeat.

Dec 21 11:45

Airstrikes allowed America to wage war with minimal risk to its troops.

Three days later, on the evening of March 5, Abdul Aziz heard the explosions, maybe a dozen in all. They came from the direction of his brother’s house. He wanted to see what happened, but because bombings were often accompanied by a second round of missiles, he waited. Later, when he approached the block, he saw the flames and fire consuming what was once his brother’s home. “The place was flattened,” he told me when I first met him, nearly four years later. “It was just rocks and destruction. There was fire everywhere.” They returned at dawn, with blankets to carry the dead. “We searched for our relatives,” he told me, “picking them up piece by piece and wrapping them.”

Dec 20 06:27

China moves in on Iraq, but not like America did

China signed a deal to build 1,000 schools across Iraq shortly after the US announced the end of its combat mission in the country, having left over a million Iraqis dead.

Under the deal signed last week with the Iraqi government, the Power China company will build 679 schools and Sino Tech will construct the remaining 321.

This news comes in the context of a diminishing American role in Iraq, with the US having just announced an end to its “combat mission” in the country and a transfer of its forces – about 2,500 soldiers plus an additional 1,000 coalition troops – to an “advisory role” despite calls to fully withdraw.

Perhaps there’s no better juxtaposition for how the US and China conduct their foreign relations than these parallel developments in Iraq.

Dec 17 13:50

US Bracing for Fresh Attacks on Troops in Iraq as Soleimani Assassination Anniversary Nears

The US assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020 after claiming that he was behind a deadly rocket attack against US troops. Iraqi officials later concluded that Daesh (ISIS)* was likely behind the attacks, and said that Soleimani was in Baghdad on a peace mission.

The United States is bracing for possible revenge attacks against US forces in Iraq on the upcoming second anniversary of Qasem Soleimani's killing, a senior administration official has said.

"Since July we've had about five months of calm, the longest period of calm we've had in Iraq I think in three years. We're looking for that to continue but of course we very much anticipate heading into the first part of next year...there's the anniversary of the Soleimani strike, there's Iraq's government formation process and a few other milestones," the official said in a conference call Friday.

Dec 17 08:50

The U.S. built a hospital for Iraqi children with cancer. Corruption ravaged it.

Basra’s Children’s Hospital was meant to be the best. After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, first lady Laura Bush took a personal interest in its establishment as a world-class hospital for children with cancer, and the U.S. government spent more than $100 million toward its completion.

Eighteen years later, the hospital is a casualty of an Iraqi health-care system so riddled with corruption and damaged by neglect that World Bank figures put it among the region’s worst. After decades of war and sanctions battered the medical sector, today an army of crooks is robbing Iraqis of their aspirations for a healthy life, acknowledge former and current Iraqi officials.

Count 15-year-old Hussein Sami as one of the victims. From his bed in the oncology ward, he watched the doctor examining his medical chart. The physician’s face quivered momentarily as he tapped his finger on the section he was looking for.

Dec 10 08:46

US Formally Ends Combat Mission in Iraq, But No Troops are Leaving

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the formal end to the US combat mission in Iraq, but all 2,500 troops that are currently in the country will stay in an advisory role.

The Biden administration agreed with Iraq back in July to end the US combat mission by the end of this year, and it was clear when the announcement was made that US troops would stay and nothing would really change.

The Iraqi government has been under pressure to expel the US since January 2020, when the US killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad. In the wake of the assassination, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to kick the US out.

Dec 01 07:57

Iraq Election Commission Affirms Sadr Bloc’s Victory

Bringing the reporting on Iraq’s October 10 election full circle, the Independent Election Commission has issued final results after a full manual recount. The figures are broadly the same as were reported a month and a half ago.

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party remains victorious with 73 seats. The Sunni Taqaddum came in second at 37, with Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law at 33, and the Kurdish Democrats at 31. Fatah, the party of Shi’ite militias, remained a distant 17 seats.

This is the result given after the vote and before the recount. When Fatah refused to accept the results and threatened violence, the commission temporarily shifted the results to 70 for Sadr and wiped out a number of independents to try to boost Fatah.

Nov 30 15:30

Iraqi Political Groups Reportedly Seek to Forge Bloc in Push to Drive US Forces From Country

Washington and Baghdad agreed in July that the US combat forces will be withdrawn from the Middle Eastern country by 31 December 2021, with the remaining American personnel only remaining to play "a training, advising, assisting, and intelligence-sharing role."

A group of Iraqi political parties has called for the formation of an alliance to push American forces out of the country by the promised 31 December deadline, Press TV reported, citing Fadel Jaber, a member of the Sadeqoun coalition in Parliament.
According to Jaber, the prolonged presence of US forces in the country risks creating divisions in Iraqi society. His comments come as several observers reportedly voiced concerns that Washington actually has no intention of leaving the Middle Eastern nation.

Nov 24 08:00

NATO intensifies development of Iraqi proxy army

The Commander of NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) held the first Force Structure Planning Working Group on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021 at the Ministry of Defence M5 Planning Directorate in Baghdad.

Commander Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard assured the audience, of Iraqi planning officers, of NATO’s strong commitment to working with the Ministry of Defence….

“Our efforts together will make the Iraqi Security Forces better able to defend Iraq,” said Lieutenant General Lollesgaard.

In attendance was the Iraqi Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, underscoring the collaborative relationship between NATO and the Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Nov 24 07:21

Defying Militias, US Troops Will Stay in Iraq Beyond Dec. 31

US combat operations in Iraq are scheduled to end December 31. Rumors had been circulating that this would be extended, with Iraq’s military insisting that is absolutely not true, and December 31 is set.

That settles that, until the US chimes in. The Pentagon told Newsweek that US troops will absolutely remain in Iraq beyond the end of December.

Iraqi militia groups were threatening to move against the US if they try to stay beyond the December date. Iraq’s army sought to reassure them this wouldn’t happen.

The Pentagon, it seems, put the conflict back on track. While the Pentagon always drags its feet on a drawdown, its not clear why they’d go out of their way to needle the militias about the occupation.

Nov 22 09:22

Iraq Resistance Warns It's Ready to Expel U.S. by Force at End of Year

A group of Iraqi militias has issued a warning that they were prepared to take up arms against the U.S. military presence in Iraq if U.S. troops stayed in the country past the upcoming year's end deadline for combat operations revealed over the summer by President Joe Biden.

