Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 10, 2020

In Iraq The U.S. Is Again An Occupation Force As It Rejects To Leave As Demanded

Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is following Iraq's Parliament decision to remove all foreign forces from Iraq. But his request for talks with the U.S. about the U.S. withdrawal process was answered with a big "F*** You":

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister asked Washington to start working out a road map for an American troop withdrawal, but the U.S. State Department on Friday bluntly rejected the request, saying the two sides should instead talk about how to “recommit” to their partnership.

Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in the capital and southern Iraq, many calling on both Iran and America to leave Iraq, reflecting anger and frustration over the two rivals — both Baghdad’s allies — trading blows on Iraqi soil.

The request from Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pointed to his determination to push ahead with demands for U.S. troops to leave Iraq, stoked by the American drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In a phone call Thursday night, he told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. strikes in Iraq were an unacceptable breach of Iraqi sovereignty and a violation of their security agreements, his office said.

He asked Pompeo to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism” to carry out the Iraqi Parliament’s resolution on withdrawing foreign troops, according to the statement.

“The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities, and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement added.

The Associated Press errs when it says that the move was "stoked by the American drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani". The move was stoked five days earlier when the U.S. killed 31 Iraqi security forces near the Syrian border despite the demands by the Iraqi prime minister and president not to do so. It was further stoked when the U.S. assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, the deputy commander of the Popular Militia Forces and a national hero in Iraq.

The State Department issued a rather aggressive response to Abdul-Mahdi's request:

America is a force for good in the Middle East. Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners. We have been unambiguous regarding how crucial our D-ISIS mission is in Iraq. At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership—not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East. Today, a NATO delegation is at the State Department to discuss increasing NATO’s role in Iraq, in line with the President’s desire for burden sharing in all of our collective defense efforts. There does, however, need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership. We want to be a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq.

Shorter Pompeo: "Our troops will stay and you better do what we say."

A foreign force that is asked to leave a country and does not do so is an occupation force. It must and will be opposed.

The murder of the 31 security forces and the assassination of al-Mahandes have still not been avenged. The PMU will do their moral duty and fight the foreign occupation forces until they leave.

The demonstrators in Baghdad will not be able to prevent that from happening. It is interesting, by the way, that the Washington Post bureau chief in Baghdad thought she knew what they would demand even before they came together:

Louisa Loveluck @leloveluck - 9:48 UTC · Jan 10, 2020
Activists have called for fresh rallies in Baghdad's Tahrir Square today, and crowds expected to build after midday prayers. The demonstrators are rejecting parliament's decision to oppose a US troop presence, fearing repercussions that might follow.

A few hours later Loveluck had to admit that she was, as usual, wrong:

Louisa Loveluck @leloveluck - 11:13 UTC · Jan 10, 2020
“No to Iran, no to America” say signs and chants in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as crowds start to swell. Protesters say they are fed up of their country being someone else’s battlefield. “We deserve to live in peace,” says 21 year old Zahraa.
Rejecting a narrow parliamentary vote backed by Shiite political elites is not the same as openly supporting the US. Chants in Tahrir today reject both the US and Iran.

The U.S. will need to pay better Iraqi 'activists' if it wants them to demand what Donald Trump wishes.

As the Iraqi Prime Minister explained (also here):

After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I still refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event I did not cooperate and do as he asked…

Iraq is again negotiating with Russia to acquire S-300 air defense systems. It will need them as the U.S. will have to leave and leave it will. The only choice for its soldiers is between leaving horizontally or vertically, dead or alive.

As Elijah Magnier say in his summarization of the last week's events: A New Middle East “made in Iran” is about to be born

The US President – who promised to end the “endless wars” – killed the Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani believing he could win control of Iraq and achieve regime change in Iran. On the brink of triggering a major war, Trump has spectacularly lost Iran and is about to lose Iraq.

Beautiful military equipment doesn’t rule the world, people rule the world, and the people want the US out of the region”, said Iran Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif. President Trump doesn’t have many people in the Middle East on his side, not even among his allies, whose leaders have been repeatedly insulted. Iran could not have dreamt of a better President to rejuvenate its position domestically and regionally. All Iran’s allies are jubilant, standing behind the “Islamic Republic” that fulfilled its promise to bomb the US. A “New Middle East” is about to be born; it will not be “Made in the USA” but “Made in Iran”. Let us hope warmongers’ era is over. The time has come to recognise and rely on intelligent diplomacy in world affairs.

In 2006 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously celebrated Israel’s assault on Lebanon as "the birth pangs of a new Middle East." The child she dreamed of was never born. Israel lost that war against Hizbullah and the Resistance Axis has been winning ever since while the U.S. has lost again and again. It is time for the U.S. to end that useless engagement and to withdraw from the Middle East.

Posted by b on January 10, 2020 at 19:09 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The sheer arrogance and wilful blindness expressed in the US State Department press statement and WaPo staffer Louisa Loveluck's tweets are astounding beyond belief. It's as if the entire capital city of the US has become a mental asylum / Hotel California, where one can enter but never leave spiritually and morally, though one can take many physical trips in and out of the madhouse.

Iraq definitely does need the S-300 missile defence systems. The most pressing issue though is whether the Iraqis will suffer the delays Syria suffered in acquiring those systems even after paying for them. Time now is of the essence. Iraqi operators need to be trained in those systems. Syria may be able to supply some training but at the risk of letting down its guard in sending some of its operators to Baghdad and exposing them to US drone attacks.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 10 2020 19:30 utc | 1

Thanks b, for your continuing coverage and insights.

the u.s'. leadership believes it can do the same thing over, and over, and over with different results. They will need a very long ladder with the upcoming repeat of Saigon 1975.

They have always underestimated the will and cultures of people they would make subservient.

How is this working for the Iran Puppet Master:Pompous one?

Here is the big mighty with world's powerful military; on their bended knees -

We want to discuss Return to Strategic Partnership With Iraq Instead of Troop Withdrawal

[.]The press release further noted that Washington seeks to be "a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq", while stating that the US military presence in the country will persist in order to fight Daesh* and protect Americans, Iraqis, and US-led coalition partners.[.]

Yes, some friend and partner eh? Insults and thuggery. Exiting will be horizontal.
Go pound sand.

In other news, tomorrow Iran will announce cause of UAI plane crash.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 10 2020 19:39 utc | 2

From the US State Dept's 'aggressive response' link,

"not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East. Today, a NATO delegation is at the State Department to discuss increasing NATO’s role in Iraq, in line with the President’s desire for burden sharing in all of our collective defense efforts. "



"President’s desire for burden sharing in all of our collective defense efforts."

Seems like just yesterday that man trump was jabbering on about how the US should get out of NATO and leave those 'losers' to defend themselves.

Geopolitics in the Shining City of the Hill has come to this?

