IRAQ | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

IRAQ

Jun 14 13:01

The curious case of the United States

Internationally, the United States has punished sovereign governments that have attempted to liberate themselves from the yoke of the petro/nuclear-backed dollar, by committing some of the most heinous war crimes the world has ever seen. From commandeering the U.S. military to murder at least a million Iraqi civilians following an effort led by Suddam Hussein to ditch the dollar for the Euro, to brutally murdering the head of state of Libya following his promises to help create an African currency (with the U.S. Secretary of State openly cackling about it on national television), to playing a pivotal role in an effort led by Saudi Arabia to starve millions of Yemenis in order to advance Saudi Arabian interests in the region, the U.S. government has enforced an empire abroad, maintaining more than a thousand (known) military bases in dozens, if not hundreds of countries.

Jun 14 06:53

Israeli Nuclear Engineer Confirms: The Mossad Sabotaged Iraqi Nuclear Equipment on French Soil

On June 7, 1981, 40 years ago last week, Israel destroyed the Osirak (aka Tammuz) nuclear reactor near Baghdad. The decision to use the air force to launch the surprise attack on the unfinished facility was made by the government headed by Menachem Begin, in consultation with all the country’s defense and intelligence bodies, after other options to thwart Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program had failed.

Jun 14 06:49

Iraqi Anti-Terror Group Says ‘Fully Prepared’ to Liberate Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights

The official spokesman for Iraq’s Al-Nujaba Movement said his group is fully prepared to liberate the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, emphasizing that all indications attest to the fact that the Tel Aviv is nearing its end.

Nasr Al-Shammari told Lebanon-based Al-Ahed news website that his movement formed the Golan Liberation Brigade in 2017, and the force is particularly working with Syrian resistance fighters to take back the strategic territory.

“Despite the fact that Al-Nujaba Movement is actively involved in the fight against Takfiri terrorist groups in Syria, this brigade is dedicated to confronting the usurping Zionist regime and will remain so. This brigade includes elite fighters, who have received excellent training for such wars, and have the necessary weapons for such battles. They can strike targets deep inside the Israeli-occupied lands and not just the Golan Heights,” Shammari said.

Jun 10 07:35

FLASHBACK - Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

Jun 08 10:24

Turkey accused of 'stealing' trees in Iraqi Kurdistan logging campaign

As Turkey's military operations target Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in Iraqi Kurdistan, the region's environment is falling prey to a deforestation campaign aimed at constructing roads for Turkish military outposts and economic gains, according to several officials and eyewitnesses who spoke to Middle East Eye.

Over the past week, reports of Turkey's logging in Duhok province have been circulating on social media, with people condemning it and calling on the Turkish army to stop the campaign.

The news was first reported by Ali Hama Salih, an MP in the Kurdish region's parliament, who posted footage and pictures of fallen trees and burnt forests.

Jun 07 02:34

US Troops In Iraq Targeted By Increasingly Sophisticated Combat Drones

The thousands of US troops still in Iraq are increasingly monitoring the threat from the skies, as a series of combat drones from an unknown source have reportedly targeted American bases over the past few months, according to a Friday report in The New York Times. The report blames "Iran-backed militia" for deployments of sophisticated small drones, citing the usual anonymous sources.

The following day on Saturday, a new attack on Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq was reported: "The air defense system at Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq, where American forces are stationed, shot down two drones that attempted to attack the base on Saturday night, according to the Iraqi Security Media Cell."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Yes, one can hear the war drums getting beaten with ever greater fierocity by Team Biden and Israel, particuarly in light of Netanyahu's impending (potential) fall from grace in the next couple of days.

Geopolitically, Netanyahu is a wounded animal; wounded animals are always at their most dangerous.

However, I would like to politely point out that a US war against Iran would most probably translate as a war against both Russia and China right now; is US leadership so thooroughly idiotic, as to believe that such a war could actually be won, given that we don't have the troop strength; weaponry; money; or manufacturing to make that happen?!?

May 28 07:06

The lies and conspiracy theories from neocon ‘crazies’ that fueled Iraq war are subject of new history

Last month Foreign Affairs ran an article saying that Iran and Israel were engaged in mutual hostilities that could drag the United States into a war not of our choosing, and there was no mention in the article of the people who really do want the U.S. to go to war with Iran, the neoconservative branch of the Israel lobby. Last week Foreign Policy ran an article by one of those neoconservatives, saying that if the U.S. returns to its deal with a “rogue regime committed to Israel’s destruction,” Israel will likely go to war against Iran.

It ought to be terrifying that our supposed client state is escalating its attacks on Iran just as the United States is trying to reenter the Iran deal; and its friends in the U.S. are escalating the war of words. But the most you hear about this on mainstream media is Andrea Mitchell venturing to Jake Sullivan that Israel “is being unhelpful” to the United States with its attacks.

May 24 15:40

Iraq estimates that $150 billion of its oil money has been stolen from the country since the US-led invasion of 2003

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN)An estimated $150 billion of stolen money has been smuggled out of Iraq in corrupt deals since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraqi President Barham Salih said Sunday.

"Of the close to a thousand billion dollars made from oil since 2003, an estimated $150 billion of stolen money has been smuggled out of Iraq," Salih said in a televised speech.

The statement came as the Iraqi President submitted a draft Corrupt Funds Recovery Act to the Iraqi Parliament.

"The draft law seeks to strengthen the powers of Iraqi nation in order to recover money stolen in corrupt deals, to hold corrupt people accountable and bring them to justice," according to Salih.

He urged Iraqi lawmakers to discuss and approve the proposed legislation "to help curb this dangerous scourge that has deprived our people of enjoying the wealth of their country for many years."

May 18 06:19

Royal Air Force in latest Iraq bombing raid

Royal Air force (RAF) fighter jets have conducted a bombing mission in north-western Iraq, allegedly targeting the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh.

According to the Ministry of Defense (MoD), a pair of RAF Typhoon FGR4s attacked Daesh targets with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs.

The bombing raid was reportedly carried out on May 11 and was directed against targts situated 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Mosul.

The MoD claims the bombs directly impacted their targets eliminating a “number” of Daesh terrorists in the process.

According to the MoD, the bombing raid was requested by Iraqi forces which had come under “heavy small arms fire” from alleged Daesh elements.

May 14 07:18

Iraqi resistance ‘ready for military cooperation with Palestinians, can reach depths of occupied territories’

A prominent Iraqi resistance group pledges readiness for military and security cooperation with its fellow Palestinian movements in the face of the Israeli regime’s aggression and warns Tel Aviv that it can reach the depths of the occupied territories.

The secretary-general of the al-Nujaba resistance movement, Sheikh Akram al-Ka'abi, made the remarks during an unprecedented meeting with Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, and Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Iraqi group’s Media Office in Palestine reported on Wednesday.

“The Iraqi people have always stood by the oppressed people of Palestine and have supported their efforts toward liberation from the savage and occupying Zionist regime. I personally wish to fight the enemies in the holy land of Palestine,” Ka’abi said.

May 12 07:34

Lockheed Martin removes contractors from Iraq base over security fears – sources

Lockheed Martin is removing contractors working on the maintenance of F-16 fighter jets at an Iraqi military base because of security concerns, three Iraqi and American sources told Reuters.

Balad air base, which is north of Baghdad, has been the target of frequent rocket attacks that U.S. officials believe are carried out by Iranian-backed militia.

One U.S. official and two sources in Iraq with knowledge of staffing at the base, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the contractors were being removed as a direct result of the security situation.

Lockheed Martin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

May 05 05:56

Rockets Rain Over US Bases In Iraq

Military bases of the United States in Iraq are suffering from poor weather conditions, as it would seem it’s raining rockets in the first days of May and late April.

Late on May 2nd, the US Camp Victory in Iraq came under rocket fire. Two rockets hit the site near the Baghdad airport. The third shell was reportedly intercepted by the C-RAM anti-aircraft system.

It was the second attack on Camp Victory in the last 10 days.