In a statement issued Friday and shared with Newsweek, the Iraqi Resistance Coordination Commission, an umbrella of paramilitary groups aligned with the pro-Iran Axis of Resistance opposed to the U.S. footprint in the region, said its members were "closely monitoring the extent of commitment to the outcomes of the so-called strategic dialogue round" that took place between Washington and Baghdad in July.

Nov 22 07:26

Iraq: Army Denies Claim US Withdrawal Date Extended

It’s a time of uncertainty in Iraq. Rumors are flying that the government is planning to postpone the US pullout, but the Iraqi army insisted Saturday that this is not the case.

The army spokesman says the pullout date for US combat forces was, and is, December 31. Intentions from Iraqi officials are that this is a fixed date, and not subject to change.

The rumors had been so persistent that one faction was seeking to raise volunteers to begin fighting the US forces if they stay on into 2022. The army insists this is unnecessary, and that the US will be gone by then.

The US invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003. Since then they’ve had variable troop levels, at times on the decline only to rapidly accelerate when a new situation, like the ISIS war, developed.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Is President Brandon going to botch Iraq the way he did Afghanistan?

Nov 22 07:25

Distraught Yazidi genocide survivors return from Belarus to Kurdistan

Around 430 would-be migrants arrived in the cities of Erbil and Baghdad in Iraq on Thursday evening, some covering their faces as their arrival was met by dozens of journalists at the Erbil International Airport (EIA).

Among them were mentally distraught Yazidi genocide survivors, who had been living in displacement camps in Iraqi Kurdistan before making their way to Europe.

An estimated 4,000 people were stuck on the Belarus-Poland border for weeks while attempting to cross into the European Union, until Minsk, in coordination with Iraqi authorities, moved to return a number of them.

Nov 20 06:37

Iraqi Cleric Sadr Says He Is Dissolving Armed Faction Loyal to Him

Powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Friday he was dissolving the Promised Day Brigade, an armed faction loyal to him, and closing its headquarters, according to a statement published on his Twitter page.

On Thursday, Sadr urged paramilitary groups to purge what he called undisciplined members, and said non-state armed groups should hand in their weapons.

Nov 19 06:05

Iraqi Shiite cleric calls on pro-Iran militias to disband, join new government

Iraq’s influential Shiite cleric who emerged as a winner in last month’s general elections on Thursday called on the country’s myriad pro-Iran Shiite armed factions to disband if they want to join his upcoming government.

Muqtada al-Sadr also asked the factions to hand over their weapons to the government-sanctioned umbrella known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). In turn, he also asked the PMF to “purify” its ranks from “undisciplined elements” and surrender “corrupt individuals” to the judiciary.

The militias are certain to reject the demands, which in turn could complicate al-Sadr’s efforts to form a government after the vote. It could also increase tensions between Shiites who support the pro-Iran factions and al-Sadr’s own followers.

Oct 28 06:39

Turkish Parliament Extends Syria, Iraq Missions by Two Years

On Tuesday, Turkey’s parliament voted to extend their military mandate for cross-border operations in Iraq and Syria. This authorized two more years of operations.

Turkey has been operating in Iraq for decades, and in Syria throughout the Syrian War. In both cases, the operations center almost exclusively on attacking Kurdish groups, who they label “terrorists.”

Syria’s YPG has been expecting another Turkish incursion on them in the lead-up to this vote. Turkey’s President Erdogan is again talking up these operations, saying there is “no patience left” for the YPG, who he labeled “a source of terror attacks.”

Oct 26 10:54

Will The Disastrous Withdrawal From Afghanistan Also Happen In Iraq?

Over the last few months, the world has been watching the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan and what followed in the aftermath - the violent takeover by the Taliban and a massive U-turn on human rights for all, especially women. Over the coming months, the US will be withdrawing its remaining troops from Iraq, currently standing at around 2,500. The withdrawal may also turn ugly and that the old threats may resurface. Indeed, the UN assesses that there are approximately 10,000 Daesh fighters in Syria and Iraq combined. The UN has warned that Daesh has been using the Covid-19 crisis to re-group and consolidate power in the region once again. Once the US withdraws completely, Daesh fighters may use the limbo to try to increase its power and influence in the territories as before.

Oct 26 06:17

NATO continues building proxy army in Iraq

In August 2021, a NATO Building Integrity (BI) team, in cooperation with NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) and Allied Joint Force Command Naples (JFCN), concluded the BI train-the-trainers programme for the Ministerial Training and Development Centre (MTDC) of the Ministry of Defence of Iraq.

Iraqi partners were able to expand their network of contacts and learn from the experience and good practices of other countries since representatives from the ministries of defence of Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom participated in the programme….

The three-month programme culminated in the certificate handover ceremony, which was held on 3 August in Baghdad under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Mr Jabbar Thajeel Mutalak Al-Haidari; the Director of the Ministerial Training and Development Center, Mr Ali Hassoun; the representative of the Secretary General, Adel Al-Fartousi; and the Commander of NATO Mission Iraq, Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard.

Oct 25 08:05

Muqtada al-Sadr: Iraq’s kingmaker in uncertain times

Muqtada al-Sadr remains one of Iraq’s most influential political figures and plays a pivotal role when it comes to the country’s future. He is currently considered the kingmaker, but it remains unclear if he can form a government with stability.

In the latest elections, al-Sadr’s party obtained 70 of a total of 329 parliamentary seats – a significant increase compared with the result of 2018, when his movement won 54 seats.

Oct 25 06:59

Once Upon a Time in Iraq

There are no good international conflicts, but the US invasion of Iraq has to be the most disastrous in living memory.

Britain provided the mudguard for this operation and the ultimately unfruitful search for “weapons of mass destruction” began in March 2003.

The US didn't have much of a plan for what would happen after they got rid of Saddam Hussein and when a decision was taken to stand down the (admittedly corrupt) police and army and stand by as looters destroyed hospitals, museums, the central bank and all the infrastructure of government, there was no way back.

Iraq descended into a tribal and religious conflict and a partial resistance to the US invasion. Iran, a long time enemy of Saddam, intervened to pursue its interests and Syrian became the main smuggling route for the remnants of Al-Qaeda.

The consequences for the entire region are obvious.

