Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 08, 2019

Grand Ayatollah Sistani Warns Against U.S. Coup Plot In Iraq

Protests in Lebanon and Iraq were caused by internal problems but are manipulated by external forces. Today an Iraqi leader exposed those forces which might well bring that problem to an end. Lebanon will still have to suffer through more strife.

AFP reports of more bloody protests in Iraq:

Anti-government protests in Iraq entered their third week with fresh bloodshed on Friday, as leaders appeared to have closed rank around the country's embattled premier.

More than a dozen demonstrators died in Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra within 24 hours, medical sources told AFP.

The reporter listened to some protesters and it is interesting what voices s/he chose to repeated:

"Even if it comes down to the last man, we have to enter the Green Zone and bring it down," another protester shouted.

"We'll announce our people's revolution from there against everyone who stole from us -- Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, Qais al-Khazaali, Hadi al-Ameri!" he said.

Khazaali and Ameri are leading commanders in the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, which has publicly backed the government after protests erupted.

It was founded in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group, drawing from a host of Shiite armed factions, many of which have close ties to Iran.

A month ago we wrote that the legitimate protests in Iraq and Lebanon are used by the U.S. for coup attempts financed by Saudi money. The actual target of the coup attempts are those groups who have the support of Iran - Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Hashd al Shaabi in Iraq. That is why the AFP piece quotes those who attack the leaders of the Hashed which was founded, trained and equipped by Iran. It is now standard in 'western' reporting to falsely depict the protests as being against those entities.

We also warned that these protest might escalate:

The best strategy for the legitimate protesters is to press the current governments for reform. The governments in Iraq and in Lebanon have both already agreed to make certain changes. The protesters should accept those and pull back. If the politicians do not stick to those commitments the protesters can always go back into the streets and demand more.

Unfortunately there are external actors with lots of money who want to prevent that. They want to throw both countries into utter chaos or even civil wars because they hope that it will weaken those factions that have good relations with Iran.

In Lebanon there was some violence by followers of the Shia Amal movement against a protesters tent camp. 'Western' media falsely attributed the violence to Hizbullah. In Iraq the guards of a government building in Karbala shot at protesters who tried to breach its gate. Some 'western' media falsely alleged that those shooters were Iranians.

But external actors have made such bids before only to fail to achieve the wanted results.

The AFP last line is curious:

On Friday, the country's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said there should be "no more procrastination" on finding a "roadmap" to end the crisis.

Sistani said much more than that (in Arabic).

He urged the politicians in power to lay out a specific roadmap of reforms to end corruption, to end sectarian/political quotas and for social justice. He called that a 'unique opportunity'. He urged the legitimate protesters and the government to stay peaceful.

Then came the really important parts (machine translated):

Fourth: There are parties and internal and external parties that have played a prominent role in the past decades in Iraq, which has been severely harmed and subjected to the oppression and abuse of Iraqis, and it may seek today to exploit the ongoing protest movement to achieve some of its objectives. Participants in the protests and others should be Great caution against the exploitation of these parties and any loophole through which they can penetrate their gathering and change the course of the reform movement.

The external parties that Sistani calls out are of course the U.S. which invaded Iraq and the Saudis who financed the Islamic State. That Sistani is directly pointing to them is extraordinary.

The last part of Sistani's message is equally important:

Fifth: Our pride in the armed forces and those who joined them in the fight against ISIS terrorism and defending Iraq as a people, land and sanctities have a great credit to everyone, especially those who are stationed to this day on the borders and the following sensitive sites, we should not forget their virtues and should not forget They hear any word that detracts from their grave sacrifices, but if it is possible today to hold peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins away from the harm of terrorists, it is thanks to these heroic men, they have full respect and appreciation.

Sistani, who is not pro-Iran, is fully supporting the Hashd al-Shaabi. The external actors who want to use the protest to put Hashd down will fail.

After the U.S. invaded Iraq its viceroy Paul Bremer planned to install a proxy government without any elections. It was Ayatollah Sistani who prevented that when he publicly decreed that the U.S. had to let the Iraqis decide for themselves. The Marja had spoken, the U.S. had to back down and elections were held. His statement today is of similar importance and weight.

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 13:13 UTC · Nov 8, 2019

Grand Ayatollah Sistani (via Sheikh Karbala'ei) warned of internal/external (countries/players) interference in the protests.

Most important:
Stresses respect for armed forces & Hashd al-Shaabi: "All those who fought against terrorism and still are on the frontline"

Grand Ayatollah Sistani (via Sheikh Karbalaei) warned explicitly #SaudiArabia and the #US, responsible for what had happened to Iraq (ISIS and the destruction that came with it), from interfering with the protestors.

Very very strong message.

I knew S Sistani for many years. I can tell: this is unheard off and never ever Sayyed Sistani was so clear and direct, without saying the names of the countries involved, in accusing foreign intervention.

His defence of Hashd al-Shaabi is putting an end to all naive analysts.

Sistani's statement likely also puts an end to the violent protesters. Those who continue to fight or storm government buildings will now be seen as U.S. and Saudi agents. It is now also likely that the coup attempt will fail and that the Iraqi government will survive. But it will have to implement the reforms the genuine protesters are asking for. 