Not too long after, on May 3d, the Balad Air Base in the Salah al-Din province that houses Iraqi forces and US contractors was targeted by another rocket attack. The commander of the base, Div. Gen. Sahi Abdul Ameri, said that a total of 9-10 explosions were heard, but only three self-made rockets exploded on the territory of the base.

May 05 05:04

RAF’s ‘Dambusters’ squadron set to begin Iraq and Syria bombing mission

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is set to deploy its 617 squadron – known as the “Dambusters” – allegedly against Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria.

The Ministry of Defense says F35B stealth fighter jets will join so-called Operation Shader from the Carrier Strike Group centered on the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Eight RAF and 10 US Marine Corps F35Bs are based on HMS Queen Elizabeth, and these assets are joined by an additional six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.

Trying to justify the latest deployment, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, claimed that he was in no doubt that “violent extremism and the toxic ideology underpinning it is still rooted” in the West Asia region.

Apr 26 10:21

The United States Has Declared Defeat In Two More Wars

President Biden announced last week that he planned to remove all combat troops from Afghanistan by September, which he says will mark the end of what is now a twenty-year war in the central Asian country.

A week earlier, the US and Iraq reaffirmed a deal to withdraw “any remaining combat forces” from Iraq, and to further wind down the US involvement there, which dates back to the 2003 invasion.

In both cases, of course, the stated plans to end military intervention have been framed in polite language designed to make it look like the US is leaving on its own terms—and also to allow the US regime some level of plausibility when it claims “mission accomplished.”

Apr 23 04:54

Multiple rockets land near Baghdad International Airport, US-led coalition base, triggering alarms – reports

Multiple rockets reportedly fell near Baghdad International Airport. There have also been reports of air-raid sirens going off inside Camp Victory, which houses US coalition forces. No casualties are being reported.

According to local media sources, a total of three rockets went off in the vicinity of the airport. Security forces are now examining the platforms from which the rockets were launched.

Apr 14 16:10

Multiple Missile Deployments Strike Turkish Armed Forces, Erbil Airfield

Iraqi military bases housing American troops have come under fire from militia forces in northern Iraq for some time. In February, multiple rockets were launched against a military base near the Erbil International Airport that left one military contractor dead and injured several others.

Explosions have sounded off near Iraq's Erbil International Airport on Wednesday, with reports surfacing that additional strikes were reported on Turkish military camps in nearby areas.

A security source informed Sputnik that in addition to the missile that struck the Erbil airport, there were two other unidentified rockets that hit a Turkish military camp in Bashiqa and an undisclosed village.

Apr 14 04:36

‘Unknown Resistance Forces’ Attack Iraq Office of Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency - Reports

Israel’s Mossad has long operated in nearby Iraq, including in a 1966 operation to steal a Soviet-built MiG-21 fighter jet for the United States and a plot in the 1970s to assassinate Iraqi nationalist leader Saddam Hussein with a bomb hidden inside a book.

According to unconfirmed reports, a safe house used by the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, has been attacked in northern Iraq.

"’Unknown resistance forces’ target Mossad safe house in Northern Iraq,” Sabereen News Telegram reported Wednesday morning, adding that several “Israeli spies were killed” and promising to soon share photos of the operation.

Apr 13 10:55

US Forces Transported Over 40 Tankers of Syrian Oil Into Iraq, State Media Report

The US forces have transported 41 tankers of oil stolen from the Hasaka province in northern Syria into Iraq, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported, citing local sources.

The convoy also included several covered trucks. The agency reported that the oil was smuggled into the Iraqi territory via the "illegal" al-Waleed border crossing, which is also referred to as at-Tanf.

This is not the first time that such news has been reported by SANA, with a similar story being published last December reporting that US forces looted oil from the Hasaka countryside and transported it over the border to US bases in Iraq.

Apr 13 06:16

US agenda in Iraq 'nothing but destruction'

The United States has been "systematically" destroying Iraq for 30 years, and seeks "nothing but destruction" in the West Asia region, says Bill Dores, a writer for Struggle/La Lucha and longtime antiwar activist

"There is no possible justification for a country to keep troops on the soil of another country against the wishes of its government and people," Dores told Press TV in an interview on Monday. "That's true in Iraq. That's true in Syria."

In early 2003, the US invaded Iraq under the later debunked pretext that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Apr 10 07:19

Sadr representative survives assassination attempt in Baghdad

Hazem al-Araji, the representative of firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, survived an assassination attempt in Baghdad on Friday, his secretary has told Rudaw.

Ali al-Obeidi said that the incident took place at 5:30pm, in a ceremony commemorating killed members of a Sadr-led militia in al-Shuala district, eastern Baghdad.

"Armed men in two BMWs opened fire near Araji and hit a member of his personal bodyguard, which led to an exchange of fire between Araji’s bodyguards and the militants,” Obeidi said.

He believes political parties are behind the attempted murder, but would not name them.

In February, Araji was assigned by Sadr to represent "the administration of Basra Governorate” which has seen significant bloodshed since the protest movement began in 2019.

Hundreds of protesters have been killed and kidnapped by security forces and Iran-backed militias since October 2019.

Apr 10 07:11

Iraqi youth see little hope 18 years after Saddam's fall

Eighteen years ago Saddam Hussein's brutal rule came to an end, but the prospects for young Iraqis who never witnessed his dictatorship remain blighted by insecurity, rampant corruption and joblessness.

When American troops seized Baghdad on April 9, 2003, a different Hussein was barely three years old. Living in Nasiriyah, a cradle of revolts throughout history in the country's south, he recalls people speaking of a "bloody regime".

It was one which "embroiled Iraq in wars that wasted many lives and resources," alongside crippling sanctions from the 1990s, said the political sciences student.

But today the American promises of democracy and freedom made when Saddam was toppled ring hollow, added Hussein, who did not want to give his second name, as he deplored today's "incapable" political parties and a "rotten system".

Educated initially in a small mud-brick school, since his earliest memories he has known an Iraq beset by "hospitals in ruins and zero job prospects."

Apr 08 06:02

US Agrees To Withdraw "Remaining Combat Troops" From Iraq In Joint Talks

Starting weeks ago the Iraqi government began putting pressure on the Biden administration to enter a new round of talks over withdrawing all remaining US troops from the country - a process previously stalled amid tit-for-tat strikes between American forces and Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups.

The new high level talks have started this week, which is the third round stretching back into the Trump administration, but the first under the Biden presidency. As part of demands for a total US forces exit, Baghdad is seeking to assure the White House that Iran-backed militias in the country will also stand down. However, it's quite another question whether Baghdad will be able to deliver, and Washington has long used this as a prime excuse for staying with no firm exit date.

Apr 01 12:35

The War in Iraq Exposed Huge Flaws in American Strategic Thinking

As seen recently, intermittent altercations persist in Iraq and Syria between American forces and various Iran-backed militias. These, however, stem from, and are a continuation of, a fundamental error in the design of the war. This should have been apparent to its instigators even before the war was launched in 2003, and it is almost breath-taking in its naiveté.

An extensive U.S. Army study of the war contends that “the overwhelming majority of decisions in the Iraq War were made by highly intelligent, highly experienced, leaders.” However, it concludes that the “failure to achieve our strategic objectives” derived from reasoning that contained “systemic failures,” and high among these was that “U.S. leaders seemed to believe that other regional nations would not react.”

Mar 30 05:39

Iraqi Officials Ready to Push for Ouster of US Troops

In January 2020, Iraq’s parliament unanimously called for the US to leave Iraq. President Biden hasn’t weighed in on this, but the matter is likely to come to a head in April talks with Iraq centering on the strategic future of the two nations.

Iraq’s PM and other top officials are getting prepared to push hard for the pullout of US troops, forming a committee to try to work out this deal with the US.

US officials aren’t saying anything in the lead-up to this, already so busy talking about how they’re not withdrawing from Afghanistan or Syria. Iraqi MPs, however, are also commenting, and warning these talks had better lead to a resolution.

Defense committee member Kati al-Rikabi warned that if there isn’t a deal reached on the US withdrawal by April’s end, he and a number of MPs are prepared to take a “new position” in their attempt to outright oust the US forces.