Grabs roll of tinfoil..are the Globalists using this buffoon to makes people yearn for some normalcy only they can provide?

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 10 2020 19:43 utc | 3

And with such liars who needs a stick. Narrative changes depending the hour.

Last night: Pompeo told Foxnews-

Pompeo Says US Had No Information on Date, Place of Possible Attack Allegedly Planned by Soleimani

US President Donald Trump earlier claimed that Washington had eliminated the top Iranian military commander to halt Tehran's plans to blow up the US Embassy in Baghdad.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on a national broadcast that the United States possessed no information about the date and place of an alleged attack planned by assassinated General Qasem Soleimani.[.]

"We don't know precisely when - and we don't know precisely where. But it was real ...

Trump Claims Soleimani Was Planning Attacks on 4 US Embassies

US President Donald Trump in an interview with Fox News said that top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was plotting attacks on four American embassies in the Middle East region before being assassinated by US forces.
"I can reveal that I believe it probably would've been four embassies," Trump said when asked whether large-scale attacks were planned against other embassies.

The House of Fools. Something is out of focus if they have to keep making justifications for the killing.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 10 2020 19:50 utc | 4

Thanks for focus on the Iran front of the civilization war humanity is in. I find the Ukraine plane crash to be distracting from the bigger picture.

The piece from the US State Department is quite the lie. Bottom line is that Iran is currently sovereign but would cease to be so is they became the "normal" country that private finance empire wants. Iran would then live under the dictatorship of global private finance like the rest of us that mythically believe we are sovereign nations and individuals.

I am pleased to see that humanity is at this juncture in spite of the threat of extinction. Our species is crippled by the cult that owns global private finance in the West and even if this process seems quite indirect to me, at least the socialism/barbarism war is being fought.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 10 2020 19:51 utc | 5

USA stays - as predicted by MoA commenters.

b foresees an eventual win by Iraq and Iran but that is uncertain and years away.

USA is not leaving. They believe UN 2249 gives them the right to stay in Syria and Iraq - despite USA claim that ISIS is defeated.

We will likely see a rebranding of USA troops to NATO, an “ ISIS resergence”, and a civil war in Iraq.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 10 2020 19:52 utc | 6

A few days ago I saw a tweet that Russia was going to sell S-400s to Iran. Has anyone seen confirmation?

Posted by: dadoronron | Jan 10 2020 19:55 utc | 7

Good. Iran will star escalating (via proxy force, or maybe even directly if they are feeling bold and determined) and US will start to have casualties. Being nice to bully never works.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 10 2020 20:00 utc | 8

"A force for good!!??" How Orwellian can you get? If you are truly a force for good, then get out as you have been asked to do!

Posted by: nemo | Jan 10 2020 20:04 utc | 9

The sooner Tehran is glass, the sooner the US can pull out of the ME.

Posted by: Sammy | Jan 10 2020 20:09 utc | 10

Iraq, every parliament party, could start themselves showing they want the americans to leave. They have not done this,
and this is the reason US give not to leave:

US is not willing to withdraw troops from Iraq, says Pompeo

The US argues that the Iraqi parliamentary vote was non-binding, and that its legitimacy was undermined by neither Iraqi Kurds or Sunnis participating.

At the same time, that will never occur since kurds and sunnis support the americans.
Quid pro quo.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 10 2020 20:13 utc | 11

why do sunnis support the americans? i can see it with kurds, who have been playing this game for a long time.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 10 2020 20:16 utc | 12

lofl at "a force for good". same old shit, same old bottle.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 10 2020 20:17 utc | 13

New Rome suffers the same maladies as the first. Uprisings in the Provinces.

Lest we forget, Rome's demands;

" "First, Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity."

"Second, Iran must stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor."

"Third, Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country."

"Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems."

"Iran must release all U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges."

"Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah [Hezbollah], Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."

"Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias."

"Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen."

"Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria."

"Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior Al Qaida leaders."

"Iran, too, must end the IRG [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] Qods Force's [Quds Force's] support for terrorists and militant partners around the world."

"And too, Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors – many of whom are U.S. allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive – and destructive cyberattacks."

Saudi millions/ billions for spreading Wahhabi 7th Century violent ideology around the world is A OK though.

What? It's all about MAGA, right?

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 10 2020 20:17 utc | 14

thanks b... i share jens view on how outrageous usa official words on this are...

"At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership—not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East." they just don't give a fuck... everyone here knew that already... as a few of us have been saying - there is no way the usa is going to leave.. they are intent up the same agenda they have been intent on for what seems like forever...

@ 4 Likklemore quote - "Something is out of focus if they have to keep making justifications for the killing." the liar in command saying he was going to cause trouble at 4 embassies.. jesus what a liar and retard trump is if he thinks anyone who has a brain would believe that b.s.

@ 10 sammy... the sooner washington d.c. is glass the sooner americans can wake the fuck up..

Posted by: james | Jan 10 2020 20:17 utc | 15

The Iraquis voted on a non-binding resolution. So by being wishy washy, they won't force the USA to leave anywhere.

Posted by: Fernando Martinez | Jan 10 2020 20:19 utc | 16

Who dares to stop them?
Surely no sane country wants to stand against JUSA.

Israel is shaking in its boots so its American poodle must stay to protect them. The sooner the world gets rid of the Jewish infestation from their governments the safer the world will be.

Posted by: Linda Jean Doucett | Jan 10 2020 20:25 utc | 17

Fernando 16

"The Iraquis voted on a non-binding resolution. So by being wishy washy, they won't force the USA to leave anywhere."

You should walk a mile in their shoes.

Then opine.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 10 2020 20:29 utc | 18

As always with the USA President, this is about 2 aspects:
1. Cutting costs to USA
2. Making money for USA

This is the 'leverage' (blackmail, if you prefer)to obtain 'good deals' on the way out the door.

China (Russia to a limited extent) is providing up-front funding for repair to 'war' damaged infrastructure done by the USA.

In return, China gets hydrocarbons.

These are big, expensive projects that China excels at, cutting out the corruption to officials standing in the middle.

Revamping and extending rail infrastructure in Iraq connecting to Iran and also towards Central Asia and beyond.

Big oil pipeline projects taking Iraqi oil to Jordan. Later projects taking hydrocarbons through Syria to the Med, and into Turkey as well.

That's why Pres. Trump is jockeying for a small bite of the pie. He has a good chance of getting it. But small.

Posted by: powerandpeople | Jan 10 2020 20:30 utc | 19

@ Jackrabbit | Jan 10 2020 19:52 utc | 6

We will likely see a rebranding of USA troops to NATO

Some of their NATO vassals still care about the rule of law and international law. Mikey and Donny might discover that these backward states are "not very helpful" to their cause of rules based order.