That should be doable as Iraq has significant income and can finance reforms.

The situation in Lebanon is way more difficult. The sectarian warlords and politicians who traditionally reign over the country and share the spoils are unwilling to leave their positions. There is always the chance of another civil war and the country is nearly bankrupt. It will require more delicate negotiations, or even violence, to effect some change.

Posted by b on November 8, 2019 at 19:40 UTC | Permalink


@ b who wrote
After the U.S. invaded Iran its viceroy Paul Bremer planned to install a proxy government without any elections.

I think you want to change Iran to Iraq

Good posting otherwise and thanks

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 8 2019 19:58 utc | 1

Here's a random thought about Iraq.

Before the United States invaded Iraq, they said that the war would pay for itself because of Iraq's vast oil wealth. Well, it's been a while and Iraq has not been reconstructed.

Iraq is apparently getting about a quarter of a billion dollars per day from oil revenues. That's about 90 billion dollars a year. Something like a trillion dollars in a decade.

They say that a lot of this money is being lost to 'corruption'. But tell me: does anyone really think that the western elites would let a bunch of local yokel politicians just walk off with that kind of loot? I mean, that's serious money.

I suggest that the invasion of Iraq really was about the oil. That a lot of those revenues are being funneled - not to the government of the United States, but to politically connected insiders. Maybe through straight graft, or maybe laundered through various bogus 'development' contracts. As in: some contractor gets a billion dollars to build a water treatment plant. 50 million goes to local graft. 50 million goes to a mostly empty dysfunctional shed that never works. And 900 million dollars somehow makes its way into the pockets of some very rich westerners.

Our continued engagement with that country might not just be about pig-headed geopolitical obstinacy. The right people might be making a whole heck of a lot of cash from the status quo.

Just thinking out loud. I don't have proof that it is this way. You have proof that it isn't?

Posted by: TG | Nov 8 2019 20:03 utc | 2

TG "Just thinking out loud. I don't have proof that it is this way. You have proof that it isn't?"

The place to start would looking up contractors that take on major contracts in Iraq.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 8 2019 20:24 utc | 3

Sistani's message echoes that of Nasrallah's, almost verbatim excepting the differing contexts. I provided this link to As’ad AbuKhalil--the Angry Arab--backgrounder on the corruption lying at the root of Lebanon's troubles which will prove difficult to solve. As I wrote earlier, both Iraq and Lebanon had similar constitutions imposed on them by imperialist outsiders that have yet to be jettisoned and replaced by native written constitutions that do away with the sectarian ratios plaguing both nations. Getting the Outlaw US Empire out of the picture from both nations, Iraq in particular as it fuels the corruption, would help greatly.

IMO, as with Hong Kong, these attempts reflect the last desperate gasps of the Anglo-Americans to keep their influence within the region, which MI-6 finds very important as it will likely be chopped down to size if Corbyn wins, thus the vicious nature of the UK's political fight as it goes way beyond Brexit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 8 2019 20:32 utc | 4

if leaders like sistani make these kinds of comments, what does it mean in the greater picture here? is this more important then an AP press release? does this mean iraqis are not welcoming americans with open arms? what happened to all the love that was going to great the americans?

i would be surprised if the money for contracts made it to the people of iraq... same deal in afganistan and everywhere else... a person doesn't even have to read trumps lips.. he said it is all about grabbing the oil...

Posted by: james | Nov 8 2019 20:37 utc | 5

great - greet..or just plain greek, lol..

Posted by: james | Nov 8 2019 20:38 utc | 6

Bernhard says...

The external actors who want to use the protest to put Hashd down will fail.

I agree with this completely...

We see an increasing desperation in the dirty tricks of the rotting empire...this points to one thing, they are aware that they are losing ground quickly and cannot hold they are throwing all in...

We see the same in Syria...the invasion by the Turks forced the US out of at least the northern border region...but the deep establishment quickly managed to stop the total pullout that Trump wanted...

Here again is a sign of desperation...and here again we see the empire turning to its favorite tried and true dirty trick...bought and paid for agitators...

Joint Russian-Turkish patrols are being pummeled with rocks by a handful of Kurds Turds...who are these nobodies representing...?

The train has already left the station and the majority of the northeast is a done deal as per the Sochi agreement and the SAA and Russian forces that have quickly moved in in strength...

The SDF Turds left hanging on in that speck of territory that the US retains are now speaking glowingly of 'resuming' their 'partnership' with the US...

Like that has any bearing on anything...since the Kurdish heartland is precisely in the northern border region which has been pried out of the US grasp forever...

Failure after failure is what happens when insanity rules...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 8 2019 20:45 utc | 7

I’d like to see a discussion of how best to get the usa out of Syria. I’ve grown weary of the logic that Russia cannot take the chance of a direct military conflict with a rabid usa, and thus Syria is not willing to confront the usa on it’s own. I believe the usa is hanging so far out on the limb of world and american opinion, that once the battle begins, the usa will have no recourse but to withdraw. I believe the Russians should stay out of any actual confrontation, that the Syrians can achieve their ends by first delivering their ultimatum in the UN, with a timetable of creeping artillery fire against al tanif, and then the oil fields. That’s my two cents.....i’ d appreciate hearing from commentors more experienced and learned than myself.