Mar 27 06:47

How the Pentagon Accidentally Funnels Millions to Iraqi Militia Groups It’s Also Fighting

Iraq’s Balad Air Base, home of the country’s F-16 program, was running out of fuel at the worst possible time. It was the spring of 2017 and the Iraqi military was preparing a final push to remove the Islamic State from Mosul, a major metropolis in the north of the country that had fallen to the extremists three years earlier. But fuel trucks, sent from Baghdad to the American military contractor that operated the base, Sallyport Global Services, were being ambushed. Without fuel, Balad’s fighter jets wouldn’t be able to provide air support to Iraqi soldiers battling the terrorist group.

For the coalition fighting ISIS, the fuel squeeze was a self-inflicted crisis.

Mar 22 07:22

Iraq Confirms Withdrawal of US Troops

All U.S. troops still stationed in Iraq are to leave the country, confirmed Iraqi President Barham Salih, after a decision adopted by the Iraqi Parliament.

Iraq's President Barham Salih confirmed Parliament's decision that U.S. troops leave the country highlights a dispatch released on Friday by the al-Maluma news agency.

Salih stated that about 2,500 US soldiers are in Iraq, and their presence here is about to end.

In this way, a decree issued in January 2020 by the Iraqi Parliament that forces a total withdrawal of the country's foreign military forces will be completed.

Mar 22 07:22

GOP Hawks Warn against Repealing Iraq War Resolution ahead of Vote

In a little-noticed development on Friday, a House panel scheduled a vote to repeal the Congressional resolution that authorized the Iraq war.

National Review has learned that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote next Thursday on a measure to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. This resolution to eliminate the Iraq War AUMF is expected to pass, likely with the support of all of the panel’s Democrats and Representative Peter Meijer (R., Mich.).

Repealing the 2002 AUMF and the 2001 AUMF that authorized force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks has gained widespread popularity in both parties, as a war-weary public and top politicians have called for an end to the “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. But ahead of the vote on repealing the 2002 measure, some Republicans say they aren’t convinced, warning of ongoing threats from Iran, which backs proxies and operates in Iraq.

Mar 21 08:08

The Nightmare: The Iraq Invasion’s Atrocities, Unearthing the Unthinkable

I have a deeply held belief that the duty of a commentator is, to the best of one’s ability, to record, to shine light in often dark places, to act as a voice for those whose own voice, fears, plights might not be heard or known. To write about the emotions one sometimes feels when doing it, is an anathema and anyway a redundancy.

The purpose is to attempt to draw attention to wrongs, not to whinge about the effects they can have – and any way, a private life should be just that. If politicians wish to strip themselves of their dignity and allude to everything from their sex life, to using private grief to gain sympathy votes, those with a shred of self-respect do not wish to emulate them. Here, I am breaking my taboo, for a reason.

Mar 21 08:08

US Crimes against the People of Iraq, Vietnam, Nicaragua, … : Denial, Selective Perception and Military Atrocities.

When the horrors of the sadistic, near necrophile behaviour of U.S., personnel at Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, first showed the tip-of-the-iceberg-lie of “liberation”: cruelty, depravity and bestiality on a scale which apparently dwarfed all that Saddam Hussein’s regime had been accused of, President George W. Bush said: ” This does not represent the America I know.”

He should have. It was under the watch of his father, George Bush, Snr., that in 1991, thousands of Iraqi conscripts were buried alive in southern Iraq, by US army tanks and bulldozers. “What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches, with peoples arms and things sticking out of them”, said Colonel Anthony Moreno who participated.(1)

Mar 19 07:32

Roadside bomb attacks hit US-led coalition convoys in southern Iraq, Anbar

Four roadside bombs have separately gone off near convoys of trucks carrying equipment belonging to US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s southern provinces of al-Qadisiyah and al-Muthanna as well as the western province of Anbar.

An Iraqi security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that an explosive device exploded while a convoy was passing along a highway near the city of al-Diwaniyah, located 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of the capital Baghdad, on Thursday.

The source added that the explosion left damage with no report on casualties, noting that police forces have cordoned off the scene and launched an investigation.

Mar 19 06:45

Afghanistan: How Long Must This Go On?

The United States military and mercenary forces need to leave Afghanistan now.
Note: Does anyone remember why we are there in the first place!
The Cactus Moon is crying!

Mar 16 08:02

US-occupied Iraqi air base hit by several rockets

At least seven rockets have targeted another Iraqi air base occupied by American troops north of Baghdad, the latest in a string of attacks against US positions and interests in the Arab country.

Two of the rockets struck Al-Balad air base on Monday evening, but did not cause any casualties or damage inside the base, a security official said.

The other five rockets crashed into a nearby village, the official said, adding that all the rockets were fired from a separate village in the neighboring province of Diyala, east of the base.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but there have been several such attacks in recent weeks targeting locations where US forces are positioned.

On March 3, an American sub-contractor was killed in a similar attack against another US-occupied air base, Ain al-Assad, in Iraq’s western desert.

Mar 16 06:24

Fresh Rocket Attack Hits Iraqi Base Housing American Troops

Here we go again: on Monday a barrage of rocket fire targeted an Iraqi military base which houses American troops just north of the capital of Baghdad.

In total seven were fired, with initial reports saying there were no casualties. "At least five rockets hit the Iraqi military air base of Balad north of Baghdad on Monday, without causing casualties, Iraqi security officials said," Reuters reports.

Additionally two other rockets failed to land inside the base, detonating in a rural area without causing casualties.

Officials have named the usual suspects: "No group immediately claimed the attack, but armed groups that some Iraqi officials say are backed by Iran have claimed similar incidents in the past," Reuters reports further.

Mar 16 05:57

Demonstrations continue in several Iraqi cities, with activists threatening to escalate tactics

Protests renewed on Monday in the Iraqi cities of Nasiriyah and Najaf, with some demonstrators threatening sit-ins in front of local government offices should their demands not be met.

A number of members of Iraqi parliament from Dhi Qar province, where Nasiriyah is located, held a meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Sunday to discuss candidates for the governor position. The PM appointed Abdul-Ghani Al-Asadi temporarily to the position following the resignation of Nathim Al-Waeli in the face of bloody protests calling for his dismissal.

Rejecting the presented candidates, protestors on Monday took to the streets of Nasiriyah again blocking roads leading to the governorate building with burning tires, threatening to escalate their movement in the coming days, activists confirmed.

Mar 13 07:10

EXCLUSIVE: Iraq paramilitaries agree to stop attacks on US if Kadhimi demands withdrawal

After frantic meetings in Baghdad, Beirut and Tehran, Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitaries have agreed to stop attacks against US forces in Iraq on the condition that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi formally demands an American withdrawal, officials and faction commanders told Middle East Eye.

Kadhimi must tell Washington that the pullout has to be completed within 12 months, they added. Sources said it is likely that Kadhimi will comply and make the formal request.

On 1 March, the armed factions announced the end of an unofficial armistice with US forces in Iraq that had largely held since October, despite a few violations.

Mar 12 07:08

FLASHBACK - Iraq: the Biggest Petroleum Heist in History?

“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market. But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”

– Antonia Juhasz, oil industry analyst, Al Jazeera.

These are the ‘best of times’ for the oil giants in Iraq. Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough. Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:

“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.” (Wall Street Journal)

Mission accomplished?

Mar 12 06:44

Iraq, Struggling to Pay Debts and Salaries, Plunges Into Economic Crisis

In the wholesale market of Jamila, near Baghdad’s sprawling Sadr City neighborhood, a merchant, Hassan al-Mozani, was surrounded by towering piles of unsold 110-pound sacks of flour.

“Normally at a minimum I would sell 700 to 1,000 tons a month,” he said. “But since the crisis started we have only sold 170 to 200 tons.”

His troubles are a ground-level indicator of what economists say is the biggest financial threat to Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s time. Iraq is running out of money to pay its bills. That has created a financial crisis with the potential to destabilize the government — which was ousted a year ago after mass protests over corruption and unemployment — touch off fighting among armed groups, and empower Iraq’s neighbor and longtime rival, Iran.