Oct 20 07:54

COLIN POWELL WAS A NICE MAN WHO HELPED DESTROY IRAQ

His contemporaries in the U.S. cannot find enough words of praise. “Colin Powell was the North Star to a generation of senior American military officers including me,” wrote retired Adm. James Stavridis. For Richard Haass, who heads the Council on Foreign Relations, Powell was “the most intellectually honest person I ever met.”

It’s a different story in Iraq, where millions of people likely share the sentiments of Muntadher Alzaidi, who memorably threw his shoes at George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference in Baghdad. Reacting to Powell’s death, Alzaidi expressed sadness only over the fact that he did not face a war crimes trial for his pivotal role in the invasion of Iraq. “I am sure that the court of God will be waiting for him,” Alzaidi wrote on Twitter.

Oct 18 10:39

REMEMBERING THE GENOCIDER: COLIN POWELL

During the summer of 1991 I was contacted on behalf of several Mothers in Iraq whose children were dying at astounding rates because of the genocidal economic sanctions that had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August of 1990 at the behest of the Bush Senior administration. They requested that I do something in order to save these innocent children from perishing in agony in front of their mothers’ very own eyes. Using the format of the Writ for World Habeas Corpus that had been previously provided to me by my friend and colleague, the late Luis Kutner, Esq.

Oct 18 06:21

Iraq’s Sadr Lays Out Conditions for Dealing With US

Influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Safr is in a good place, with the election giving his party a strong plurality. With high hopes for governance, Sadr is setting out the conditions by which the next government should deal with the United States.

Sadr was fairly straightforward, saying diplomacy needs to be “state-to-state with full sovereignty” with comments on Twitter. He’s long made the idea of an Iraqi state standing up for its sovereignty a major goal.

The US is emphasized because that’s the most safely popular position within Iraq, though Sadr has long advocated independence on the international stage, which will include not just the US, but influential regional powers like Iran as well.

Oct 16 06:18

Despite efforts to silence him, Muqtada al-Sadr has emerged as the most important political figure in modern Iraqi history

The Shiite scholar and politician staunchly opposes US and Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs and has condemned as corrupt those Iraqi politicians who were on the respective payrolls of those two nations.

For many outside observers of Iraq’s recent national elections, the results disappoint for two reasons. First, only 41% of the 22 million eligible voters turned out. Second, of the 329 parliamentary seats to be filled by candidates selected in the election, the Sadrist Party, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, won 73. No other party came close – a Sunni coalition won 43, a competing Shia coalition fronted by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won 41, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by Masoud Barzani, won 32.

Oct 11 10:08

Iraq elections 2021: Disenchanted non-voters make up biggest constituency

Many people turned out on Sunday to take part in Iraq's fifth election since the overthrow of former ruler Saddam Hussein by US forces in 2003.

However, with early participation results emerging, it seems that the majority of the country chose to stay at home.

In a cafe in Baghdad's central Karrada district, one group of men decided that playing cards, smoking shisha and drinking coffee was a better use of their time than taking part in what they saw as a corrupt and useless political process.

Oct 10 07:32

CTE Kuwaiti baby incubator lies Barry Zwicker

Oct 05 05:41

The Amen Corner Strikes Again

Once upon a time the Israel Lobby destroyed critics of the Jewish state and its behavior by stealth. If a Congressman or Senator were speaking honestly about the lopsided relationship with Israel which required suppressing, it was done by making sure that individual was not reelected. This was normally accomplished by vetting an attractive opposition primary candidate who would do Israel’s bidding, funding him or her generously and providing unfavorable press coverage of the incumbent.

Sep 28 11:37

With militarised media as a weapon of mass deception, what is the plan?

Fernando Guevara argues that mainstream media, the police and other "civilian institutions", have become militarised. "Even on the internet, algorithms are re-set to catch what suits Zionists/Israel, while a lot of what sheds light on their terror is simply removed/de-platformed.">>

Sep 28 05:44

Massive Plume of Smoke Reportedly Spotted Rising From Major US Base in Iraq - Video

In July, Iraq and the US reached an agreement on the pullout of all American combat forces from the Middle Eastern nation by the end of the year. The agreement followed over a year-and-a-half of negotiations, and dozens of militia attacks on US forces. Some Baghdad-allied Shia militias have warned that they won't rest until all US troops are gone.

A correspondent from Al Mayadeen news, a Lebanese pan-Arabist satellite television, has filmed footage of a huge black plume of smoke reportedly billowing from the Camp Victory military base outside Baghdad, where US troops are thought to be stationed.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Another one we lost.

Sep 23 06:49

George W. Bush Confronted by Iraq War Veteran in Beverly Hills

Sep 22 07:17

George W. Bush Confronted by Iraq War Veteran in Beverly Hills

George W. Bush was confronted by Iraq War veteran Mike Prysner, while he was speaking at an event in Beverly Hills over the weekend.

Sep 21 07:26

US deploying 2,000 troops to Iraq for nine month period: Report

The United States is deploying around 2,000 troops to Iraq despite Washington announcing plans to end its combat mission in the country, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Soldiers from the Fourth Infantry Division will replace the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Louisiana army National Guard for a nine month period and become the primary US force for the entire country.

The Gazette, a local Colorado news outlet, reported that the soldiers will provide security and protection, assist and advise Iraqi security forces, provide air defences against attacks and train partner forces in the country.

Pentagon spokesperson Commander Jessica L McNulty told MEE that the Fourth Infantry Division unit's deployment to relieve a departing unit was a "part of a normal rotation of units" to support the continuity of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, a task force set up to coordinate operations against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Sep 21 07:01

'You lied': Iraq war veteran shouts down George Bush

"You sent me to Iraq. You sent me to Iraq in 2003. My friends are dead. Jesuit Castile...you kill people, you lied, you lied about WMD, a million Iraqis are dead because you lied. My friends are dead because you lied. You need to apologize. Apologize."

Sep 16 06:37

Scores of US Vessels With ‘Stolen Syrian Oil’ Leave Arab Republic for Iraq, Report Says

Earlier this year, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby argued that the US military presence in north-eastern Syria is aimed at ensuring the “enduring defeat” of Daesh* terrorists, and that Washington is not involved in exploiting the region’s oil resources.