Posted by: Breadonwaters | Nov 8 2019 20:46 utc | 8


Any direct military action by Syria against the US will be destroyed.
Us has made an example of a few units that come too close to US red lines. A unit or two at Tanf that approached too close, a plane or two along the Euphrates and the Syrian units that attacked SDF hat wearing ISIS at the oilfields of Deir Ezzor.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 8 2019 20:59 utc | 9

Breadonwaters @8--

Syria and Russia are playing the long game. Consolidating the Northeast and dealing with Idlib are far more important while the position of the Outlaw US Empire is unsustainable. Think of terms of chess--The Empire's King's been in check numerous times, is once again and will need to move within an ever shrinking area of the board. Soon, it will no longer be able to move and Mate will occur, likely without the Russian/Syrian coalition having to take one shot as was the case in the Northeast. A more detailed explanation could be written, but above is the gist.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 8 2019 21:02 utc | 10

The problem in Syria is that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have refused to obey Trump’s lawful order to remove American troops. There has been some shuffling around to disguise the mutiny, but mutiny it is. The Joint Chiefs are all part of the American Deep State, and the outcome of Trump’s struggle to control American foreign policy, which is his right un der the Constitution, remains in doubt. It is still possible that the American Praetorians will remove Trump and replace him with a puppet, in which case the chaos in the Middle East will continue. It might even escalate into a very alrge regional war.

Posted by: bob sykes | Nov 8 2019 21:10 utc | 11

Are you not paying attention? It is literally happening right before your eyes. At the time Russia intervened the Assad government was teering on the edge of collapse and Turkey was fully onboard for this project acting as a staging ground. The US area of operation has collapsed. The SAA and Russia need to continue to gain back and hold territory. They have done so with minimal casualties and making agreements with Turkey and the kurds. If you want to know how to run a successful foreign policy look no further. This is it.

Posted by: Goldhoarder | Nov 8 2019 21:12 utc | 12

That should be teetering

Posted by: Goldhoarder | Nov 8 2019 21:13 utc | 13

bob sykes "The problem in Syria is that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have refused to obey Trump’s lawful order to remove American troops."

This bullshit becomes weaker and weaker by the day. US military in Syria is following orders.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 8 2019 21:37 utc | 14

Some very good comments by Peter, Karlof and Goldhoarder re giving the US the final push...

I agree with all points made, especially Karlof' actual confrontation is needed...time is on Syria's side...the shrinking US presence there and the excruciatingly stupid [and also shrinking] SDF Turds that have cast their lot with the US [as embodied by that absolute idiot Mazloum] are not even a factor in anything anymore...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 8 2019 21:41 utc | 15

Why would outside manipulators care what Sistani thinks?

Players gonna play.


The Birth pangs of Sunnistan?
Sadly, for Empire asshats, causing turmoil in Lebanon and Iraq makes a lot of sense. And it's probably cheap too.

If I was such an asshat, I'd want to keep Hezbollah busy in Lebanon and force Iraq to break apart.

Syrian oil fields and federated/independent Anbar = long-term US presence.

Just the opposite of the happy talk at the bar.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 8 2019 22:07 utc | 16

Goldhoarder #12

The US area of operation has collapsed. ... If you want to know how to run a successful foreign policy look no further. This is it.

Right on, and will continue on that slide. Iraq is slowly restoring sovereignty through various means with the recent demonstrations building solidarity between social pillars. Perhaps time will restore some framework of immunity to Israels perpetual belligerence.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 8 2019 22:25 utc | 17

@Breadonwaters #8

Tulsi is on it.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Nov 8 2019 22:40 utc | 18

Peter AU1 #14

Yep I fully agree that the USA Military in Syria and Iraq is absolutely following orders, likely even giving orders back home.

Corruption on this scale will continue until something like this occurs. Recently posted on a past thread.

But I agree strongly with the contention that there must be a massive graft and siphoning of Iraq's wealth underway. It is how the USA conducts business with all its vassal states. The Biden model, or perhaps the Clinton model of state plunder.

I guess we should be honest and call it the Obama Presidential model of black money. And it will continue with Trump blithely following in the steps of his predecessor President. Unless the USA people take to the ballot box in a revolutionary way.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 8 2019 22:43 utc | 19

uncle tungsten @19--

It's the Neoliberal/IMF/World Bank model developed during the 1970s. The initial Thomas Crown Affair showed how it worked with small potatoes prior to the digital age. All the CIA connections to Wall Street uncovered by the late Mike Ruppert were for laundering money--billions. He was onto it all. He was fearless, and in no way do I buy the story he killed himself.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 8 2019 23:30 utc | 20

@ bob sykes 11

“.....he f**ked us in Laos and he is f**king us in the goddam Vietnam......”

Does this movie line ring a bell? They already got rid of one president who wasn’t playing ball and wanted peace. They wont hesitate to do it again.

Posted by: Alpi | Nov 8 2019 23:51 utc | 21

@ Peter AU1 14

If you think that the president is the only one that gives “Orders” then I’m afraid you are turning a blind eye to realities of Washington. The president does not always have the last word, even if he signs the order contrary to his speeches. We have seen many instances of this in the past.