Iran in the past has taken the opportunity posed by a weak Iraqi central government to strengthen its political power and the role of its paramilitaries within Iraq.

Mar 12 06:42

The Tragic Phase of US Reign in Iraq Coming to an End?

Driven by the demands of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from American military intervention, the US eventually had to reduce its military presence in these countries, leaving 2,500 troops in each country.

Trying to “save the face of the US”, whose artificial peacekeeping mask was torn off by the population of these countries and the international community a long time ago, the head of the Pentagon Christopher Miller in his statement, published on the official site of the department, tried to explain the reduction of the number of troops in Iraq by the “increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces” and their ability to counteract the militants of terrorist group Daesh (banned in Russia) by themselves.

Mar 11 09:07

The Power to Make War

Congress needs to prohibit absolutely the unauthorized presidential expenditure of money and deployment of armed personnel on any nondefensive violent actions. I say “personnel” rather than “military” because modern presidents have often used the CIA to fight wars and argued that because those wars did not involve the military, no congressional approval or notification was needed. -- Congress should criminalize such presidential violence and the expenditures of resources to support it, as it is a crime to kill without lawful authority. And Congress should call nondefensive killings — by the government or anyone — by their legal name: Murder.

Mar 03 10:43

Prominent Islamic State leaders killed in Iraq

Despite concerns that the sharp drawdown of international troops over the past year might negatively impact counterterrorism activities, Iraq has announced the killing of several high-level commanders and operatives since late January.

Following a double suicide attack on a working-class market in central Baghdad on Jan. 21 that killed over 30 people, Operation Revenge of the Martyrs was launched.

The top Islamic State (IS) commander for Iraq — Abu Yasser al-Issawi, the nom de guerre of Jabbar Salman Ali al-Issawi, a 39-year-old native of Fallujah in Anbar province — was killed in the southern part of the Kirkuk region only a week later on Jan. 28.

Before becoming the "wali" (governor) of all of Iraq, Issawi held several other leadership positions within the international terrorist organization, including being in charge of the northern Baghdad area. He was killed in Wadi al-Shay, a valley long known for being infested with insurgents.

Mar 02 10:18

Iran condemns U.S. strikes in Syria, denies attacks in Iraq

Iran on Saturday condemned U.S. air strikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria, and denied responsibility for rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq that prompted Friday’s strikes.

Washington said its strikes on positions of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah paramilitary group along the Iraq border were in response to the rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq.

Western officials and some Iraqi officials have blamed those attacks on Iran-backed groups.

However, Tehran has denied any involvement.

Mar 02 07:04

Pope's Visit to Iraqi Ziggurat to Bring Together Several Faiths - and Hopefully Lure More Visitors

Pope Francis is due to hold an inter-religious prayer service at the ancient Mesopotamian site of Ur when he visits Iraq next week - an event local archeologists hope will draw renewed attention to the place revered as the birthplace of Abraham.

Popular with Western visitors in the 1970s and 1980s, Ur is scarcely visited today after decades of war and political instability shattered Iraq's international tourism industry. The coronavirus crisis now also keeps local tourists away.

Located about 300 km (200 miles) south of the capital Baghdad, the site comprises a pyramid-style Ziggurat and an adjacent residential complex as well as temples and palaces.

It was excavated about 100 years ago by Leonard Woolley, a Briton who recovered treasures rivalling those found in Tutankhamen's tomb in Egypt. But little work has since been done

Feb 28 07:59

Israel said very pleased with US strikes in Syria: ‘Biden is not Obama’

Israel is highly pleased with Thursday night’s US airstrikes against an Iranian-backed militia base on the Syrian-Iraqi border, Israeli officials told Walla News Friday.

Officials told Walla they see the strikes as a positive signal about the new administration’s posture toward Iran, and believe it will send a message to Tehran that it must restrain itself and its proxies in the region.
They said they had been concerned by growing Iranian provocations in the region, often through its proxies, and had shared this concern with the Americans.

Feb 28 07:07

Iraqi Government Denies Involvement in US Airstrikes in Syria

Iraq’s government denied any involvement in Thursday’s US airstrikes in eastern Syria that targeted Iraqi militias. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Iraq helped develop intelligence for the bombing, but Iraq’s Ministry of Defense denied that claim.

In a statement, Iraq’s Ministry of Defense said it was “surprised by the statements of the US Secretary of Defense about the participation of Iraqi intelligence regarding an exchange of intelligence information with Iraq to target Syrian territories.”

The Pentagon said it targeted Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada in Thursday’s bombing, two Shia militias that fall under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The PMF was formed in 2014 to fight ISIS and is sponsored by the Iraqi government, so it would make no sense for Baghdad to collaborate with the US in targeting them.

Feb 28 07:06

Threat level raised for US troops in Iraq; American contractors put on high alert

The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve has raised the threat level for US service members in Iraq, while US contractors at Balad Air Base were put on high alert fearing a response to US airstrikes in Syria, two sources familiar with the move tell Fox News.

Increasing force protection posture may last several days and is considered a routine precaution given current conditions on the ground.

"Protection of coalition troops is the #1 priority, so taking force protection levels higher is wise and prudent," a source told Fox News.

At Balad Air Base, a separate decision was made by Sallyport Global, a company that fulfills US government contracts, to put American contractors on high alert, a person familiar said.

Feb 26 08:07

One martyred, four wounded as US attacks anti-terror forces on Iraq-Syria border: Press TV

One person has lost his life and four others have been wounded in the US military’s air raid against positions of resistance forces operating against terror groups on the Iraqi-Syrian border, an informed source tells Press TV.

The casualties were caused in the early hours of Friday, as the American airstrike targeted facilities used by forces of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) — better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi — at a border point in eastern Syria, where the resistance group has been fighting remnants of the Takfiri Daesh terror group in coordination with the governments in both Arab countries.

In a statement issued after the assault, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the raid had been “deliberate” and meant to “de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”

Feb 23 10:24

Rocket Attack Targets US Embassy In Baghdad A Week After Deadly Erbil Assault

Regional Mideast news sources are reporting a fresh rocket attack on Baghdad's Green Zone on Monday. Explosions near the US Embassy have been reported

"At least 3 Rockets target US Embassy area in Baghdad," according to initial reporting by the AFP. It comes at a sensitive moment that the Biden administration is investigating a major rocket attack on a US base in Erbil, in northern Iraqi Kurdistan one week ago. That prior attack injured multiple US military service members and killed at least one non-American international contractor.

Crucially Monday's rocket volley, which so far according to early reports doesn't appear to have caused damage to the embassy, marks the third attack on Western military, diplomatic, or commercial installations in a week.

Feb 23 07:55

Iraq's ancient Christian community, decimated by violence, fear

Some fled after the US-led invasion, others during sectarian bloodshed and more following jihadist attacks. Iraq's last two violent decades have hollowed out its Christian community which dates back two millennia.

After first settling in the fertile plains of Nineveh province before heading for the busy boulevards of Baghdad, more than one million Christians have in more modern times been uprooted by Iraq's consecutive conflicts.

"By the age of 24, I had already lived through and survived three wars," said Sally Fawzi, an Iraqi Chaldean Catholic, who left her country more than a decade ago and is now living in the US state of Texas.

Feb 17 11:32

How Many U.S. Soldiers Were Wounded in Iraq? Guess Again.

Reports about the end of the war in Iraq routinely describe the toll on the U.S. military the way the Pentagon does: 4,487 dead, and 32,226 wounded.

The death count is accurate. But the wounded figure wildly understates the number of American servicemembers who have come back from Iraq less than whole.

The true number of military personnel injured over the course of our nine-year-long fiasco in Iraq is in the hundreds of thousands — maybe even more than half a million — if you take into account all the men and women who returned from their deployments with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, depression, hearing loss, breathing disorders, diseases, and other long-term health problems.

We don’t have anything close to an exact number, however, because nobody’s been keeping track.