USA runs a serious risk of overplaying its hand and alienating some of their european allies. Likely not all, but almost certainly some. That would create a rift in NATO and possibly the EU and compromise USA control over these organizations and their members.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 10 2020 20:43 utc | 20

Fernando Martinez@16 - You're misunderstanding the situation. The Iraqi parliament did get the majority they needed to pass the resolution as specified in their constitution. They will turn it over to the existing or new PM for implementation. Nothing wishy-washy about it. It's a done deal despite the terrified Kurds and Sunnis not voting to save their own butts from reprisal - either by Iraqi Shia or by the US. I would have done the same thing.

It is the US that is claiming the resolution is nonbinding (in their 'legal' opinion) because the vote wasn't sufficiently representative (in the mind of the US dual-citizen chickenhawk neocons) - despite the fact that two-thirds of Iraqis are Shia and there was more than enough votes to pass the resolution despite the Sunni and Kurd representatives' absence. The US is pouting and will hold its breath until the Iraqis defy their constitution and obey the will of their American masters. In the meantime, the US has refused to recognize the vote and will oppose any efforts for implementation by the Iraqi PM. Trump or Pompeo or one of those idiots stated that clearly and unambiguously - the US has no plans to leave no matter what.

I guess we'll see. Plan B for the US is probably to agitate for the original plan of uprisings to partition Iraq into Kurd, Sunni and Shia statelets. The obedient Kurd and Shia leaders will allow eternal US presence and as many bases as the US wants. It will be enough territory to block the feared 'Shia Crescent' - the US will insist the Kurd and Sunni statelets extend from Turkey down the Syrian border to Jordan, blocking any attempts to connect the Shia statelet to Syria. That's the US plan B for this problem if they can't use 'other means' to stay in present-day Iraq for 'anti-ISIS' operations.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 10 2020 20:45 utc | 21

US was hitting Iraqi militias even back when ISIS still held territory and the militias where driving ISIS back.
Then the recent strike on the militia's formally incorporated into Iraqi military and the strike that killed the Iraqi and Iranian.... but then the Iraqi's declare Iran's strike on the US base a breach of sovereignty. Iraqi's that should be allied with Iran for the purpose of driving the US out. US will be in Iraq and the Syrian oilfields for quite some time.
There was the same talk about militia's and whatever hitting US in Syria but that hasn't eventuated and I doubt any thing serious against US will happen in Iraq either. US will have proxies out and about - using its bases as fire support bases with air and artillery to back up its proxies.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 10 2020 20:45 utc | 22

… a narrow parliamentary vote...

The vote count I saw was unanimous. Clearly, the Evil Outlaw US Empire is throwing as much bullshit at everything in the hopes that some sticks and clogs peoples's minds. The 737 crash is similar in pointing over there instead of looking at what's just occurred at your feet. Now Trump says four embassies were going to be attacked as he further demonstrates he's losing his mind. Lies and Bluster are the hallmarks of a Paper Tiger.

Meanwhile, what stands for genuine Progressives and the Left are clearly gaining ground as numerous Anti-war rallies took place yesterday and an article appeared in my local rag saying the D-Party Establishment is afraid of a Sanders nomination--2016 in play all over again except no HRC and we know more about the DNC's evilness in not at all being responsive to the public or voting results. IMO, the Political Fight required for genuine change has finally begun and will escalate.

Globally, the current battles are a new phase of a 3 millennial-long war between the Current Oligarchy and the 99% as to who will be the Sovereign--the people collectively or those who've stolen their wealth. Class War--You Bet! We now have definitive proof of how it works and how long it's been ongoing. What we've yet to see is if the 99% have enough brains and solidarity to undo 3,000+ years of Tyranny.

Within this article is a photo of Iranian general Ali Amir Hajizadeh standing at a podium in front of a phalanx of 9 flags belonging to the Axis of Resistance. We need to add our own flags to that Alliance for the enemies of Iran are the enemies of all Earth's people and employ the likes of sammy and other Terrorists to do their bidding.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 20:56 utc | 23

The Iranians attacked by the US in this episode was always about Iraq being seen as moving out of the American-Euro orbit and into the China-Iran-Russia orbit. So of course they will not voluntarily leave, instead they will either be forced out by attacks or more likely they will force either a change in leadership of Iraq or threaten the leadership or bribe the leadership into accepting permanent occupation for "their safety" ala a Mob Protection Racket. This is exposed here Pax Americana: Between Iraq and A Hard Place

Posted by: Kali | Jan 10 2020 20:58 utc | 24

Well, I'm shocked, just shocked, that the U$A won't be leaving as per Iraq's request...NOT!

Did any serious person believe they would?

Empire uber alles...

And still, many will support this regime of cretinous grifters..

Posted by: ben | Jan 10 2020 21:04 utc | 25

Couple of small points;
1) 32-35 soldiers (4-5 commanders and their command posts - US dixit) were killed in the earlier US attacks, which were heavier in Syria and against the Herzbollah, than those against Iraqian forces on the Syria-Iraqi border. The command posts were eliminated very accurately. This is possibly because they had previously collectively stated that they wanted to eliminate the terrorists in the Anbar desert. (Thought; those "terrorists" may have included embedded "special forces" or mercenaries which the US wanted to protect.)
2) I believe that Iraq was trying to get the S400, (The one that can "see" F35's) rather than the S300.

3) OT? Just who gets the profits from the Oil stolen from Syria, and would have a kickback from the oil that was demanded from Iraq (Al-Mahdi statement)? Conventionally we attribute the money going to the "Pentagon" or "CIA". But I seem to remember that the complete Erdogan family was benefitting before they were kicked out. Is it possible that the Syrian oil is now going straight into a slush fund for some Generals or members of the administration? Is that really why the US doesn't want leave? Profits not geo-politics?

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 10 2020 21:08 utc | 26

PavewayIV @22 & Peter AU 1 @23--

Well, we shall soon see what the Iraqis are made of and where their will lies. I expect we'll begin getting that answer this weekend. It does appear Iraqi Patriots will need to drag their fellows along with them, but IMO none will get a better future unless the Outlaw US Empire is driven from Southwest Asia.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 21:09 utc | 27

@Lurk | Jan 10 2020 20:43 utc | 21

I expect some spineless eastern European countries (Romania, Poland, etc.) will lend themselves for this. The other members will tacitly accept the NATO branding ...

Posted by: Das Kommentariat | Jan 10 2020 21:12 utc | 28

The last Make America Go Away event was in Ho Chi Minh city.

It was decisive, the only non binding aspect was the ability of the USA to win.

What is it about GO AWAY that the USA elite dont understand? I guess, like Joe Biden a fist full of oil makes it comprehensible. Neandertals.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 10 2020 21:14 utc | 29

@10 sammy

Very telling, but you will envy the dead.