Posted by: Alpi | Nov 8 2019 23:57 utc | 22

karlof1 #20

Yep Ruppert and Michael Hastings went in the same fashion. In Hastings case it was demonstrated some years ago how simple it is to hack an auto electrics and take remote control.

The US army plays as hard as they can and definitely are not bystanders in this corruption. Think pallet loads of greenbacks in USA helicopters.

I think Lindsay Graham got the message when he was given the death stare at McCain's funeral by the good General. That fabulous video has either been disappeared or relegated to the end of the youtube queue. But he is slightly more amenable these days.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 9 2019 0:13 utc | 23

There is one significant error in b’s analysis.

The protestors don’t want reform enacted by the government.

They want a new government structure.

There is no faith in the government resigning, nor promising reforms- they’ve been promising this from the beginning, with the same results each time.

Posted by: Moko | Nov 9 2019 0:30 utc | 24

@uncle tungsten 17

It is how the USA conducts business with all its vassal states. The Biden model, or perhaps the Clinton model of state plunder.
Only the most mindless may think that any wars that US conducts are in US national interest. Totally, the opposite - they are against the US interest, but either in the interest of Israel or in the interest of some (usual) group of war-entrepreneurs, often both. It is the private profit why the Ziocons are so war-hungry. I would even venture that there would be no US & British & Israeli wars any more if there was no profit to be made during and, even more, after the war. And it is not only oil that is the target, then the poppy, the minerals and so on and so on. You may or may not know what some country has to be stolen, but rest assured that those conducting the war or "peaceful" regime change do know. Even if it is road toll or some shipping rights, the US & British war nobility will be sucking it out. Most commonly, the war-entrepreneurs reside inside "intelligence" agencies. The US intelligence agency entrepreneurs were sucking out Syrian oil long before Trump exposed them by stating that US will keep Syrian oil as long as the US occupation is possible (Trump could only hope that US as a nation is now getting this oil instead of the entrepreneurs).

It is simply amazing what can be sold. At the end of the US war on Vietnam, during withdrawal, the US "intelligence" & military entrepreneurs were selling US weapons to the Vietnamese, tanks, cannons, armored vehicles, anything that could not fly, that were supposed to be destroyed. A $400,000 US tank was going for about $5,000 and so on. Instead of blowing them up, they were leaving them behind or even delivering them to the Vietnamese using the heavy lift helicopters. Anything to stop the domino spread of communism throughout Asia, as you can tell.

Posted by: Kiza | Nov 9 2019 0:36 utc | 25

Sistani is right. Victory for the Iraqi people would not have been possible without Hashd al-Shaabi and all brotherly and friendly people who gave themselves to the cause. All good men should pray for the true and righteous freedom of the Iraqi land and people.

Posted by: Josh | Nov 9 2019 0:58 utc | 26

Kiza @25--

Joseph Heller spelled it all out in 1961--Catch-22; so, it began long before the Cold War. The Phil Silvers Show often simply known by the name of his character Sgt. Bilko, showcased the scheming of a US Army supply sergeant to make light of the sort of corruption we're discussing, albeit on a small scale. Such programming was very successful at getting people to laugh and look the other way or accept real world actions like those of the CIA replicated by the very popular Mission Impossible show. Manufacturing consent and acquiescence.

Moko @24--

Yes, changing government structure requires an updated or completely new constitution, which myself and others are saying regarding both Iraq and Lebanon whose current constitutions were forced upon them by Imperialist Powers without the consent of the people.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 9 2019 1:06 utc | 27

Thanks B. for an excellent update.. Sistani said there should be "no more procrastination".. to end the crisis. Sistani, who is not pro-Iran, is fully supporting the Hashd al-Shaabi. The external actors who want to use the protest to put Hashd down will fail. B says : this[kind of statement and full commitment of political capital] is unheard off and never ever [has] Sayyed Sistani [been].. so clear and direct, Supporting Hashd al-Shaabi is like announcing the firing mechanism to a massive weapon has been installed, the weapon loaded, and the commander seeking someone to step forward to unleash it.
Sistani's statement may be sufficient to put an end to western backed involvement in the middle east; but it might also be strong-enough to invite everyone to demand that the government eliminate all corrupt elements

I Agree,. the oil companies, the banking maggots and the nation state robbers ain't gonna like what I see coming..

Posted by: snake | Nov 9 2019 1:22 utc | 28

part 2 of 4 - e j magnier Lebanon and Iraq protestors: The US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fed up with Iran 2/4

Posted by: james | Nov 9 2019 1:23 utc | 29

Excellent article, B! Your writing really helps me to understand what's going on with the protests in Iraq and Lebanon. It's hard to say which is more strategically important to the US, Iraq or Lebanon but my guess is Lebanon due to the Hizbullah factor there that the Zionist entity sees as an existential threat. Any chaos there or a potential civil war is potentially very dangerous as I'm most certain the Zionist entity would exploit it for all its worth.