A convoy of 70 US vehicles, including tankers loaded with “stolen Syrian oil”, have made their way out of north-eastern Syria into Iraq via the al-Waleed border crossing, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has reported.

The Syrian government does not have any control over the al-Waleed border crossing and therefore deems it illegal.

Sep 16 06:07

Top US Generals Blatantly Lied About Afghanistan and Iraq Wars To Advance Their Careers

According to the Pentagon’s annual reports on military justice, there have been more than 1.3 million cases of discipline in the US military since 2001, mostly relating to the so-called "War on Terror." But as The Intercept highlighted, the generals who misled Congress and the American public about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not only avoided repercussions after conducting a disinformation campaign for 20 years, but were instead rewarded for their deceivingly positive assessments. "When they retired with generous military pensions, they landed high-paying jobs on corporate boards, further profiting from their disingenuousness," Peter Maass wrote in The Intercept.

Sep 15 05:01

Drones, Likely Israeli, Attack Militia Sites on Iraq-Syria Border

A fleet of drones of as-yet-unidentified origin have carried out attacks on Shi’ite militia targets along the Syria-Iraq border. The early reports from Iraq were that the casualties were only on the Syrian side.

The militias in question are holdovers from the ISIS war, anti-ISIS forces that fought on both sides of the border. The US is hostile to the militia, but was quick to deny involvement in the attack. Israel has commonly launched attacks in this area, and there is ample speculation that they are the culprit.

Media reports, particularly Israeli reports, try to spin these militias as Iranian, even though in practice they are nearly all based in Iraq. Apart from increasingly rare engagements against ISIS, the groups are mostly targeted by Israel and/or the US.

Sep 15 04:55

Will US contractor CACI finally be punished for Abu Ghraib torture?

Who could possibly forget the infamous dog leash photo? The human pyramid? The female soldier posing with a “thumbs up” in front of a dead Iraqi prisoner?

The names Lynddie England, Janice Karpinksi and Charles Granier became synonymous with the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. But we know now that those who directed the torture from the Pentagon, who set the conditions on the ground in that prison, were never held truly accountable. The only ones who did time were the low ranking National Guardsmen and intelligence officers. Then-Brigadier Gen. Karpinski (who didn’t go to jail but was relieved of her command and was demoted in rank) was clearly the scapegoat among the top brass.

Sep 14 06:55

Saigon 1975, Kabul 2021, Baghdad 2024?

Washington’s reputation as an effective imperial power experienced another humiliating setback in August with the implosion of the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. The sight of helicopters urgently ferrying American diplomats from the embassy to the Hamid Karzai International Airport (named after an earlier U.S. Afghan puppet) was all too reminiscent of the chaos in Saigon when Washington’s client regime collapsed in April 1975. So, too, was the emotionally wrenching scene at that airport when desperate Afghans clung to the fuselage of a departing evacuation aircraft.

Sep 13 13:04

Drone attack targets Erbil International Airport hosting US-led coalition forces, multiple explosions reported

Footage from witnesses has captured multiple explosions at the Erbil International Airport in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The blasts were apparently from a drone strike targeting the airport, which is used by the US-led coalition.

Local media reported, citing Kurdistan Region’s Directorate of Counter Terrorism (CTD), that “explosive-laden drones” targeted the air hub, which is hosting US forces that are part of the multinational coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Iraq.

Sep 13 08:19

America's forever foreign policy debate: Groupthink recipe for perpetual disasters

Lawrence Davidson argues that the confinement of debate over the course of Washington's foreign policy to insiders dooms the US to repeat its foreign fiascos and renders such policy "the product of the desires of dominant lobbies pursuing parochial interests".

Sep 13 07:04

Military Contractor Claims It's Not Liable in Abu Ghraib Case

A military contractor being sued for alleged complicity in the torture of inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison argued Friday that recent Supreme Court cases make clear it can't be held liable for misconduct that occurred overseas, but a judge was skeptical.

CACI, a Virginia-based contractor that supplied interrogators at the infamous prison, is seeking to have the 13-year-old lawsuit dismissed. The most recent legal debate centers on the extent to which U.S. companies can be sued for international conduct.

In recent years, the Supreme Court has restricted corporations' potential liability. Most recently, the high court tossed out a civil suit against a subsidiary of chocolate maker Nestle after it was accused of complicity in child slavery on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast.

Sep 01 06:06

Iraq Monthly Roundup: 68 Killed During August

During August, at least 68 people were killed, and 110 were wounded. Eight bodies were recovered from a mass grave. These numbers are considerably and fortunately lower than July’s casualty figures.

Militant-related violence left 29 dead and 99 wounded. At least 27 civilians, 35 security personnel, and 21 militants were killed in the violence. The wounded consisted of 37 civilians, 58 security personnel, and four militants.

In the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.), at least 36 people were killed and eight more were wounded. Among them, 10 Turkish soldiers were killed, and two more were wounded. The P.K.K. and affiliated groups lost 18 members. There were also collateral casualties that included civilians and militia security personnel not involved in the conflict. Among them were eight dead and six wounded. These figures only include casualties that occurring in Iraqi territory.

Aug 31 05:21

Iraq is 'fraud-proofing' its upcoming elections, says official

Preparations for Iraq's upcoming parliamentary elections include fraud-proof voter biometric identification cards and German-printed ballot papers, the chair of the country's electoral commission said on Sunday.

The biometric cards require three sets of fingerprints, Electoral Commission chair Jalil Adnan told state television, six weeks before the elections are due to take place.

Adnan said that 17 million of the biometric cards, which voters will need to vote, have been printed, but millions are still without the ID.

The electoral commission has put the number of voters registered for the 10 October elections at over 24 million, almost all of Iraq's adult population.

Aug 30 09:27

The world is experiencing a massive, "Globalist" red pill awakening.

After 20 years, 10 Trillion Dollars, thousands of American deaths, loss of limbs, chronic PTSD, depression, military families torn apart and multiple daily suicides...we are now worse off than before 9.11.

The criminal Globalists, from George Bush to Barack Obama and everyone in between (to include the current occupant in the White House), have shown the world they abandon our allies and befriend our enemies all while getting rich off our blood and endangering our security while creating the world's first Islamic Super State in Afghanistan. Additionally, they're airlifting in countless "refugees" (terrorists) to conduct more 9/11s on our soil.