The soonerIran No. more likely

the sooner Israhell, stripped to its 1948 boundaries, is glass we will have peace on planet earth. Fighting Israhell's wars have daily cost in blood and treasure. In $ 7 trillions and counting.

Hmm. Why? running scared.

Reuters: but Russia denies.
Russian navy ship 'aggressively approached' U.S. destroyer in Arabian Sea: U.S. Navy
"DUBAI (Reuters) - A Russian navy ship “aggressively approached” a U.S. Navy destroyer in the North Arabian Sea on Thursday, the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said in a statement on Friday.
“The Russian ship initially refused but ultimately altered course and the two ships opened distance from one another,” the statement said."

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 10 2020 21:15 utc | 30

There will be blood.

No one should cheer this. The people of the Middle East have been bleeding way too long.
The million dollar question is: how tostop a serial killer on the loose, operating in plain sight, when everyone else is either afraid, in a deal or trying to avoid blowing up the whole place (world).

It's tough because the serial killer, (together with his partners in crime EU/NATO), have dismantled the existing world order, however fragile it was. The law is no more.

You would expect that in a situation like this the nations of the world, through the UN, would say - now you must leave Iraq because the Iraqi parliament has spoken. That's the only way the weaker can enforce their decisions agains the stronger peacefully, with the support of the global community. But that doesn't happen because the worst offenders, the serial killers, are members of the UN Security Council. And, the UN General Assembly almost never meets to discuss events crucial for world peace, justice, fairness and equality, such as these.

When all hinges on force, chaos and blood are in store. It is absolutely immoral, unjust and heinous that the people of Iraq, Iran Syria, Lebanon and others should again fight to their death to set themselves free from the deadly claws of parasitic states that are veto-holding members of the UN body entrusted with maintaining world peace, law and order!!! This entire theatre of the absurd is unbearable and should be a call to action for every single decent human being on this beautiful planet.

Here's a rarely excellent, succinct piece:' Why the War never Ends" :

Posted by: JB | Jan 10 2020 21:19 utc | 31

Stonebird @ 27 asked; "Is that really why the US doesn't want leave? Profits not geo-politics?"

IMO, in this new age of corporate ascendancy, profits drive Geo-Politics

Posted by: ben | Jan 10 2020 21:19 utc | 32


Magnier has a few comments on the Iraqi divides at his twitter thread and is exactly what I have thought for the last month or so. Those Iraqi groups that are solidly allied with Iran in the fight against ISIS and US are a small minority and US and Israel have been hitting them with impunity for several years now. Most Iraqi's including Shia seem tied up in small time domestic disputes. No Nasrallah's or Kharmenei's in Iraq. Only Muqtada al-Sadr types. Perhaps Sistani may do something but he also seems very much small time domestic - not interested or not capable in the big picture.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 10 2020 21:22 utc | 33

JB @ 32; Kudos JB, an absolutely on target rant. Thanks for the link...

Posted by: ben | Jan 10 2020 21:27 utc | 34

JB @32--

Yes, you're quite correct, there will be blood, just as there's been blood flowing for the last 3,000 years. That's why I wrote our flags must join those of the Axis of Resistance--this War isn't theirs alone; it's every Earthling's War whether they realize it or not.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 21:28 utc | 35

@31 likklemore.. in the videos clearly the usa ship is in the wrong...

Posted by: james | Jan 10 2020 21:29 utc | 36

What if the government of Iraq asks Russia to assist it in safeguarding its airspace from unauthorized entry? The Russians will bring the equipment and the operators & they are already just across in Syria.

Posted by: Eudoxia | Jan 10 2020 21:30 utc | 37

Totally Orwellian.

Empire of Chaos, Lies and Deceit.

"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." George Orwell in '1984'.

Could any statement better sum up the world we now live in?

Posted by: PJB | Jan 10 2020 21:31 utc | 38

Peter AU 1 @34--

Thanks for your reply! The rhetorical counter to the non-Patriot Iraqis will be that the Evil Outlaw US Empire intends to treat them just like the Zionists treat their Palestinian slaves and have demonstrated so already. There are essentially three choices: Fight, help others to fight, pack up and move to another nation as you're no longer an Iraqi.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 21:37 utc | 39

I have often stated that the United States is suffering from mass insanity and violent psychosis.

This is not hyperbole. This is a simple factual statement.

You cannot reason with a rabid dog, and that is what America is right now.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 10 2020 21:39 utc | 40


"Just who gets the profits from the Oil stolen from Syria, "

Best estimates I've seen say the oil fields trump is so bent on denying the Assad government from accessing are so damaged they produce 31,000 bpd at best. Whatever discount price comes from that after it's trucked to some market in Turkey or maybe Iraq, it would be less profitable than trump's Taj mahal casino venture.

But hey, he's the greatest business man ever. Just ask him?

It's not about profit, it's about making a dollar here and there to give to the Kurds and keep their America is our friend dreams alive and denying Assad that oil.

It would cost a great deal of money to return the fields east of the Euphrates to their previous production levels.

The Netanyahu plan is to deny the Syrian gov't and it's people the revenue from those wells they used to access to pay for their needs. Only the needs of trump and his people matter.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 10 2020 21:39 utc | 41

The current regime in the United States seems to believe that people are only able to believe what the regime tells them to believe. This is not the case. Even the American people want the US military to withdraw from Iraq, from Syria, from the Middle East.

Posted by: Joshua | Jan 10 2020 21:43 utc | 42

This has been illustrated repeatedly. But, after every 'election', and after every 'poll', the regime chews on the results and rolls it over until they come up with a 'storyline' that says they can do whatever the hell they feel like anyway. More and more people are catching on to this.

Posted by: Joshua | Jan 10 2020 21:46 utc | 43

Elijah Magnier in a Tweet today seemed to imply that Al Mahdi didn't stand up to the US forcefully enough and that there is a split between shia and Sunni as to US presence. Some want the US to stay. He also said Iraq needs a stronger PM that will implement US kicking out of Iraq. He also mentioned that Al Mahdi did not give the ok for PMU forces to go up against US in Iraq.
We will have to see. But if the Iraqi people are demanding US is kicked out then Al Mahdi may be forced to act.

Posted by: Annie | Jan 10 2020 21:48 utc | 44

PavewayIV @22

Yeah, that's right.

As in virtual every representative democracy, the Iraqi government carries out the will of the people as expressed through their representatives. So the vote by the Iraqi Parliament is binding on the Iraqi government, not a foreign government .. duh!

AFAIK USA is in Iraq at invitation of the Iraqi government but there's no formal agreement (aka SOFA). So the Iraqi government can ask USA to leave at any time.

Iraq was being nice and diplomatic to invite USA to provide input that helps the Iraqi government determine the timetable for USA to leave. Since USA has refused, we should expect the Iraqi government to demand that USA leave immediately.