Posted by: Annie | Nov 9 2019 1:49 utc | 30

Any suggestions that the US is backing disorder in Lebanon are questionable. The United States has provided Lebanon more than $1.2 billion in U.S. economic assistance since 2006 to help it fix its economy, reform its public sector, and become a full-fledged democracy. And thanks to $1.5 billion in U.S. security assistance since 2006, Lebanon has been able to build almost from scratch a professional and capable army and security service. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 9 2019 3:09 utc | 31


MI6 will sadly not be cut down to size if Corbyn wins. He has no political base to be able to achieve such a thing, however much I would like to see it.

Posted by: Ash Naz | Nov 9 2019 3:16 utc | 32

@karlof1 27
I both read Catch22 and watched the movie. But, there is a big difference between a work of (humorous but depressing) fiction and a story by a witness. I heard the story about selling of heavy weapons to the Vietnamese from an Australian Vietnam war veteran, who was in the God's waiting room at the time. He had nothing to lose, whilst he was most stringently anti-war. Good basis for the truth to become a cleanser. I was told that apparently the grease was oozing quite high up the feeding chain (definitely higher than sergeant Bilko), up to high level "intelligence" civilians and a couple of (fallen) star generals. This is how the battle hardened Vietnamese military also became the best equipped in SE Asia. Later on, I heard from a totally different source that this was done to enable the Vietnamese to whoop the Chinese asses, but I wonder how those smart decisions always manage to land big wads on greenbacks into the right pockets: I keep opening my pocket but they only take out of it, nothing drops in.

Most people think about weapon manufacturers when they refer to MIC, some add "intelligence" and "press" to the complex. But the whole war business is much, much, much bigger than just the "MIC". For example, there are thousands of NGOs which ensure the delivery into the pockets of Clinton/Bidens and many smaller fish in the whole war-feeding hierarchy. Some twenty years ago I learned, to my surprise, that this war super-structure even has conferences. For example, when the leadership of White Helmets leaves Syria, they may not only visit Langley for instructions then go to a conference of similar organizations where they exchange experiences, or go to training by those who operated a similar business in some other lucky country.

I believe that it would not be an exaggeration to say that up to 20% of the current declining Western (US, Britain, France, Israel) economy is directly related to war, regime change and re-building of destroyed countries. Most of the money turned over by this industry comes from either:
1) pillaging the country or
2) from printing money and or indebting the future generations of tax payers to the war-entrepreneurs.
Therefore, this war scheme works because it does not raise taxes immediately, most of the expenditure is put on the national credit card. The war-entrepreneurs do all this war work selflessly to save us from the Muslims, from the Communists, from a "dictator" holding a smoking gun 45 minutes away from nuking us, or just plain to make this World a better place. It is unfortunate that making this World a better place does not come cheap. Also, they are doing such an important work that losing track of a few trillions of dollars along the way is nothing compared with the importance of their job. A trillion here and a trillion there and maybe you start talking about some serious money.

Posted by: Kiza | Nov 9 2019 3:38 utc | 33

Trumps hatred of Iran goes back to the Tehran embacy incident where Trump believes Iran humiliated the US.
Lebanon and Hezbollah. Sections of Trumps speech on the anniversary of the Beirut barracks bombing.

"In 1983, roughly 1,800 Marines were in Beirut to keep the peace in a nation torn apart by civil war. Terrorists had bombed the U.S. Embassy earlier that year, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans."

"At 6:22 a.m., the terrorist detonated the equivalent of 1,200 pounds, commonly known as 12,000 pounds — that’s a lot, and it’s terrible — of explosives, killing 3 American soldiers, 18 American sailors, and 220 United States Marines. That was a horrible moment."

"The attack was carried out by Hezbollah, which Iran was instrumental in founding a year earlier to advance its radical agenda, and remain its main patron today."

"Over the past year, we have levied the highest number of sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving their funds."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 9 2019 3:50 utc | 34

Don Bacon 31

Trump has put sanctions on Lebanon.

"Lebanon's president and parliament speaker decried on Wednesday new U.S. sanctions targeting two Hezbollah lawmakers, as the prime minister sought to reassure the public the fragile economy won't be affected."

"Aoun said the decision contradicts previous U.S. positions vouching for the commitment of Lebanon and its banking sector to international agreements combatting money laundering, funding terrorism and other criminal activities.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called the sanctions an aggression against the whole country and against Lebanese democracy. He called on the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union to take the necessary measures to deal with "the irrational behavior." It is not clear what the union can do."

"The Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri, one of Hezbollah's main local opponents, said the sanctions took a "new course" when they hit elected lawmakers but urged that the issue not be exaggerated to avoid aggravating already tense domestic relations.

"This will not affect parliament or the work that we do both in parliament and in the Council of Ministers," Hariri said during a function in Beirut. "It is important that we preserve the banking sector and the Lebanese economy, and God willing, this crisis will pass sooner or later.""

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 9 2019 3:59 utc | 35

The corruption in US military procurement goes all the way back, you can find it 1776, in the Civil War, you can find it in the French & Indian Wars, it's always there. Our Congress has always liked cash and has no real concern about the troops, and the same goes for the suppliers. FARS regulations were instituted to put an end to all that, but like all laws they don't do much unless enforced. Even in the 80s & 90s when I was working in defense they were not enforced, the game was rigged.