AWAKE YET? Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

Aug 27 13:00

Report: Israel to call on US not to withdraw forces from Iraq, Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will today call on the US President Joe Biden not to withdraw American forces from Iraq and Syria, Israeli media reported.

Bennett was scheduled to meet with Biden yesterday on his first visit to the White House as prime minister, but the meeting was postponed after an explosion at Kabul airport, Afghanistan, killed ten US service members.

An official source told the Hebrew website Wallah that Bennett believes that an American withdrawal from Syria and Iraq "could serve Iran and enhance its presence in the region."

Pressure increased in recent weeks on the Iraqi government, both from Iran and from the forces loyal to the Islamic Republic, to expel US forces in the country. Iraq's parliament had voted for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country following the January 2020 assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike near the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Aug 25 07:43

Turkey Carries Out Airstrikes in Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkey’s Defense Ministry announced a flurry of attacks against Iraqi Kurdistan on Tuesday morning. The strikes hit the Suleimani Province, near the Iran-Iraq border.

Turkey claimed to be attacking “terrorist” targets, adding that a heavy blow was dealt. The mayor of the area reported that there was not much damage from attacks targeting farmlands, but that there were a lot of frightened farmers in the area.

Turkey has been attacking PKK targets in Iraq recently. They didn’t elaborate on targets today beyond “terrorists,” which is generally Turkish government shorthand for Kurds.

Aug 20 10:52

Iraqi Militia Says There Will Be an ‘Appropriate Response’ If All US Troops Don’t Leave

A spokesman for an Iraqi Shia militia said in an interview with Rudaw Sunday that there will be an “appropriate response” if all US troops don’t leave Iraq. At the end of July, President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced the US will end its “combat” mission in Iraq by the end of 2021, but troops are expected to stay in the country under an advisory role.

“The talks that took place between Baghdad and Washington, and the outcomes they produced, did not achieve the Iraqi ambition, which is the exit of all US forces,” said Sheikh Kadhim al-Fartousi, a spokesman for Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a militia under the umbrella of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Iraq has learned a lesson from the US defeat in Afghanistan; that the US forces just aren't that formidable.

Aug 16 13:03

Meanwhile In Iraq... Islamic State Attacks Kirkuk Oil Field

An attack with an explosive device on an oil field in the northern Iraqi region of Kirkuk was blamed on Islamic State militants, according to an unnamed source who spoke to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

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No damage was done to the field, Bai Hassan, according to the source.

Earlier this year, suspected Islamic State militants blew up two oil wells at the Bai Hassan field, killing at least one security officer and setting the oil wells ablaze.

Aug 14 06:43

Whites Made Up 85% of US Soldiers Who Died in Afghanistan

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is the war in Afghanistan.

Note: By the way, the very low percentage for Hispanics has me worried that the military might be counting Hispanics different from the way most of the federal government counts Hispanics, rather like lots of police departments are out of sync with the now standard way which is to treat Hispanic ethnicity as overruling race. Maybe the military is only counting as Hispanic people who don’t put down a different race such as white or black?

So that 85% white figure might include some Hispanics who identify as racially white.

Also, men did 97.9% of the dying for the U.S. in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, whites made up 82.6% of the dead American soldiers:

Aug 06 05:41

US Military Report Warns ISIS Will Operate "Indefinitely"

The US military published a quarterly report on ISIS to Congress on Tuesday that said the group is a "low-level" threat but warned it could operate "indefinitely" in the remote deserts of Syria.

The US presence in Iraq and Syria is under the umbrella of the US-led anti-ISIS coalitions. Washington does not want to give up its occupation of either country, so even though ISIS no longer holds significant territory, the US military has an interest in inflating the threat from the group.

"Coalition partners in Iraq and Syria continued to rely on Coalition support to conduct operations, and ISIS remained entrenched as a low-level insurgency," the Pentagon’s inspector general wrote in an introduction to the report.

Webmaster's Commentary: 





Aug 05 06:58

A dream that died in the dust: Twenty years after the War on Terror began, the West is abandoning Afghanistan and Iraq is still in chaos. What a bitter legacy, paid for in blood, writes DOMINIC SANDBROOK

The scene is only too familiar. On the dusty plains of Afghanistan, a trail of refugees heads for the beleaguered capital. On the streets of Kabul, a car bomb outside the home of the defence minister kills eight people.

In the western city of Herat, people huddle in their homes as enemy rockets pound down. And in the southern province of Helmand — where hundreds of British servicemen lost their lives in recent years — dozens of civilian bodies lie rotting on the country roads.

Such is the news from Afghanistan, where the resurgent Taliban have made extraordinary gains in recent days. Across much of the country, their white flag now flies unchecked.

You might be forgiven for thinking you've read this all before. It's a quarter of a century since the Taliban swept to power in much of Afghanistan, imposing a hideously oppressive Islamist regime that treated women as slaves and banned films, TV, music and dancing.

Aug 04 11:27

Breaking: IED attack on US convoy in Iraq

A logistical convoy of the US military was attacked by resistance groups in the al-Batha area west of the city of Naseriyah in Dhi Qar province.

The Qasim al-Jabbarin resistance group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Aug 03 13:05

US to return 17,000 ancient artifacts looted and smuggled out of Iraq after invasion

The United States is returning more than 17,000 ancient artifacts looted and smuggled out of Iraq after the US invasion in 2003, including a 3,500-year-old clay tablet bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Iraq said on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of antiquities disappeared from Iraq after the 2003 invasion that toppled leader Saddam Hussein. Many more were smuggled or destroyed by the iconoclastic ISIS group, which held a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017 before it was defeated by Iraqi and international forces.

US authorities working to recover the artifacts recently reached an agreement with Baghdad to return items seized from dealers and museums in the United States, the Iraqi culture and foreign ministries said.

Aug 03 11:53

US to return 17,000 ancient artifacts looted and smuggled out of Iraq after invasion

The United States is returning more than 17,000 ancient artifacts looted and smuggled out of Iraq after the US invasion in 2003, including a 3,500-year-old clay tablet bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Iraq said on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of antiquities disappeared from Iraq after the 2003 invasion that toppled leader Saddam Hussein. Many more were smuggled or destroyed by the iconoclastic ISIS group, which held a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017 before it was defeated by Iraqi and international forces.