Of course, USA has already stated their reasons for remaining despite any lawful demand that they do so.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 10 2020 21:50 utc | 45

ben @33

Corporate ascendancy’s was accurately described in perhaps the greatest novel of the pomp of the USA:

Pohl’s sequel takes it to a terrestrial conclusion.

Posted by: Cortes | Jan 10 2020 21:51 utc | 46

@ james 37

Thanks james. Give the u.s. uniformed boys and girls some slack. They are running scared, having to look over their shoulders knowing they are targets and that now things have changed - U.S. stands alone without friends. It's vassal states waiver. after Soleimani killing suddenly, except for IL, the U.S. is alone. article from earlier comment posting is a good read.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 10 2020 21:52 utc | 47

This site is a mountain of bs.

Posted by: Manny | Jan 10 2020 21:55 utc | 48

james @37--

Here's b's Tweet on the matter:

"'Power-driven vessel A approaches the port side of power-driven vessel B. Vessel A is considered the give-way vessel. As the give-way vessel, A must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear and avoid crossing the stand-on vessel B.'
Farragut (A) should have passed behind B."

As b notes, this is almost an exact repeat of what happened last year. The idiots commenting on the USN's twitter thread are pathetic and clearly don't know squat.

And speaking of the Russian Navy, Putin's business today began with "a meeting with the Defence Ministry leadership and the Russian Navy commanders to discuss the key areas of short- and long-term development of the Navy. The meeting was held while the Supreme Commander-in-Chief was visiting the Nakhimov Black Sea Naval Academy" after observing/participating in the previous day's naval exercises on the Black Sea. Currently, the USN is rated as "weak and marginal" by the Heritage Institute, a patriotic think tank, which is outwardly displayed by the lack of navigation skills.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 21:56 utc | 49

Annie !45: He also said Iraq needs a stronger PM ...

I don't think Mahdi's being a caretaker' PM should matter.

Any democratic government is supposed to carry out the wishes of the people as express by Parliament.

USA is trying to muddy the waters and throw up BS because they fundamentally WILL NOT LEAVE.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 10 2020 21:58 utc | 50

And another thing...
Did anybody notice how the 'goodguy badguy show' (impeachment dog & pony show) got shoved to the back burner all of a sudden? Now I guess they are going to wait and see how this 'breakout' aggression move is going to pan out for them.

Posted by: Joshua | Jan 10 2020 22:02 utc | 51

"America is a force for good in the Middle East."

Recall that the phrase "for good" also has the second meaning of "permanently, forever, or perpetually."

Surely this was unintentional phrase selection on part of the Imperial spokesman.

Posted by: Ben Zanotto | Jan 10 2020 22:04 utc | 52

ISIS was the means - the Trojan horse - to justify the permanent garrisoning of NATO in Iraq and Syria. Before Russia's intervention, NATO and politicians from NATO countries were uniform in proclaiming the "fight" against ISIS would be a "generational struggle" which would take at least 20-30 years to achieve victory. Even after major fighting has reduced the organization to almost nothing, this rationale lives on in the guise of a "continuing threat" represented by ISIS' ideology or aspirations. Permanent NATO garrisons in Iraq and Syria remains the extant policy (ISIS always just the pretext). If the European NATO members balk at the Iraq civil war which the US will quietly propose in the interest of supporting this policy, then it is likely the Kurd regions will suffice as a breakaway NATO protectorate.

Posted by: jayc | Jan 10 2020 22:18 utc | 53

This information was in a comment on
Can anyone verify?

("Iris" = the prequel; the Erebus comment tells a story totally different from what Pompeo, congressmen, MSM etc. are reporting.)

Killing Inside Iraq to Punish Iran
Trump-Pompeo foreign policy is not only incoherent, it is insane

Iris says:

January 8, 2020 at 1:37 pm GMT • 
Iris responded to:

Now Trump will be able to deescalate and Iran will save its face by claiming 80 or so American soldiers dead


"It is good to gather facts, information and try to cross-check it before making educated assumptions on subjects ordinary citizens are not privy to.
Countless insightful American commenters propose very well-supported cases, but come to opposite conclusions with regard to President Trump’s real intentions. How could we then know Iran’s strategic roadmap?
The Iranian reaction was long coming. The writing was on the wall when Hassan Nasrallah, following one too many Israeli strike on Syria, detailed in his Sept 2019 address that the “Resistance Axis” had the capability to hit strategic Israeli targets that he named.
It is not normal that US sources have not communicated any detail of the consequences of the strikes, so many hours after they took place. The Danes have stated there were “no casualties amongst them”, which hints there were casualties amongst other Western nationalities.
Your cynicism is justified by how real-politik is actually conducted. However, it is also very possible that we are living a cornerstone moment in ME’s History, a reverse moment of the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

• Replies: @Erebus

Erebus says:
January 9, 2020 at 10:20 am GMT • 

"Some of what’s come out suggests the US has gone full Mafia in response to the last few years’ developments in the M.E. There’s no geo-political strategy. There’s only (bad) gangsterism.
Countless insightful American commenters propose very well-supported cases, but come to opposite conclusions with regard to President Trump’s real intentions.

Russia’s textbook demonstration of how to combine diplomatic acumen and military efficiency in sorting problems has given impetus to a Russian authored, Chinese backed regional security and development proposal that’s been making the rounds through the region’s capitals since late summer (at least). Promoted by Iran (mostly via Oman) as a new paradigm in M.E. affairs, it’s been well received everywhere except Saudi Arabia who’ve apparently cited their inability to throw off the American yoke as the primary impediment to their overt support. Notwithstanding, the Saudis have been talking quietly with all parties and have reportedly even sent emissaries to Tehran for “informal” talks on the hush-hush. Soleimani was a significant player in these talks, which were being mediated by Iraq.

In his speech to the Iraqi parliament subsequent to Soleimani’s murder, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi revealed an astonishing tale of the sort of strongarming tactics America has employed in response. His speech was to be carried live on Iraqi TV, but the feed was cut immediately after he started by the Speaker.

Nevertheless, his words have leaked to the public. In it he told that Trump had demanded 50% of Iraq’s oil revenues, or the US wouldn’t go ahead with promised infrastructure rebuilding of the country they destroyed. Mahdi refused that proposal and headed to China where he promptly made a deal to rebuild the country. When the US learned of it, Trump called him to demand that the deal be rescinded and when Mahdi refused Trump threatened to unleash violent protests against Mahdi’s rule.

Sure enough, violent protests began shortly thereafter. Again Trump called and when Mahdi again refused to rescind the China deal, Trump threatened him with Maidan-style snipers. Again Mahdi refused, and Iraq’s Minister of Defence spoke publicly of “third party” provocateurs killing both protestors and police, threatening to drive the country back into civil war.
Again Trump called, and Mahdi reports that this time he threatened Mahdi and the Defence Minister with assassination if they didn’t shut up about “third party” provocateurs. Meanwhile, Mahdi continued to mediate Iranian-Saudi talks and Soleimani was carrying Iran’s response to the latest Saudi message. He was to meet Mahdi later the morning of his assassination.