Feb 17 11:32

Iraq War Deaths Exceed Vietnam War Numbers

The casualties in the Vietnam War were pretty simple to understand. If a soldier was dead from his combat tour, he was a war casualty. There are 58,195 names recorded on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.

Some of these brave men died in the jungles of Vietnam while others died in Medivac units or hospitals in Japan and America. A dead soldier can surrender his life anywhere in service to his country. It really doesn't matter where this happens. The location of a soldier's death in no way colors his sacrifice.

But something odd has happened with the Iraq War. The government, under the Bush administration, did something dishonest that resulted in a lie that's persisted since the war began -- and continues to this very day. They decided to report the war deaths in Iraq only if the soldier died with his boots on the ground in a combat situation.

What's the difference, you might ask?

Feb 16 09:59

Rocket Attack Hits US Base in Iraqi Kurdistan, One Contractor Killed

Multiple rockets hit a US military base and a nearby airport in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Monday night. Initial reports say one civilian contractor was killed, five others were wounded, and one US soldier was also wounded. Two other civilians were wounded outside of the base, according to local security officials.

A US military spokesman said more details will follow, and the nationality of the contractor that was killed is not clear at this time. The attack also impacted the Chinese consulate in Erbil.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement on the incident. “We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” he said. Blinken did not attribute blame and added that he discussed the attack with Kurdistan Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

Feb 15 07:42

Iraq MP: Turkey Doesn’t Have Permission to Deploy Large Numbers of Troops Here

Iraqi MP Abbas Sarout, a member of the nation’s defense committee, told reporters on Friday that the “blatant Turkish incursion” into northern Iraq was unacceptable, and that chasing down PKK members was just “an excuse.”

Sarout says Turkey does not have permission to deploy large numbers of troops into Iraq, and urged the government to take diplomatic measures to protect Iraqi sovereignty.

This has been an ongoing problem for Iraq since the 2003 US occupation, as Turkey has been intermittently coming into the country to hunt Kurds of various stripes ever since. Iraq’s central government has objected, but that’s usually the beginning and end of the exchange. Turkey has reported the latest operations a success, but that’s at most a brief prelude to announcing another operation.

Feb 11 09:24

Iraq’s Shia leader al-Sadr backs early vote ‘supervised’ by UN

Iraqi Shia Muslim leader Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called for early elections overseen by the UN, in a rare news conference outside his home in the southern city of Najaf.

Iraq is expected to hold early parliamentary elections this year, a central demand of an anti-government protest movement which erupted in 2019 and backed by al-Sadr’s supporters.

Appearing in a surgical mask and traditional clerical robes, al-Sadr warned against further delays.

“Delaying the elections would be a disaster for Iraq,” said al-Sadr, warning that rival parties would try to rig the vote.

Feb 11 09:23

Sadr Brigade Takes to Streets of Baghdad in Show of Force

Members of the Saraya al-Salam, an armed brigade of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, have deployed in droves to several districts of the Iraqi capital after receiving information about “threats” to holy sites.

Iraqi official security and intelligence forces did not comment or release information about the existence of such threats that could spark a deadly civil war in the country.

Saraya al-Salam claimed that the threats were directed at both Sunni and Shiite holy sites.

Sadrist militants were deployed in the streets of Baghdad, as well as the provinces of Karbala and Najaf, according to footage shared on social media.

Feb 11 09:22

Iraqi activists eye political mainstream after protest movement crushed

Iraqi lawyer Hussein al-Ghorabi said he left his hometown of Nassiriya four months ago after an armed group threatened him over his political activism.

Now, as he moves around Iraq, he is trying to set up a political party that he and some fellow activists hope will challenge those in power whom they accuse of corruption and ineptitude.

He is one of scores of people from Nassiriya, the city at the forefront of a mass anti-government uprising in 2019, who have fled after receiving threats.

"We want to change the political class. Protesters have been asking, what can be an alternative to existing political parties? So we started to discuss creating that alternative," he said.

Feb 11 06:53

Why Victoria Nuland Is Dangerous and Should Not Be Confirmed

Victoria Nuland exemplifies the neocons who have led US foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years while evading accountability. It is a bad sign that President Joe Biden has nominated Victoria Nuland for the third highest position at the State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

As a top-level appointee, Victoria Nuland must be confirmed by the US Senate. There is a campaign to Stop her confirmation. The following review of her work shows why Victoria Nuland is incompetent, highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.

Afghanistan and Iraq

From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.

Feb 11 06:51

The inside story of how the Pentagon blocked efforts to end the Iraq War

Democratic lawmakers are pushing to finally take away the president’s blank check for war in Iraq — something that the Obama and Trump administrations had both tried to prevent.

Congress passed two authorizations for the use of military force, or AUMFs, in the wake of 9/11. The 2001 AUMF authorized war against al-Qaida, while the 2002 AUMF green-lit military action to stop “the threat posed by Iraq.” Two decades later, those laws have been stretched beyond recognition to justify dozens of military operations around the world.

The 2002 AUMF remains on the books, despite the fact that the occupation of Iraq has been over for a decade. Congress came close to repealing the law twice, only to be stopped by the Obama and Trump administrations. But the Biden administration may take a different approach.

Feb 09 09:32

59 Vehicles in Two Convoys Reportedly Snuck Into Syria From Iraq Carrying Equipment for US Forces

The Biden administration promised to reverse course on much of Trump’s foreign policy, freezing troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan, while hinting US willingness to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal if Tehran returned to its commitments. In Syria, however, the new president appears to be continuing on the course set by his predecessor.

Two convoys numbering a total of 59 vehicles have made its way into Syria from two separate directions, the Syrian Arab News Agency has reported, citing local sources on the ground.

One of the convoys reportedly consisted of 45 vehicles, including refrigerators, tankers and trucks carrying military vehicles, and was said to have entered the country through the Semalka border crossing between Iraqi Kurdistan and the US-backed Kurdish-controlled region of northern Syria. Damascus considers the Semalka crossing illegal since it is outside the government's control.

Feb 08 14:10

Iraqi intelligence forces seize large ISIS explosives warehouse

On Saturday, the Iraqi intelligence announced that it had seized the main storage for the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) explosives in the Al-Anbar Governorate.

The intelligence agency said in a statement obtained by Sputnik Arabic that its detachments represented by the Anbar Intelligence Directorate in the Ministry of Interior have seized the main storage of ammunition and explosive materials for the terrorist organization in between the districts of Heet and Kbisa.

The agency noted that ISIS fighters were intending to use the warehouse to carry out terrorist operations in the districts (Heet, Fallujah and Ramadi) within the Anbar Governorate.

Furthermore, they revealed that the detachments found inside the warehouse included (20) magnetic adhesive devices and (10) explosive belts, along with a wide variety of explosives like grenades.

The agency confirmed that the aforementioned materials have been removed and will be delivered to the competent authorities.

Feb 01 11:14

US military refusal to pull out troops to be met with Iraqi nation’s resistance, MP warns

An Iraqi lawmaker has stressed the need for the implementation of a resolution adopted by Iraq’s parliament concerning the expulsion of US-led foreign forces from the Arab country, saying that the Iraqi nation will resort to resistance in case the Pentagon refuses to abide by the decision.

"The decision to remove foreign troops from Iraq is an Iraqi matter. If the Iraqi government's political solutions for the withdrawal of foreign forces do not succeed, we will then resort to resistance to attain the objective,” Mohammed al-Baldawi, a member of the Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Committee, told the Arabic-language Baghdad Today news agency on Thursday.

He made the remarks as the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that authorities in Washington are counting on reconsidering the decision of former US president Donald Trump’s administration to reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Feb 01 08:58

Withdrawing Troops from Iraq and Syria Is Biden's Best Play to Avoid War in the Middle East

For the fifth time in two weeks, Iran conducted major military drills Jan. 19, with the show of force coming two days after the U.S. flew B-52 Stratofortresses near Iranian airspace.