The Petrodollar has got all that hyped to the max, all that free money, pallets of cash, and no audits ever. Vietnam was particularly bad, because drugs among other things. Lot's of drugs coming home with the troops back then especially smack (heroin). I can remember the names but I think I won't. And then Bush went into Iraq ...

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 9 2019 11:27 utc | 36

Ash naz @ 32
Jeremy Corbyn leader of the U.K. Labour Party is the leader of the largest political party in the whole of Europe ! Your comment is ‘misinformation, deliberate or unintentional.
I suggest you stop believing the guardian newspaper.
On top of the above fact - - -
Nicola sturgeon head of the Scottish national party yesterday announced- - - That in the event of a hung parliament the SNP will form a coalition with labour.
The U.K. extremist right (Tory’s UKIP leave party ect ) are fractured.
Job done !
Yes I know this is off topic and should be on the open thread, but I could not let your mistaken statement go unchallenged.

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 9 2019 12:07 utc | 37

uncle tungsten | Nov 9 2019 0:13 utc | 23 (Ruppert/Hastings, et al)

Here's a quote in re:

Hale Boggs called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover. Boggs “accused Mr. Hoover and the bureau of tapping the telephones of members of Congress and of stationing agents on college campuses to spy on students and faculty members. He said these were `the tactics of the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Gestapo.’|“ [New York Times, April 6, 1971]

The following year the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace. The FBI later subjected Congress to a provocateur witch-hunt called ABSCAM, the members cooperating and implicating each other in fear of their careers.

END quote. (full @ tinyurl + /y2sneutn )
title> Hoover’s FBI and Anglo American Dictatorship

Nobody wants to remember how Walter Reuther died either...

Posted by: Walter | Nov 9 2019 13:53 utc | 38

I hope that you are right, Mark2@37, and I expect that Ash naz does too, but, as we have seen from the Chris Williamson business, Jeremy Corbyn is either unable or unwilling to take on the Fifth Column, full of blairite pro American stooges. And maybe he is right- dealing with the rapidly spreading poverty, the crumbling health service, liberating the media and strengthening the rights of labour are the building blocks of the powerful base that Ash naz knows will be needed to take on the Establishment directly.
And none of this is really off topic, either, because getting out of Iraq and distentangling from Israel's imperialist policies are parts of the job.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 9 2019 14:19 utc | 39

Sistani was in on this and hey, look who managed the whole thing.

Iraq factions reach deal to save government, 'end protests'; PM urges return to normal life

Iraq's political class has reached a consensus to protect Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi's government against protests sweeping the country's capital and south for weeks, sources told Agence France-Presse on Saturday (Nov 9).

The agreement is the product of a series of meetings, including gatherings led by Major-General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' foreign operations arm, the Qods Force.

He has met with top leaders in Najaf and Baghdad, piling on the pressure to close ranks around Abdel Mahdi.

A source present at some of those meetings told AFP Soleimani had met with populist cleric Moqtada Sadr, who had vocally backed the protests, and Mohammed Ridha Sistani, the son of Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

"Those meetings resulted in an agreement that Abdel Mahdi would remain in office," the source said.
Another source said political factions agreed this week to move forward on reforms if the premier and government stayed in place.

"Most of the heads of major blocs agreed in a meeting to keep Adel Abdel Mahdi and maintain power in exchange for reforms on corruption and constitutional amendments," said the source, a high-ranking member of a party that was represented at the gathering.

"They agreed to end the protests with any means possible and to reopen the bridges and shuttered streets," the official said.

Overnight, security forces began clearing out protest camps in Baghdad, the port city of Basra and the holy city of Karbala.

Abdul Mahdi said on Saturday that while protests were important in bringing about political reform, life in the country must now be allowed to return to normal.

"The protests have helped and will help pressure political groups, the government ... to reform and accept change. However, continuing protests must allow for a return to normal life, which will lead to legitimate demands being met," Abdul Mahdi said in a statement.

In a nod to protesters demands, he acknowledged that political parties had made "many mistakes" in the past 16 years, since the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Abdul Mahdi, who announced a spate of reforms during the first wave of protests last month, added that new electoral reforms would be announced in the "coming few days".

Posted by: b | Nov 9 2019 14:36 utc | 40

@31 Don Bacon

The US gave lebanon helicopters but no ammo, rocket launchers but no rockets...

When ISIS types took control over a Palestinian camp up north ( when Sa'ad Hariri didnt pay wages on time), Lebaron had to beg western countries for the money to buy some ammo... France came through with a couple million. It took the Lebanese army 3 months to take back an area that was about 1 km square

Posted by: les7 | Nov 9 2019 15:56 utc | 41

@ b in comment # 40 with the update....thanks

It is good to read the development of regional workings around evolution of social governance. This means to me that Iraq is moving closer to rejecting influence of empire and, in time, will tell the forces of empire to leave.

The ME can and should learn how to self govern and who knows, they may even decide to develop a coalition of countries to overcome the BS partitioning that past empires have forced on the region.

Good news indeed.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 9 2019 17:55 utc | 42

Followup @16

Looks like Sistani-Soleimani efforts are not working as hoped.