The upshot of all that is that the intent behind Soleimani’s gangland slaying was to send the US’ message to Mahdi specifically, but also to Iran, the Saudis, and anyone else contemplating M.E. rapprochement that murder awaited them if they continued to work towards peace in the region.
It is not normal that US sources have not communicated any detail of the consequences of the strikes, so many hours after they took place.

Details are emerging re the Al Assad Air Base attack, and if you’re an American strategist they ain’t pretty. The lack of casualties notwithstanding, satellite photos show that the Iranian salvo hit targets with a very high level of combat efficiency. Any damage assessment will reveal that technically, Iran can hit whatever it wants to hit.

Qiam missiles were used. They’re a cheap ‘n cheerful derivative of the Soviet SCUD, and Iran has 1,000s of them. Hezbollah likely has 1,000s as well, so the picture is even less pretty if you’re an Israeli strategist. Furthermore…
Iran informed the Swiss Embassy in Tehran (who represent American interests in Iran) an hour or more before the attack. More than enough time to get personnel out of harm’s way. FARS’ reports of 80 killed and ~200 injured, frankly look to be a narrative for domestic consumption. It’s hard to believe that with the hour+ warning that that many people were hanging around in the line of fire.

My guess about the delay is that the US is simply stunned.

However, it is also very possible that we are living a cornerstone moment in ME’s History, a reverse moment of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I believe that’s true regardless of what got hit and the number of casualties. This was a message sending exercise. As unimaginative as it may appear, the salvo sent an unmistakeable signal that went through the region’s capitals and beyond. Here’s why they’re all paying attention…

1. Iran struck American assets directly, in a brazenly overt manner. No plausible deniability, proxies or non-state actors involved. It was a State attack on another State’s assets. If there is any doubt that the hit on Suleimani was an act of war, there can be no doubt about Iran’s response. The bully got punched in the nose in front of his entourage and they’re now waiting to see what he’ll do. However…

2. The IRGC’s very high level of confidence in its missiles & missile corps is obviously warranted. If the US and its satraps expected amateur hour, they got the diametric opposite – the equivalent of getting your knife shot out of your hand – and that puts the US in a bad spot.

3. The Qiam salvo was no Kalibrs-from-the-Caspian demonstration of technical prowess, but so far as I can currently tell, more than half of the missiles targetting Al Assad hit bull’s eyes and American AD failed to intercept any of them. This stands in stark contrast to Syria’s success at knocking down Tomahawks. The Americans claim that the Al Assad airbase had no missile defence systems installed, which seems incredible, but with the silence of the Patriot batteries of Abqaiq looming in the background, all of the USM’s regional assets have been exposed as ducks in a barrel. The US simply can’t defend them.

It is clear that with its S300 systems and indigenous air defence in place, Iran can destroy American assets while minimizing its own losses. What’s more, Iran’s S300s have reportedly been networked into Russia’s regional air defence systems, and that installing S400s is being actively considered. With either development, Iran’s air space is effectively closed. Iran’s status as the pre-eminent regional power has been cemented into place, and with the Kremlin’s backing there is no way to dislodge it. Every capital must now run its calculus and begin re-thinking its role in the region, or its relationship with it.
Without high efficiency air defence, CENTCOM can’t defend even itself, never mind the region’s oil infrastructure and perverse allied monarchies. That is now plain as day. Remaining perceptions of its ability to provide security guarantees to its satraps are now gone, and so the US’ options have been reduced to a choice between escalation, or going home. There’s no there there, and everybody now knows it. The message couldn’t be clearer.

Iran has opened the exit door and we’re all waiting to see what heads prevail in Washington as the facts settle into them. To keep the Americans focussed, one can expect to see the Iraqi militias begin ratcheting up attacks on American assets in Iraq, and in collaboration with domestic militia’s in Syria as well.

The question now revolves around whether the US needs a thousand cuts to absorb the message that its dominance of the M.E. is over.

Posted by: ChasMark | Jan 10 2020 22:21 utc | 54

If the US withdraws from the Middle East the Petrodollar will come to an end and the whole US and the Western financial system collapses. The US and West are trapped by their stupidity in abusing the financial system to fund their wars and build up a level of debt that can never and will never be paid. How can the US leave even if they wanted to?

Posted by: ADKC | Jan 10 2020 22:25 utc | 55

Well, the sun rose in the East again today, so why would anyone be surprised the US wont leave Iraq and all that black gold. Heck, we never left Germany, Japan and South Korea and they got nothing but location going for them (as does Iraq)

As for losing. Wars are not fought with an ending as the principle goal, at least not since WWII. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace. Welcome to Orwells 1984, sans the boot in Oceania (thus far). Cold War followed by GWOT. When the GWOT began to fizzle a mini Cold War with Russia was started by Obama and AQ was replaced with ISIS. Those are fizzling so Trumps pulled Iran from Obamas dust bin.

Empires need enemies to hold them together so they can keep feed the MIC beast and keep it from devouring the hand that feeds them. If an enemy does not exist one is created.

It helps that the majority can be made to believe anything. Ignorance and effective propaganda, the elimination of a free press, and control of education and entertainment make that possible. Nothing can reverse this. Sure, a few might break out of the matrix but they are of no consequence unless they become too visible.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 10 2020 22:25 utc | 56

The S300 can see F35s just fine.Its not at a fixed model,the appellation is a generic, and denotes a class of missile with a range of 300km.Radars and c&c systems are updated constantly.
They are not your daddys S300s that Greece never updated, you're in for a rude surprise if you think so.

Posted by: winston2 | Jan 10 2020 22:34 utc | 57

Jen @ 1
"The sheer arrogance and wilful blindness expressed in the US State Department press statement and WaPo staffer Louisa Loveluck's tweets are astounding beyond belief. "

One is left gobsmacked and speechless.
An interloper is told to get the hell out of your house and he retorts: "No, we are here to stay and renew our marriage vows with you!"
This is insane.
Surely the world can see that Pompeo and others at State are deranged, out of touch with reality.

Honestly, one is at a loss for words.

As ever, more thanks to b for keeping up with all of this.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 10 2020 22:47 utc | 58

@ Sammy 10

The sooner Tel Aviv is glass, the sooner the US WILL pull out of the ME.