If the Biden administration's objectives are to avoid war in the Middle East and keep America safe, continuing to apply the thoroughly discredited "maximum pressure" campaign is the last thing the new president should do. Though it may appear counterintuitive, withdrawing all our combat troops from Iraq and Syria is Biden's best play.

Some analysts suggest that the best way for Biden to respond to Iran's actions is to continue applying pressure to Tehran. But overwhelming evidence screams that maximum pressure on Iran has been an abysmal failure.

Feb 01 08:20

Iraqi anger grows after election postponement

Iraq’s leaders pushed to postpone parliamentary elections fearing public discontent would lead to their removal from power, an analyst with ties to the government says.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, President Barham Salih, and Speaker of the Parliament Mohammad al-Halbusi wanted a later vote over concerns about their prospects for re-election and sought to buy time, said Mohammad Bakhtiar, a Kurdish political analyst who meets regularly with Iraqi decision-makers.

Jan 30 11:01

Iraq Daily Roundup: 26 Killed

At least 26 people were killed, and three more were wounded in recent violence:

In Wadi al-Shay, 22 militants were killed during airstrikes and other operations.

An old bomb killed a child and wounded three more near Jalawla.

Three militants were killed during a clash in Rutba.

Jan 30 08:18

US military refusal to pull out troops to be met with Iraqi nation’s resistance, MP warns

An Iraqi lawmaker has stressed the need for the implementation of a resolution adopted by Iraq’s parliament concerning the expulsion of US-led foreign forces from the Arab country, saying that the Iraqi nation will resort to resistance in case the Pentagon refuses to abide by the decision.

"The decision to remove foreign troops from Iraq is an Iraqi matter. If the Iraqi government's political solutions for the withdrawal of foreign forces do not succeed, we will then resort to resistance to attain the objective,” Mohammed al-Baldawi, a member of the Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Committee, told the Arabic-language Baghdad Today news agency on Thursday.

He made the remarks as the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that authorities in Washington are counting on reconsidering the decision of former US president Donald Trump’s administration to reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Jan 29 13:37

The ‘humanitarian’ left still ignores the lessons of Iraq, Libya and Syria to cheer on more war

Jonathan Cook says some leftwing "cheerleaders" have not learned the lessons of the West's catastrophic military interventions in the Arab world and are now partaking in Western belligerence towards China and Russia, to the benefit of the ruling elites in London and Washington, and arms manufacturers. >>

Jan 28 06:17

WORTH THE PRICE? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War (narrated by Danny Glover)

Jan 26 07:23

Iraq: Biggest Corruption Scandal in History

In her article “Iraq’s century of humiliation in the globalised age”, Aneela Shahzad writes:

“In May 2020, the Special Representative of Secretary General for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq announced that the poverty rate in Iraq would double to 40% from around 20%, where it currently stands, ‘the Iraqi economy is expected to contract by 9.7% in 2020… (and) there will be a decrease in economic opportunities.’ How is there a 350% increase in oil production and only ‘decrease’ in economic opportunities for the Iraqi people? The people, whose cities have been bombed to ruins from Fallujah to Mosul; of whom over three million were killed and over two million displaced during the war; and who have been suffering disease and death due to shortage of food and medicine for the last four decades.”

Jan 25 08:08

US Never Ending Wars: Thirty Years Ago, America’s “First War” against Iraq

Thirty years ago. The so-called “Gulf War” (Iraq War I) was launched against Iraq on January 17, 1991.

Extensive crimes against humanity have been committed.

On January 16, President George H. Walker Bush announced the start of what was called “Operation Desert Storm”, which was portrayed as “a peace-making operation” allegedly “to expel occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait”.

Remember: The 1991 Gulf War: The Massacre of Withdrawing Soldiers on “The Highway of Death”

There for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. The cabs of trucks were bombed so much that they were pushed into the ground, and it’s impossible to see if they contain drivers or not. Windshields were melted away, and huge tanks were reduced to shrapnel.

Jan 25 08:05

Towards US “Hyper-interventionism” in the Middle East? Biden’s Secretary of State Nominee Anthony Blinken

If Biden uses this sudden – and convenient – unrest in Iraq as a trigger to return US troops (and bombs), it should not surprise anyone. As Professor Barbara Ransby points out in this video, Biden did much more to make the disastrous 2003 attack on Iraq happen than just vote “yes” on the authorization to use force. As Professor Ransby reminds us, Biden used the full power of his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ensure the Senate approved George W. Bush’s lie-based war on Iraq. Biden prevented any experts who challenged the “Saddam has WMDs and he’s about to use them” narrative from being heard by Members of Congress, guaranteeing that only the pro-war narrative was heard.

As much as Bush or Cheney, Biden owns the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, which killed a million Iraqi civilians. And he may well be taking us back.

Jan 22 07:20

‘Back Into Wars on the First Day’: Trump Jr Blasts Biden Amid Reports US Could Beef Up Iraq Presence

Baghdad was rocked by twin terrorist attacks on Thursday, with at least 32 people killed and 110 injured. Daesh (ISIS)* claimed responsibility. In its final days in office, the Trump administration made good on a longstanding commitment to draw US troop numbers in Iraq down from about 5,800 to 2,500 troops total.

Donald Trump, Jr. has taken aim at President Joe Biden over a news report suggesting that the new administration may treat Thursday’s Baghdad bombing as a pretext to scale up America’s military footprint in Iraq.

“Getting back into wars on the first full day. The Swamp/War Inc. is thrilled right now,” Trump wrote, referring to the ‘the Swamp’ of Washington, DC corruption, and the US military-industrial complex.

Jan 19 09:21

Alleged US Airstrikes Reported in Iraq

Explosions were reported south of Baghdad in the Iraqi town of Jurf al-Sakhar overnight on Monday in what could have been US airstrikes, although nothing has been confirmed. Nine people have been reported killed in the incident, according to local sources and Arab news outlets.

Sources close to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a group of mostly Shia state-sponsored militias, told Iran’s PressTV that the attacks were carried out by F-16 warplanes and drones.

The PressTV report said the location of the alleged airstrikes was where PMF forces and Kataib Hezbollah used to be stationed, although they said the attacks targeted and killed members of Iraq’s regular army. Kataib Hezbollah is a Shia militia that the US has previously targeted.

Although there is speculation that the US was responsible, a senior Pentagon official told Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin that there were no US airstrikes in Baghdad overnight on Monday.

Jan 08 11:45

Iraq Issues Arrest Warrant for Trump Over Soleimani Killing

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for outgoing President Donald Trump in connection with the killing of an Iranian general and a powerful Iraqi militia leader last year, Iraq's judiciary said.

The warrant was issued by a judge in Baghdad's investigative court tasked with probing the Washington-directed drone strike that killed Gen. Qassim Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the court's media office said. They were killed outside the capital’s airport last January.

Al-Muhandis was the deputy leader of the state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group composed of an array of militias, including Iran-backed groups, formed to fight the Islamic State group.

Soleimani headed the expeditionary Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Jan 04 10:40

In pictures: Iraqis converge on Baghdad airport to remember Soleimani, Muhandis on assassination anniv.

Iraqi people converged on Baghdad International Airport Saturday night to pay tribute to Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top anti-terror commander, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi anti-terror force,?? on the first anniversary of their ??assassination in a US drone strike near the airport on January 03, 2020.

Jan 04 10:38

Iraqis demand US troops pull out on Soleimani killing anniversary

Thousands of Iraqi mourners have condemned the “American occupiers”, a year after a United States drone strike killed Iran’s revered general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The anniversary of their deaths in Baghdad – which brought arch enemies the US and Iran to the brink of war – was also marked on Sunday in Iran and by supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Jan 04 09:13

Why invent conspiracies when you have the neocons starting the Iraq war

Heather Cox Richardson, a history prof at Boston College, is a star commenter these days (heralded by the NYT and my wife who listens to her podcast); and CSPAN aired an appearance Richardson made last May about her Civil War book in which she discussed conspiracy theories and the neocons who got us into the Iraq War. Long excerpt:

Jan 02 07:32

Israeli Military Preparing For ‘Iran-Backed’ Attacks From Iraq and Yemen

According to a report in Israeli media, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing for a possible strike from “Iran-backed militias” in Iraq and Yemen. The IDF reportedly held talks last week about possible attacks from Iraqi militias and the Houthis in Yemen.