US authorities working to recover the artifacts recently reached an agreement with Baghdad to return items seized from dealers and museums in the United States, the Iraqi culture and foreign ministries said.

Aug 03 10:12

Full withdrawal from Iraq best serves America’s interests

After a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhami on Monday, President Biden announced that U.S. troops are not “going to be in a combat zone by the end of the year.” Instead, he explained, the U.S. military’s role will shift to being “available, to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises.” In other words, virtually the only thing that will change is the title placed on the troops.

That’s bad news for America.

Before leaving Baghdad, Mr. Kadhimi was unequivocal in saying that his troops could secure their own country. “There is no need,” Mr. Kadhimi declared, “for any foreign combat forces on Iraqi soil.” Both Biden and Kadhimi seem to be emphasizing the word “combat” in that sentence, as there appear no problems for either leader in having U.S. uniformed service members on Iraqi soil so long as they are called “training” troops.

Jul 31 08:12

On Paper, Biden Is Ending the U.S. Combat Mission in Iraq. He's Actually Leaving American Troops in Danger.

In a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq would draw to a close by the year's end. At face value, the move sounds much like Biden's push to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by August 31.

But the devil's in the details, and a closer look reveals that these troops won't be leaving Iraq. Rather, the Pentagon and other administration officials say they will remove a small number of the 2,500 American soldiers in Iraq, and will reclassify on paper the roles of those who remain. They won't be fighting anymore; they'll be "training and advising" the Iraqi Security Forces. When quizzed, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wouldn't say how many American troops would stay in Iraq—signaling that there may not even be a meaningful drawdown, let alone a full departure.

Jul 29 06:15

US Embassy in Baghdad Reportedly Targeted By Two Katyusha Rockets

The reported strike was launched a few weeks after at least six Katyusha rockets hit a military air base housing US-led coalition forces in the western Iraqi province of Anbar.

The US Embassy in Baghdad has been targeted by two Katyusha rockets, the AFP news agency cited unnamed security sources as saying on Thursday. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The reported strike, which allegedly hit Baghdad's Green Zone, was launched a few weeks after at least six Katyusha rockets hit a military air base housing US-led coalition forces in the western Iraqi province of Anbar.

Over the past few months, the Iraqi military bases housing US troops across the country, as well as the US Embassy in Baghdad have been repeatedly targeted by mortar and rocket attacks, which Washington claims are the work of militant groups backed by Iran.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Or maybe it's the Iraqi people telling the US to get out!

Jul 29 06:10

Biden’s deal to end the US combat mission in Iraq is just window dressing to give the illusion of an end to that ‘forever war’

Washington’s agreement to cease ‘direct fighting’ is a long way from a troop withdrawal. The reality is, America has no intention of pulling out of Iraq anytime soon as it is far too important to their real aim of containing Iran.
Iraq is a nation steeped in American controversy, epitomising the country’s catastrophic 21st century obsession with ‘regime change’. One wonders when America will cut its losses and leave the Middle East nation alone. Recently, there’s been some hope they might withdraw, with the Biden administration appearing to sympathise with the growing political sentiment against ‘forever wars’. Following a visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to DC, Washington and Baghdad on Monday signed a deal to “end” the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year. But, as ever with American military intervention, many questions still remain.

Jul 29 05:27

3rd political group quits Oct. parliamentary elections in Iraq

The Iraqi National Dialogue Front announced on Wednesday its withdrawal from the parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 10.

It is the third political group, after Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc and the Iraqi Communist Party, that has decided to withdraw from the upcoming Iraqi elections.

"The failure to provide a safe environment for early elections and the proliferation of out-of-control weapons are all factors that confirm that no clear change will happen, and accordingly, the Front decided not to participate in the elections," the Front said in a statement.

Jul 29 04:28

Is This Country Heading for the Exit?

The real question may be this: Three decades after the Soviet empire headed for the exit, is it possible that the far more powerful American one is ever so chaotically heading in the same direction? And if so, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Jul 27 08:51

Nujaba reacts to pullout deal: Entire US military, including ‘criminal’ air force, must leave Iraq

Iraq’s al-Nujaba resistance movement has called for a complete pullout of American forces from the country, saying the planned withdrawal under the newly-inked agreement between Baghdad and Washington must include the US military’s “criminal” air force.

“We have no confidence whatsoever in Americans, and do not agree to their presence under any circumstances. We fiercely oppose the US military presence, and demand a complete pullout of American forces,” Nasr al-Shammari, Nujaba’s spokesman, told the Lebanese al-Mayadeen news network in an interview on Monday night.

The comments followed a meeting between Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and US President Joe Biden in Washington, where they sealed an agreement formally ending the US “combat” mission in Iraq by the end of 2021, more than 18 years after US troops were sent to the country.

Jul 27 04:58

Israel Blamed For Fresh Airstrikes Deep Inside Iraq

BBC is reporting a possible rare Israeli airstrike deep inside Iraq targeting pro-Iranian militias at Najaf, Iraq. BBC Middle East correspondent Nafiseh Kohnavard writes that "Iran-backed Imam Ali Brigade says that airstrikes targeted their ammunition depot in Najaf, Iraq."

In addition "Some paramilitary groups-linked channels claim that Israel is behind the attack," according to Kohnavard. "Israel carried out an attack on a PMF base" Iran-backed groups-linked claim in the aftermath of a severe fire that broke out at an ammunition depot in Najaf. Though Israeli involvement is being widely alleged in Iraqi social media, there's as yet been no confirmation from any official side.

Jul 27 04:32

Biden Announces Change of Role in Iraq, But Troops Will Remain

On Monday, President Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi agreed that the US “combat” mission in Iraq will be over by the end of the year, but US troops will remain in the country in an advisory role.

“I think things are going well. Our role in Iraq will be … to be available to continue to train, to assist, to help, and to deal with ISIS — as it arrives. But we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission,” Biden told reporters alongside Kadhimi.

There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq under the umbrella of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. It’s not clear if any troops will be pulled out of the country when the US formally switches roles. A drawdown is possible, but the announcement is being interpreted as a symbolic one by most US media outlets.

Jul 27 04:28

Biden to call off U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year

The U.S. will end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year, President Biden announced Monday, with American forces shifting to an advisory and training role but potentially opening the door, critics say, for Iran to gain even more influence in the region.