Posted by: chet380 | Jan 10 2020 22:51 utc | 59

@ karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 20:56 utc | 24

Referring your observations here concerning DNC may be problematic, instead it might have better standing to fact if DLC (Democratic Leadership Committee) is used as it is a construct of the Clintons in their takeover of the D-party for the 1992 election. It is highly unlikely Hillary replaced that organisation for her attempts at high office. It is also highly unlikely Obama had the interest or motive to replace the Clinton organisation in his Presidency, he hardly replaced Bush 43's administration at the end of eight years. All too much of this information has gone down memory holes and no longer carries sufficient significance to matter for the public but should definitely matter to those interested in modern historical developments. Verification may likely be found by analysing the membership of the D-party's financial committee (membership should be matter of public record) and determine their political allegiances

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jan 10 2020 22:57 utc | 60

"Iraqi's declare Iran's strike on the US base a breach of sovereignty. Iraqi's that should be allied with Iran for the purpose of driving the US out."

One Iraqi. Two Iraqis.

No apostrophe for plural.

Just for possessive, e.g., "Iran's."

Is that so hard?

No, it is not hard.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 10 2020 22:59 utc | 61

On completely unrelated note, b, you are aware that your website, as set as it is, gives us government technical ability to identify each and every one of posters here? Regardless where you host your website.

You website imports contents from It is spyware used for tracking users across whole internet, every site that uses google api is voluntarily enabling google to track people so they can build surfing history/profile for everyone.

google shares that info with us government.

government compares timestamps of posts here, and can identify people.

HTTPS website doesn't protects anyone here in this regard.

Just for posters to know there is technical possibility.

Posted by: Abe | Jan 10 2020 22:59 utc | 62

Subvert, Sabotage, Eliminate.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 10 2020 23:12 utc | 63

Iraq has Trump by the short hairs.
In a few months the election circus will really get underway. If they're smart and patriottic, the PMF will slowly start hitting US targets, forcing Trump's hand. An increased campaign of pressure.
Like Tet '68. The Bagdad Olympics.

Posted by: bjd | Jan 10 2020 23:19 utc | 64

karlof1 @50
""'Power-driven vessel A approaches the port side of power-driven vessel B. Vessel A is considered the give-way vessel. As the give-way vessel, A must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear and avoid crossing the stand-on vessel B.'
Farragut (A) should have passed behind B."

Video was taken on the US ship, right (voice? Looks to me like the Russian ship (top left) was crossing the US ship's bow from port to starboard of US (closer) ship. I.e., from the port side. Not "approaching the port side." So, as far as I can see, the US vessel had the right of way; the Russian ship should have given way/changed course.

Cf. "1. If another vessel is approaching you from the port — or left — side of your boat, you have the right of way and should maintain your speed and direction."

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 10 2020 23:26 utc | 65

I am going to go out on a limb and say the reason for all the western obfuscation is that Boeing is already in trouble due to the 737MAX issues. Boeing being a major component in USA economy needs to be protected from the fact they just lost another plane to mechanical/design error.

Posted by: J-Dogg | Jan 10 2020 23:32 utc | 66

ChasMark @55--

There's lots of info to verify in those comments. For the most part, they're all correct. The exception comes to Iranian air defences, their indigenous designed S-400 equivalent, overall radar net, EW capabilities, and independent internet communications. The overall conclusion is Iran is far better prepared and equipped than Outlaw US Empire/NATO knew. It should also be reiterated that Iran's under Russia's nuclear aegis, which was publicly stated by Putin and an adjutant and clearly repeated to Pompeo and Trump by both Lavrov and Putin. Furthermore as publicly stated, China has Iran's back fiscally. In other words, Iran and its allies have more oomph collectively than the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals, many of the latter actually desire better relations with the CRI troika.

Perhaps the key point made is the supposed inability of Saudi to free itself from the Empire's shackles, which actually does make sense when one thinks long term. The logic of Iran's HOPE Proposal is impeccable and is the only genuine route out of the current dilemma. Clearly, it's been determined the Outlaw US Empire is the sole impediment to implementing HOPE and thus must be ousted from its ability to impede. I wrote back in September when HOPE was introduced at the UNGA that Trump would be a fool not to embrace it instead of oppose it as he could then call the Empire a partner in the project. Clearly, he was advised not to do so.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 23:35 utc | 67

@ likklemore and karlof1.. i liked the comment on moa twitter feed - "This was an american driving school marked with a very big "L" means "learner". Please drive carefully with max. consideration."

@ 66 really? the other video is better then the one shown in b's twitter feed clip.. check it out in the first video of 2 shown on the rt link.. cheers..

Posted by: james | Jan 10 2020 23:40 utc | 68

The sooner that fat, lying, smirking terrorist thug Pompeo is sacked or killed, the better. He is a huge liability to our world.

Posted by: Tony | Jan 10 2020 23:41 utc | 69

Really?? @66--

That's the impression you'd get when the USN is crossing the oncoming RuN path. I run into those sorts of helmsmen all the time on the ocean outside of Newport, Oregon. Additionally, with all the incidents of terrible navigation abilities seen over the past 3+ years and the lies made to cover them, the USN has zero credibility just like its parent organization the Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 23:48 utc | 70

It occurs to me that a host country that is no in conflict with an over-staying force can make their life very challenging without having to actually fight them.

Outlaw any commerce between occupying forces and local businesses. Cut the roads to and from the bases. Fly unarmed drones in the path of their aircraft. Delay, deny, defy any requests for cooperation. Divert streams to flood their bases. Get really creative and make their life hell.

Posted by: Figleaf23 | Jan 10 2020 23:53 utc | 71

The US Navy never backs down from any challenge! [video]

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 11 2020 0:01 utc | 72

Formerly T-Bear @61--

Thanks for your reply! From what I observe, there's a lot of political angst within the Empire that Trump's actions and subsequent BigLies have enhanced and brought to the surface. The Act of War was the biggest domestic political error he could have committed, which shows he has zero sense. Sanders is now the #1 D-Party candidate, and he and Gabbard with a genuinely Progressive & Anti-war platform ought to win handily if allowed to.

You may have seen these one two links I've previously posted dealing with the beginnings of the 2020 election season. The first is the initial episode of a series in which I've seen the second, which is here. The second of the three is very entertaining, and all are just shy of 30 min.

Hope you're doing well in post-Brexit Ireland!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 11 2020 0:07 utc | 73

Sadly and unfortunately, the US will only withdrawal after it has suffered another catastrophic loss, similar to what befell the soldiers in Lebanon. This is a criminal enterprise sitting atop the US Military. You would figure people putting their ass on the line would try and understand what they're really fighting for, but alas, most do not find out until after they come home.

Posted by: ebolax | Jan 11 2020 0:13 utc | 74

The US has started the chess game in a very poor position, with the pawns and horses deployed too forward in the chessboard (only 5.200 soldiers in Iraq and 10.000 in Kuwait), and the USA military leadership are in a very bad situation, if they try to send massive troops and equipment reinforcement Iran will not be iddle waiting how US is preparing to destroy them as the stupid Saddam did in 1991 and again in 2003, no, Iran will start the war with any pretext before new troops & equipment is deployed in significant amounts.