Iraq protests intensify: 4 demonstrators killed, 100+ injured in fresh clashes with security forces in Baghdad


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 9 2019 18:06 utc | 43

Breadonwaters @ 8:

A major development in very recent times that has forced US and Israeli attention away from Syria to Lebanon and Iraq is that Syria finally got the S300 anti-missile defence systems from Russia late last year. By now Syrian operators should be fully trained in their use. Israel now dares not attack Syria through Lebanese airspace by hitching rides in the radar shadows of non-combat aircraft and civilian passenger jets.

So Syria's enemies have been forced to change their strategy and have decided instead to attack Syria's allies in Hezbollah and Iranian forces, with the aim of either destroying them or isolating them from Syria. Opportunities to open a war front against Russia elsewhere (somewhere in eastern Europe) divert that nation's attention away from Syria are being studied.

The strategy for Syria and its allies is not to be drawn into situations of open war by attacking Turkish or US forces but instead to create situations where enemy forces are given a choice to leave Syrian territory voluntarily.

Posted by: Jen | Nov 9 2019 19:35 utc | 44

Corruption. Shouldn't be too hard to find the guilty just follow the money. Sometime ago it was reported that US oil companies in Iraq are paying $6 a barrel for oil at the well head. I doubt it has changed much, if at all. Chaos was always the goal of the West. Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria are all considered a success by the Zionist controlled West. Stealing oil from Iraq, Syria and Libya is the payoff, while in Afghanistan opium serves the same purpose.

Posted by: joetv | Nov 9 2019 19:57 utc | 45

Jackrabbit 43

Iraqi forces need to take out the provocateur that are working US Israel and Saudi's. I have no idea if Iraq is distinguishing between them and others but if they are targeting those throwing molotovs, they've probably got the right targets. On the other hand, it could also be snipers at work trying to create more trouble.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 9 2019 20:19 utc | 46

@TG 2

"I suggest that the invasion of Iraq really was about the oil." Bullshit.

I expected more informed debate on this site.

The invasion of Iraq was an unqualified success, insofar it achieved its aims: 1)divide Iraq into three hostile and antagonistic states and 2) the foremost aim, to make the Middle East safe for the bandit state of Israel.

However this did not all go to plan.

Unfortunately for the Anglo/ Zionist coalition this opened the door to Iranian influence in Iraq, an unintended consequence. to late to backpedal for the Anglo/ Zionist cabal, so they are now trying to foment more trouble.

The blueprint is easy to find: search for " A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" by Oded Yinon.

The 'war for oil' crowd make me sick. They can't bring themselves to blame the real driver : Israel and its Ziocon lobby, aided and abetted by their obsequious media. Get some guts.

Posted by: Paul NZ | Nov 9 2019 20:42 utc | 47

Sorry, I just got back this afternoon from my visit to Algeria, and I'm just catching up. Algeria, now that's another bunch of thorns which might be worth discussing on MoA sometime.

I commented a week or more ago, that if this was a US-inspired colour revolution in Iraq, it was unlikely to be going anywhere, as it is Shi'a youth against a Shi'a government. They were always likely to close ranks when it came down to it. And Sistani's pronouncement takes that very line.

The basis of the protests is of course somewhat gilets jaunes-ish. Popular revolt against popular suffering, against corruption. I've already recounted my personal experience with that corruption, and the protests are perfectly justified.

The problem with the idea of a US stimulated operation is that there's nobody better for the US who could be put in place. I never underestimate the stupidity of the US agents, but still they have to have a workable change. The US already has a veto on the choice of Prime Minister. Why were they not satisfied with the last they approved?

With regard to Sistani, I'm not as convinced as b that this was an open attack on the Americans. Sistani's aim is to calm the protests. A general attack on possible foreign interventions serves his purpose.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 9 2019 20:43 utc | 48

Awesome report and addendum, b; many thanks.
Makes me wish we had a Sistani and a Nasrallah in the US.

Posted by: robjira | Nov 9 2019 20:47 utc | 49

Peter AU1 @46

Yeah, they have to do something. But much of what they've been doing to date has failed or been counter-productive. It's strange that they've allowed themselves to be so vulnerable.

Sistani's words didn't end the protests, it just provided political cover for the crackdown. It seems to me that he wasn't even direct enough for common folk but it's hard for me to say for sure as I'm no expert on Sistani or Iraq. In any case, they didn't wait for Sistani's words to have effect.

Soleimani-orchestrated political unity doesn't seem like something "external forces" are likely to respect. More likely to spur them on.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 9 2019 20:52 utc | 50


The immediate future doesn't look good for Iraq. Plenty of fertile ground for those external forces.
The only way I see for Iraq to prevent from falling into anarchy (which would suit US and Israel) is for the government to continuously identify and take out the provocateurs while rectifying the problems the genuine protestors are protesting about. At the same time, the genuine protestors need to be kept under control enough that the country can continue to function and rectify those problems.
Lebanon the same.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Nov 9 2019 21:27 utc | 51

Karlof1, Mark2.

Noticed there was some discussion of British politics in amongst the comments on "b"'s analysis.

I'm not sure that the structure of the British political landscape is a clear cut as is implied. I suspect also that you may have some of that landscape wrong. Unless "Far Right" is used loosely as a pejorative term, there is no Far Right party of any significance in the UK.