It was the second confirmed major drawdown of a long-term U.S. military mission in Mr. Biden‘s brief presidency. The concurrent pullout of American and foreign troops from Afghanistan is nearly complete after two decades in the country.

Just before an Oval Office meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the president laid out the revamped approach to Iraq, where U.S. forces have operated for most of the past 20 years. The U.S. has about 2,500 troops in the country, and it’s not clear exactly how many will remain there in a new capacity.

Jul 26 05:50

Feature: Iraqi Ex-Detainee Recounts Torture By U.S. Troops

“The Americans have nothing to do with human rights. It is a concept they use to seek interests,” said Bedu al-Hamad, a former Iraqi detainee, who was jailed by the U.S. army for more than two years.

Al-Hamad, 59, who was head of the reconstruction committee of the Municipal Council of the town of Duluiyah, Salahuddin province, spent 26 months and 20 days in U.S. detention, despite not having committed any crimes.

The Sunni-dominated town of Duluiyah is a symbol of resistance to U.S. occupation, where U.S. troops were confronted with countless attacks and ambushed by armed groups in the town by the Tigris, in 2008, when the attacks reached their peak.

On Aug 21, 2008, U.S. troops accused al-Hamad of supporting terrorism and arrested him, weeks after al-Hamad attended a meeting at the Municipal Council in Duluiyah.

Jul 26 05:49

No, the U.S. military is not ‘leaving’ Iraq

Officials have announced an ‘end’ to the combat mission, but this appears to be a shift in definitions rather than a real withdrawal.

Jul 26 05:45

Ex-CIA Agent Says US Wasted Trillions on Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, Achieved Nothing

As the US approaches the completion of its withdrawal from Afghanistan, which should be over by September 11, as well as in light of more and more audible demands from Iraq to withdraw troops from its soil, questions are increasingly emerging about the assessment of the almost 20-year military presence and the success of these operations.

The US has squandered trillions of dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while failing to achieve any objectives, former US counter-terrorism specialist and CIA military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi wrote in an op-ed for Strategic Culture Foundation.

In an article, Giraldi made the remarks as US soldiers leave Afghanistan after an almost twenty-year war and pressure mounts on the Biden administration to withdraw all troops from Iraq.

Jul 23 06:02

US, Iraq to Agree American Troop Withdrawal Should Be Complete by End of 2021 - Report

Following the ongoing efforts to remove US forces from Afghanistan, chatter has begun to emerge regarding the potential pullout of American troops from nearby Iraq, which has endured the presence of US soldiers since the 2003 invasion to oust then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Top US and Iraqi officials are expected to issue an announcement in the following days that will call for the removal of American soldiers from the war-torn nation by the end of 2021, it was revealed Thursday.

Citing knowledgeable officials, the Wall Street Journal reported that senior officials have come to the agreement that Iraq’s partnership with the US needs to shift away from a military presence and focus instead on increasing intelligence cooperation.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein told the Journal that the Middle Eastern country does not “need any more fighters” since it already has a sufficient supply. “What do we need? We need cooperation in the field of intelligence,” he underscored.

Jul 20 05:44

Iraq's PM To Tell Biden In White House Visit: 'US Combat Troops Have Got To Go'

Next week on July 26 President Joe Biden is expected to host Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi at the White House in order to "highlight the strategic partnership between the United States in Iraq," according to a US statement.

But the Iraqi side is now saying that American combat troops have got to go. Al-Kadhemi emphasized in a new statement at the start of this week: "The visit will be to set out this relationship, and to put an end to the presence of combat forces, because the Iraqi army can now fight for itself on behalf of Iraqis and the world against terrorist groups in Iraq. There is no need for combat troops."

Jul 16 06:33

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

Jul 16 05:11

Sadr dissolves own political party following withdrawal from elections

The leader of the Sadrist movement and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, decided on Thursday to close the political body of the Sadrist movement, hours after he announced his withdrawal from the upcoming elections.

A document issued by the private office of the Sadr movement in Najaf stated that "in view of the current circumstances and in the interest of the people and the country, it was decided to dissolve the political party."

Sadr’s announcement comes three months ahead of the parliamentary election and days after a deadly fire swept through a coronavirus ward at a Nasiriyah hospital, killing dozens and igniting public anger against the government.

The statement also included that Sadr appointed Nassar al-Rubaie, head of the political body, and his deputy, Muhammad al-Mawsili, as his advisors.

Jul 16 04:57

Washington denies its top envoy discussed withdrawal of troops from Iraq with Prime Minister Kadhimi

The Iraqi PM’s office says he and the top White House envoy for the Middle East discussed the withdrawal of combat troops from the country. A senior Biden administration official denies it ever happened.

A statement referring to a pullout of American troops from Iraq was released by the office of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi after he met with Brett McGurk, the White House special coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Discussions took place about mechanisms for [US] combat troops’ withdrawal from Iraq, and moving forward to a new stage in strategic cooperation,” the Tuesday statement about the Baghdad meeting said.

A senior official in the US administration told Newsweek that “this was not true,” when asked for comment.

Iraq hosts some 3,500 foreign troops, including 2,500 American soldiers, who are ostensibly on the ground to help the Iraqi government prevent a possible resurgence of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Jul 15 06:22

Iraq's streets are littered with the memories of our dead

To no avail, the water pump wheezes tonight. Iraq, the land between two rivers, is thirsty. Barely a few drops drip from the kitchen faucet in my family’s residence in Baghdad.

The power is off, too, and private diesel generators roar deep into the night. The tranquility that used to lullaby Baghdad’s alleys, allowing its residents to sleep during the hot summer nights on rooftops, has long gone. So has the safety that enabled them to do so in a now-distant lifetime, hardly visible beyond the thick plumes of smoke rising from a violent past that - in the collective memory of Iraqis - continues to burn.

It is painful to be Iraqi. Even the streets of memory are littered with the bodies of our dead

Jul 14 07:50

Iraq: At least 92 killed in second Covid-19 hospital fire in months

At least 92 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire at a Covid-19 hospital the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq on Monday night, the Dhi Qar health directorate reported.

The blaze at Al-Hussein Hospital was caused by an oxygen tank explosion, health officials said, the second such incident in months. In April, at least 82 people were killed and 110 people injured after a similar accident at a coronavirus clinic in Baghdad.