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, both Israel and the US have been overblowing the threat of possible Iranian retaliation. Israel, like the US, likes to conflate any Shia group in the Middle East with Iran, despite the many different factions and sects.

For example, the Houthis are a Zaydi Shia group and practice a different form of Shiism than the mullahs in Iran. The Houthis are also an entirely homegrown movement and are not the Iranian proxy the US and its allies portray them to be. Zaydi Shia Imams ruled the area of north Yemen the Houthis now control for over 1,000 years until 1962.

Jan 02 07:28

‘Naval BOMB’ prone to ‘sudden explosion’ found on hull of Iraqi tanker as Iran warns US may use false-flag attack to start war

Explosives experts were called in to defuse a naval mine found attached to the hull of an oil tanker as it departed an Iraqi port, prompting an evacuation of the ship’s crew amid simmering tension in the Gulf.

Iraqi authorities confirmed the discovery on Friday morning through the semi-official Security Media Cell Twitter account, saying a “foreign body” was spotted on the vessel as it entered international waters in the Persian Gulf on Thursday afternoon, some 28 nautical miles (52km) off Iraq’s coast.

“Immediately a team for handling explosives was formed from the Ministry of Interior,” the Security Cell continued, adding that the team was “still working to neutralize the mine and evacuate the target ship, and our naval forces are making a great effort with the bomb team to accomplish this mission.”

The tanker, rented from Iraq’s government-run Oil Marketing Company (SOMO), was in the area to refuel another vessel, which was successfully evacuated after the bomb was found.

Dec 31 07:54

US Sends Dozens of Armored Fighting Vehicles to Iraqi Military

On Wednesday, the US announced it sent 30 armored vehicles to the Iraqi military to help secure Baghdad.

“The United States is committed to helping the Iraqi military maintain the security of Iraq and Baghdad,” the US embassy in Baghdad said in a Facebook post.

The move comes after a rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone, that the US blamed on Iran, despite Tehran’s clear interest in avoiding provoking the US before President Trump leaves office.

US officials are also warning of potential “Iranian-linked” attacks on US forces in Iraq due to the upcoming anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd.

Dec 30 13:46

US B-52 bombers headed to Mid East amid intel of ‘complex attack planning’ against Americans in Iraq

U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers made a “deliberate appearance” in the Middle East on Tuesday to deter potential attacks against U.S. troops amid intelligence showing “complex attack planning” in Iraq.

A CENTCOM statement provided to American Military News confirmed the deployment of the two bombers from Minot Air Force Base’s 5th Bomb Wing, adding that the deployment “delivers a clear deterrent message to anyone who intends to do harm to Americans or American interests.”

Dec 30 07:10

Iraq today is a nightmare that Americans largely sleep through

What does it look like when you “liberate” a country that hasn’t asked for it, when you unleash a violent chain of events creating the conditions for an even worse tyranny than before?

Those who witnessed Iraq in the wake of the American invasion in 2003, the failures of reconstruction, and the rise and fall of ISIS, say one need look no further than that country today to get your answer.

Dec 30 07:09

Two US military convoys attacked in S Iraq

According to the Iraqi sources on Tuesday two US convoys were targeted in the southern provinces of Iraq.

A convoy was targeted in Al-Diwaniyah province in the south of Iraq, Sabrin News reported.

Al-Sumaria news also reported that the convoy was affiliated with the international coalition and was targeted on the Al-Diwaniyah international Road.

The Shafaq News quoted a security source as saying that a bomb had exploded in the path of the convoy, damaging one of the vehicles.

Minutes after the news was reported, Saberin News announced that another US convoy had been targeted in the city of Samawah in Muthanna Province.

Dec 29 07:36

I witnessed the fear inspired by Blackwater and the military in Iraq

The first time I saw Blackwater contractors in action was one morning in 2005 on al-Mansour street in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. In the middle of the bridge, heavily armed contractors emerged from a vehicle driving north, blocked the traffic by pointing their machine guns in all directions, including mine, and moved what seemed to be a VIP they were presumably protecting.

They then jumped into another vehicle with tinted windows heading south, in the opposite direction. In the time between the contractors’ emergence from the first vehicle and their entry into the second, everybody on the street froze, anticipating that bullets could start flying at any moment given the gunmen’s aggressivity and menacing behavior — to the point where my driver ducked and forgot to push on the brakes, allowing his car to roll forward and hit the one ahead.

Dec 22 07:47

Pompeo Blames ‘Iran-Backed’ Militias for Baghdad Rocket Attack

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed “Iran-backed” groups in Iraq for a Sunday rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“Iran-backed militias once again flagrantly and recklessly attacked in Baghdad, wounding Iraqi civilians,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. No deaths were reported in Sunday’s attack, but some reports said Iraqis were injured by the barrage of rockets.

Iran denied involvement in the attack. “Attacking diplomatic and residential premises is not acceptable,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said.

Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi Shia group that is seen as close to Iran, also denied responsibility for the attack. The group issued a statement on the incident, calling it “uncontrolled” and “a threat to civilian lives.”

Dec 17 13:14

Camp closures force Iraqi families back to shattered homes

After living in a camp for three years, 70-year-old Merhi Hamed Abdullah returned to his village west of the city of Mosul to find it in ruins — his first glimpse of home since Iraq defeated the Islamic State group.

To shelter his family of seven, Abdullah resurrected the tent he had hurriedly packed as the government closed Hamam Alil camp last month, forcing him and 8,500 others to return to devastated hometowns and an uncertain future.

All around Abdullah, 200 other returnee families in the remote village of Debaja followed suit. The sweeping plains are dotted with burned-out shells of broken homes and, next to them, the tents they have erected, emblazoned with the unmistakable logo of the U.N. refugee agency. Without running water or electricity, Debaja is pitch black at night. Few have steady work.

“If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have left,” Abdullah said. “It wasn’t.”

Dec 16 11:14

RUSSIAN FORCES ESTABLISH PRESENCE ON SYRIAN-IRAQI BORDER

Over the past weeks, the Syrian Army and its allies have intensified their operations against ISIS cells hiding in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert.

According to pro-government sources, during the past few days, Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militias carried out a series of raids to the south of the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway and southeast of al-Mayadin. Pro-militant media outlets clam that over 10 Syrian soldiers and 15 ISIS members died in these clashes.

The Russian Aerospace Forces also resumed their strikes on ISIS targets in the desert region. Pro-opposition sources say that the Russians delivered over 100 airstrikes. Indeed, the intensity of this campaign demonstrates that the regularly resurfacing ISIS cells, which actively exploit the state of chaos on the Syrian-Iraqi border, pose a notable security threat.

Dec 16 07:19

Iraq to Sue US over Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons: Official

An adviser to the Iraqi parliament’s foreign affairs committee said the Baghdad government is planning to lodge an international lawsuit against the US for using internationally-banned munitions in civilian areas.

Hatif al-Rikabi told Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency in an interview that Iraq is going to file the case at Swedish and German courts over appalling crimes that Washington has perpetrated in the Arab country, including the use of depleted uranium weapons.

Rikabi went on to say that such a measure will ensure international accountability for the US, and will not give it the chance to procrastinate the case.

“Hundreds of cancer cases are recorded every month (in Iraq), and the figure is clear evidence for the extent of the damage that US forces have committed,” he stated, calling on the Iraqi Health Ministry to “release facts and figures about casualties caused by US bombing campaigns,” Press TV reported.

Dec 15 07:34

Ignore the Spin, The Hague’s ICC Ruling on British War Crimes in Iraq Is Damning

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court recently reported that there was “reasonable basis to believe” that British troops committed war crimes in Iraq. She declared that there was evidence of crimes including unlawful killing, rape, torture and inhumane treatment of detainees.