As for the rest of it, we have our neocons and neoliberals - and how! - and also our Deplorables and our Progressives. Though to fit any of those categories to the current party structure is a real puzzle.

The whole obscured by tribal or class voting and further obscured by the fact that the ideological bent of the various parties is often not quite what people think they are voting for - as in the States, what one votes for and what thinks one is voting for are often two very different things.

As for Corbyn - as said before he's an Islington prog and very far removed from the fire in the belly Labour politicians of the old days. I think he might be that rare article - a conviction politician - but quite what those convictions are is difficult to determine.

Brexit's been a great nuisance to him. As with the Conservatives his party is split on the issue. He's not handled that very well, in fact none of them have, but once that's out of the way, if that ever happens, we might be able to see more clearly what he represents.

I suspect that might not be what you are hoping he represents.

Posted by: English Outsider | Nov 9 2019 23:36 utc | 52

English outsider @ 52
The Tory’s business model is to profit from exploiting cheap labour at home and abroad, personal profit. from international conflict (arms industry) and imoral international banking.
All of these are to the detriment of the general U.K. public/ tax payer, who have to pick up the large tab via welfare, funding, refugee camps, bankers bail outs ect ect.
The Tory profits largely syphoned into offshore tax havens as private and corporate wealth. The human cost of this world wide is absalutly disgusting.
Corbyn is our best chance of returning to social sanity. Not least in the Middle East.
Corbyn will in fact help to remove Trumps Miss-used power base making the world a safer place.
Not least in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran ! Thank you

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 10 2019 10:47 utc | 53

When they meet face to face they are talking about stuff they must not permit to become known. Gina-the-Pain met with Saud...

Never mind the intelop site, what they say about the meeting is not to be accepted, but to be understood as deception. Nevertheless the fact of the meeting says to my judgement that there is a plan afoot...

Well, what sort? More violence would be an obvious theory...

intelnews [dot] org (beware of TBS)It's a ringer.

Posted by: Walter | Nov 10 2019 13:19 utc | 54

Of course Corbyn, like Sanders in the US, is no savior. Indeed, there is in any case no such thing as a savior, political or otherwise. Both are deeply ideologically flawed and can only take the fight against the power elites so far... and that is not very far. That said, both have shown an intention of standing up to the power elites, and even if only to a small degree, that is far more than is typical these days. They are, however, the dust motes that the solutes in the supersaturated solution of today's class war can crystallize around. They can halt the continual rightward shift in western society and excavate space in the public discourse for better class fighters to move up into. To a degree both Corbyn and Sanders have already partially achieved that. A big win by either, while in no way resolving any of the world's problems, would still be a watershed moment. Such an event could mark the moment that the power elites are put on the defensive and the working class starts its fightback.

That fightback is, unfortunately, a precondition for the people of England or the US to effectively intervene in their respective countries' aggression against the world, including Iraq.

Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 10 2019 13:43 utc | 55

Mark 2 @53.

I'm not an insider - and Westminster politics isn't a particularly attractive area of study in any case - but one doesn't have to know the ins and outs of that politics in order to agree wholeheartedly with your first two paragraphs.

I'd just say there that that's not exclusively a Conservative theme. LibLabCon, or the Blairites/Cameronians, don't so much as work to that neoliberal/globalist model you outline. They are unable to conceive of any other model to work to.

Your third paragraph - I don't know the figures nor even how to get at them. Looks right, but if so it's probably merely a consequence of the neoliberal world they inhabit rather than the result of any deliberate group intention.

Your last three paragraphs - I don't see Corbyn as a Messiah figure, certainly not as regards domestic politics. If he's truly a command economy man - well, command economy's a busted flush and we all know it.

But I don't think he is. I think on internal issues he's centre left, old style. A throwback to the uneasy consensus of the pre-Thatcher years. Bringing back the utilities and the railways under central control and keeping the NHS as a public service rather than a series of profit centres.

Nothing wrong with that, except that almost all our politicians are babes in the wood when it comes to running things. The Owen Pattersons of that world are hastily sidelined and the general run of them really would be flummoxed by the proverbial whelk stall.

So Corbyn's vision would probably only lead to our replacing cronies with apparatchiks.

In spite of that I'd vote for him like a shot in normal times. Given that our economy's going to be run by dumbos anyway, why not vote for a man who doesn't seem to be as dedicated to killing foreigners as the rest of them?

Posted by: English Outsider | Nov 10 2019 15:13 utc | 56

Still continues ...

Iraq PM Announces Resignation After 40 Protesters Killed On Single Deadliest Day

After two months of anti-corruption and anti-government protests have rocked Iraq, resulting in a death toll into the hundreds as the unrest turns increasingly sectarian and which has included the burning of two Iranian consulates, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi says he will resign.

He announced in an official statement put out by his office that he will submit his resignation to parliament after the country's top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, suddenly pulled support ...

Iraq remains a sectarian powder keg waiting to erupt further, given anti-corruption protests have quickly turned to target neighboring Iran's influence; however Mahdi's stepping down may relieve some of that pressure, given he had the close backing of Iran.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 29 2019 15:36 utc | 57

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