"Sixty-four (bodies) were retrieved and 39 identified and handed over to their families," a source at the Forensic Science Department in Dhi Qar, where Nasiriyah is located, told AFP, adding: "Medical teams and relatives of victims are finding it difficult to identify the rest of the corpses."

The death toll might rise further with more bodies feared buried under the rubble.

Jul 14 07:25

Daesh merged from US backed opposition and Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria

The United States envoy to the US led anti Daesh coalition has warned of the possible resurgence of the Takfiri terrorists in Iraq and Syria due to worsening poverty and inequity in the countries. But what is the root cause of the instability and poverty afflicting Baghdad and Damascus?

Two years after the 911 incident, the US invaded Iraq, opening a second major front in its so called War on Terror, having already invaded Afghanistan.

The invasion, Operation Iraqi Freedom, toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but was followed by instability as well as deadly violence that took the lives of over a million Iraqis and displaced a further 9 million.

Consequently, the chaos resulting from the US invasion eventually gave birth to the Daesh terror group in 2014. Three years later the Takfiri group had captured nearly 1/3 of Iraq's territory.

Jul 09 07:36

US Military Says ‘Ongoing Situation’ in Iraq Amid Fourth Day of Attacks in a Row

A spokesperson for the U.S.-led coalition has acknowledged to Newsweek reports of what would be the fourth day of attacks on U.S. positions previously mounted by Iraqi militia forces.

“We are aware of these reports,” the U.S.-led coalition told Newsweek. “As this is an ongoing situation, we have no further details at this time.”

The statement came as outlets supportive of militias aligned with the pro-Iran “Axis of Resistance” circulated footage showing defensive systems at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad responding to unseen aerial threats.

The Sabreen News outlet claimed the attackers took a dual approach, launching Katyusha rockets from both the Al-Rusafa area and from the vicinity of Al-Kindi Hospital, though this could be not be independently verified.

If confirmed, the attack would signal yet another sign that Iraqi militias were willing to escalate their campaign to drive out U.S. forces from the country.

Jul 07 12:41

Rumsfeld Remembered as ‘Complex,’ ‘Energetic’—Not as Killer of Multitudes

HE SEEMED LIKE AN ALL-AMERICAN WHO HAD STEPPED OFF THE WHEATIES BOX—A STRIKINGLY HANDSOME MIDWESTERNER RADIATING CONFIDENCE, TAKING ON BIG TASKS AND DOING EVERYTHING WELL.-- Could any war criminal ask to be remembered more fondly?

Jul 07 10:07

Five Attacks In Less Than 72 Hours: Injuries Reported After 14 Rockets Hit US Base In Iraq

The pace of attacks on Americans in Iraq is picking up after Biden's airstrikes along the Iraq-Syria border late last month were meant precisely as deterrence and as a response to prior drone attacks. Clearly it didn't work, but only served as but the next escalation portending more to come.

At least 14 rockets hit Ain Assad base Wednesday in the second such attack on the installation in as many days. US, Iraq, and other Western allied forces operation from the large base in western Anbar province. It's unclear whether the two injured are Americans or partner forces (the coalition spokesman initially assessed three injured before revising down to two).

Jul 07 10:02

US Forces Are Under Constant Rain Of Fire In Both Syria And Iraq

The United States seems to have stepped in a wasp’s nest after their most recent strikes on ‘resistance’ positions along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The US strike took place on June 27th. The response from the resistance came on the very next day.

The largest American base in Syria – at the al-Omar Oil Field came under fire by at least 8 rockets, which resulted in no casualties but significant material damage. Exactly a week later, reports surfaced of another rocket attack on al-Omar, this time the rumors were first spread by a US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman.

The reports of an attack were subsequently denied by both the US and the SDF. Other reports, however, said the blasts were caused as a result of “training” activity taking place among foreign forces there.

Alongside all of this, US convoys in Iraq are subject to daily IED attacks, with the most recent one taking place on July 5th, in the Baghdad governorate.

Jul 06 08:47

Biden’s Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq Are a Sign of His Weakness and Ignorance of the Region

It has always baffled western news pundits how peace talks are carried out in the Middle East, where both sides increase their military capability against one another while drinking sweet tea and discussing peace with your enemy.

It’s hard to fathom Joe Biden’s strategy in the Middle East, when his recent actions show at best egregious ignorance of the region or at worse a lack of finesse. Perhaps he simply isn’t listening to his advisors who know the region and the myriad of complicated games which are at play. But the recent air strikes he ordered against Iranian-backed militias both in Iraq and Syria is as curious if not bewildering as his own administration’s crackdown on Iranian media outlets – many which are even staunch enemies of the regime in Tehran.

Jul 06 05:51

Multiple Rockets Hit Iraq's Largest US Base In Apparent Revenge Attack

A fresh rocket attack was unleased Monday on the largest military base where US troops are hosted in Iraq. Ain Al Assad airbase in western Iraq's Anbar province was hit by at least three rockets, the American coalition has confirmed.

An official US coalition statement said that "At approx. 2:45 PM local time, Ain Al-Assad Air Base was attacked by three rockets. The rockets landed on the base perimeter." It indicated no injuries and that damage is being assessed.

Jul 06 05:49

Rockets Are Hitting US Bases in Syria and Iraq. Bombed Iraqi Militia Is Taking Credit

The US regularly attributes attacks by ISIS or by unknown attackers on its bases in Iraq to Iraqi government militias even when they expressly deny responsibility, and then uses it as “justification” to bomb them in Syria, and in Iraq (without Baghdad’s permission).

That makes the next story that much more interesting. Iraqi militias claim that on July 4 they struck a US military base in Syria with rocket artillery in retaliation for a US bombing attack, but the US denies anything like that took place and that the explosion sounds were from live-fire training.

Jul 06 05:43

US ‘Airstrike Diplomacy’ Continues in Syria-Iraq

On June 27, 2021 the US carried out additional strikes against targets along the Syrian-Iraqi border. The attacks were condemned by both the Syrian and Iraqi governments and represent not only a dangerous escalation by American military aggression in the region, but the continuation of US aggression in the Middle East spanning two decades regardless of who occupies the White House or Congress.

A US Department of Defense statement dated June 27, 2021 regarding the US strikes would claim:

At President Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. he targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.

The statement would also claim:

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