Ben Wallace, the UK’s Defence Secretary, responded to this report by saying that it “vindicates our efforts to pursue justice”.

Several headlines about this report have focused on the ICC’s decision not to open a full-scale investigation into British war crimes. But the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, made clear that this is not due to a lack of evidence. It is based on a procedural technicality.

The ICC is not supposed to investigate crimes unless there is evidence that they are not being investigated properly by the country concerned. They concluded that there was insufficient evidence that authorities in the UK were deliberately shielding armed forces from investigation.

Dec 14 07:09

Protests flare in Iraq's Kurdish north

Kurdish authorities in Iraq are struggling to quash wildcat protests as frustration at delayed public-sector payments and decades of mismanagement have boiled over into street violence.

The protests now highlight the magnitude of the economic and political dysfunction shaping the lives of ordinary Iraqis, now spilling into the relative calm of the Kurdish-controlled areas in the north.

Dec 08 08:13

Pope Frances Will Make 'High Risk' Official Visit To Iraq In March

The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis plans to break his 15-month hiatus from international travel, a delay which was also largely to blame on the coronavirus pandemic, by visiting Iraq in the Spring of 2021.

It's being widely reported as a surprising and "risky" trip given the tense security situation there, also as COVID-19 infections spike globally. It's planned for March 5-8.

According to the official announcement Monday, "He will visit Baghdad, the plain of Ur, linked to the memory of Abraham, the city of Erbil, as well as Mosul and Qaraqosh in the plain of Nineveh," said the Vatican Press Office.

Dec 03 08:37

US Pulling Diplomats Out of Embassy in Baghdad Amid Heightened Tensions

The Trump administration is removing about half of its diplomats from the Baghdad embassy in Iraq amid heightened tensions with Iran, Politico reported on Wednesday. The staff reduction is said to be temporary and comes after the assassination of a prominent Iranian scientist.

Iraqi officials told AFP the move was being made out of security concerns. “It’s a minor drawdown based on security reservations from the US side. They could come back — it’s just a security blip,” one source said.

The US embassy was the site of frequent rocket attacks that ramped up after the US assassinated Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in January. Soleimani was killed alongside Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), a group of mostly Shia Iraqi state-sponsored militias formed in 2014 to fight ISIS. The killing enraged the Shia militias inside Iraq.

Dec 02 06:58

Iraq: Sadrists' deadly violence prompts fears for upcoming elections

Hopes for peaceful preparations ahead of parliamentary elections in Iraq next year were dealt a worrying blow over the weekend as supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr confronted anti-government protesters, with deadly results.

Tens of thousands of the influential Shia cleric's supporters hit the streets of Baghdad and the southern city of Nasiriyah over the weekend in a show of force as preparations ramp up for June parliamentary elections.

Nasiriyah was a hub for the 2019 anti-government protests and was also the site of one of the bloodiest incidents of the uprising last November, when more than three dozen people died in protest-related violence, prompting the government to resign.

Dec 01 08:00

Reports: Airstrike Killed Iranian Commander Near Iraq-Syria Border

Iraqi sources told several Arab media outlets on Monday that an airstrike near the Iraq-Syria border killed a commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The strike reportedly occurred either late Saturday or early Sunday, and some accounts say it was a drone strike.

Some of the sources identified the slain military leader as Muslim Shahdan, a senior IRGC commander. Other reports say the IRGC commander could not be identified, but all accounts say three other people were killed in the same event. The commander was reportedly struck in a vehicle that was entering Syria from Iraq.

Iran has yet to confirm or deny the report, but if it is true, the IRGC commander’s killing comes just days after prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed inside Iran and would ratchet up tensions in the region even more. All indications point to Israel being responsible for Fakhrizadeh’s death.

Dec 01 07:57

Thousands of Iraqis Protest in Nasiriyah After Crackdown on Protesters As Death Toll Rises

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah on Monday, attending a funeral march for protesters who died in last week’s clashes between the demonstrators and supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr.

Last week’s clashes culminated Friday when Ridha al-Rikaby was shot in the head and died. His funeral was where the Monday rally started. This brings the death toll to eight. PM Kadhemi sent officials to talk with the protesters.

The protesters are complaining that, just like last year, they are being killed right under the government’s nose, and officials have failed to hold anyone accountable.

Nov 30 07:37

Offering a ‘Return to Normalcy,’ Biden Pledges Troop Surges in Iraq and Afghanistan

After promising a return to normalcy after four turbulent years under his predecessor, President-elect Joe Biden took concrete steps in that direction today by pledging to order troop surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan on his first day in office.

“Americans today are more divided than ever before,” the former vice president said in a speech. “And those deep divisions are reflected here in Washington at the highest levels of government.”

“It seems like the last time Congress achieved a true bipartisan consensus was when we authorized the use of military force against Iraq back in 2002,” Biden said. “Those halcyon days can be ours again — and they will be, once troop levels return to 10,000 in both Iraq and Afghanistan!”

Nov 29 08:35

The War Crimes of Bush and Blair – Afghanistan and Iraq

“The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law…We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’.” (Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize for Literature Speech, 2005)

Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York, on September 11, 2001, (known as 9/11) the US declared a global war on terror. Since then it has destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It has supported the destruction of Yemen, and the attempted destruction of Syria. (Libya, Syria and Yemen will be discussed in a subsequent post).

Nov 28 08:02

Iraqi children 'forced to live among corpses and bombs' after camp closures

Iraqi children are living in squalor among "corpses, unexploded bombs and rubble", the Save the Children charity said on Friday after the closure of several camps for the interally displaced.

The IDP camp closures come as part of a plan to relocate around a quarter of a million people back to their areas of origin.

But many of those areas are ill-prepared to resettle families who fled the extremist Islamic State group, Save the Children said on Friday.

More than 300 families were recently forced out of the Yahyawa camp in Kirkuk and have since returned to Mosul, Eiyadiah and Tal Afar in the Nineveh governerate in northern Iraq.

Nov 27 12:02

Rand Paul Says He Will Ask Biden’s Secretary Of State Pick Tony Blinken To Apologize For Supporting War In Iraq

Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he will ask President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, to apologize for supporting the war in Iraq.

In a Tuesday interview with Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto, Paul criticized a few of Biden’s cabinet picks, especially Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser. Biden announced Monday that Blinken would serve as his secretary of state. Paul said he is very concerned about foreign policy under the Biden administration.

“On foreign policy, I am very worried that there will be a big shift, and it’s back to those who believe that we should militarily intervene abroad in a big way. You have neoconservatives on the right who wants to intervene for geopolitical reasons, but then you have liberals, like Blinken and Samantha Power and others, who want to intervene for humanitarian reasons,” Paul said in the interview.

Nov 18 08:45

Promises Kept: Trump To Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan And Iraq

According to media reports, President Trump is set to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before January next year.

The move would be another promise kept by the President, who has long been a critic of both the Iraq War and the 19-years-running War in Afghanistan.

Thousands Of Troops To Leave Afghanistan And Iraq
US officials told the Associated Press that President Trump would take thousands of troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, mostly from the former.

Nov 18 08:15

Rockets Target US Embassy In Baghdad Just As Trump Ordered Troop Draw Down

Coming less than within an hour of President Trump announcing his troop draw down order in Iraq and Afghanistan Tuesday afternoon, a hail of rockets fell near the US embassy in Baghdad.

Local and regional reports say at least five rockets were fired on the fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital and that four struck near the American compound.

Nov 18 08:12

'They destroyed our life': Iraqi Kurds fear Turkey's drones in PKK mountain war

Fighting a guerilla movement in the mountains of northern Iraq is not an easy endeavour, even for Nato’s second largest army.

While the usage of sophisticated drone technology has given Turkey an aerial advantage, it has not proven enough to take down the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

But the ongoing military campaign in northern Iraq has succeeded in stoking tensions between different factions in the country's autonomous Kurdish region, as well as having a catastrophic impact on the civilian population.

Middle East Eye was able to speak with inhabitants of the areas where Turkey has deployed and maintains strict surveillance of the countryside with drones.

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