On the other hand, if Iran escalate, the CENTCOM cannot support the "lost" garrison in Iraq and Kuwait, they do not have enough forces deployed in the theater, and an airlift operation of this magnitude under fire is very dangerous and a ride through hundreds of miles through hostile terrain under harassment from Iranians and PMU troops "Hezbollah style" (as IDF suffer in 2006), and without heavy armor scort and close air support will be almost suicidal.

Iranian have been preparing for a war with USA from 1979, but now the situation is better than ever, I do not give a cent on USA now if they do not retreat quickly from Syria and Iraq (if Trump is enough intelligent it will order soon, but I am afraid he wants to play poker once more), and stop to make threats and provocations.
But they "cannot" retreat, you know, is an electoral year and Trump want to be re-elected above all.


Posted by: DFC | Jan 11 2020 0:18 utc | 75

Those oil deals Iraq made with China in exchange for Iraqi electrical infrastructure projects are something Trump will not allow and has threatened Iraq with the terrors of the earth. As Karloff1 suggests the Iraqis have few choices, Trumps State department have been blunt... you are vassals and you will do as you are told or you will be punished. That's plain and we can all be thankful for Trumps honesty. The ball is now in the Iraqi court, either refuse to be vassals and fight for your sovereignty or bow your heads and vacate the field.

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 11 2020 0:30 utc | 76

I am seeing the position of Iraq against Iran as being very similar to the position of Ukraine vis a vis Russia -- as 'younger' to 'elder brother'. Not as lesser to greater, but as family, the ones nearby. Crimea grabbed onto that lifeline - as well they might!

Now a new element of the multipolar world is at early stages of being born. And this was put in effect, if we go back and look, immediately up the invasion of Iraq by Bush Jr. But, clearly, Iraq went through more horror, more destabilization than did Ukraine. The latter had a governmental coup resulting in internal strife; Iraq had a military invasion. So, hopefully the Resistance will be patient with it - like Syria, it is in great need of aid, comfort, and reassurance that no further hegemony will be visited upon it. Sovereignty is the issue and rightfully so.

There are lessons to be learned, after we finish mourning the murders of men who were apparently engaged in the diplomatic efforts to establish this new multipolarity, or at least lay some groundwork for future talks along that line. You don't murder diplomats. Case closed; invaders out! And that is more difficult, more delicate, if up till now you have only yourself survived as a nation by clinging to the skirts of the American empire. Difficult but inevitable.

Iraq now can look toward Ukraine. Has that country done well taking the unipolar path? Hardly. Did South Vietnam? Hardly. But as spring approaches, how are each changing course? The dust is settling; you can see better. Travel with Pepe over the great mountains following real trading routes, of the centuries past. Bring your own unique assets to the fore and let friends visit and see what it is that makes you you. Another name for the Axis of Resistance is Peace and Prosperity. Mutual benefit. It's coming.

In this country, the US, long ago there was a mighty empire, the empire of the Anasazis, in the center of the Southwest. They caused to be built mighty edifices and they suborned the surrounding farming peoples because they had power to predict the seasonal changes and supposedly command rain to fall. Everyone believed it and everyone obeyed. For a time. There was no alternative. Until it didn't rain, and it didn't rain. So, the people left, they went where there were rivers, they abandoned the great Anasazi centre. It is in ruins today. But the people have survived.

We are suddenly in another pivotal moment. And it will be difficult for those of us who willingly or not have benefited from empire. But many of us say with you - invaders out! Peace and blessings to all!

Posted by: juliania | Jan 11 2020 0:33 utc | 77

: Likklemore | Jan 10 2020 21:15 utc | 31

The COLREGS do not apply to the exceptionals...

US destroyer blatantly violated international rules for preventing collisions at sea by making a manoeuvre to cross the Russian ship's course in the North Arabian Sea - @MoD_Russia🇷🇺

Posted by: Walter | Jan 11 2020 0:36 utc | 78

Cortes @ 47; Thanks for the link. Interesting Si-Fi. Maybe not that far fetched after all..

Manny @ 49; Welcome. Keep reading, and once you get through middle-school, maybe you'll change your mind.

Pft @ 57; Good read, thanks!

Posted by: ben | Jan 11 2020 0:44 utc | 79

Bearing in mind that Pravda ain't what it used to be this policy, described bluntly in article title : "If NATO strikes Kaliningrad, Russia will seize Baltic in 48 hours" if real, would probably extend to the prevention of similar build-up in the matter of the Iraqi and Iranian "MAGA" programs now developing.

Quote from Pravda> "As soon as we can see the concentration of American aircraft on airfields in Europe - they cannot reach us in any other way - we will simply destroy those airfields by launching our medium-range ballistic missiles at those targets. Afterwards, our troops will go on offensive in the Baltic direction and take control of the entire Baltic territory within 48 hours. NATO won't even have time to come to its senses - they will see a very powerful military buildup on the borders with Poland. Then they will have to think whether they should continue the war. As a result, all this will end with NATO losing the Baltic States," Mikhail Alexandrov told Pravda.Ru describing one of the scenarios for a possible development of events in case of Russia's response to NATO aggression.
Another variant for the breakthrough of the missile defense system in Kaliningrad provides for a massive cruise missile attack on the Russian territory. According to the expert, Russia has cruise and ballistic missiles that it can launch on the territory of the United States.
"If the Americans launch a missile attack on Kaliningrad, then we will strike, say, Seattle, where largest US aircraft factories are located. Having destroyed those factories we will deprive the Americans of the possibility to build their aircraft. They will no longer be able to build up their fleet of military aircraft," said Mikhail Alexandrov.
Russia has efficient air defense systems to intercept cruise missiles. If it goes about a ballistic missile strike, the expert reminded that Russia has a missile defense area in Moscow that can intercept at least 100 missiles and maybe even more, since there are no restrictions associated with the ABM Treaty.

One might assume the same policy would apply for all Ru, and Iran too, as Iran is critical to the survival of Ru.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 11 2020 0:58 utc | 80

On the topic of Iran not waiting for a military build up as a precursor to a US assault on Iran...

I wonder if an intermediate step for Iran might be, in cooperation with the PMU, to threaten to attack any new forces coming into Iraq, taking this to be escalation prior to an invasion, and therefore a threat that must countered before it worsens.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jan 11 2020 1:01 utc | 81

Posted by: powerandpeople | Jan 10 2020 20:30 utc | 19

you might be interestted in Gordon Hahn's take:

January 7, 2020
Russia, the Eurasian Triangle, and the Soleiman Assassination


Posted by: Medusa - Perseus | Jan 11 2020 1:14 utc | 82

@ Walter 79

but there is this query: what are the consequences of taunting? A review of the past year saw the u.s. losing stature and, since 2014, its dollar as world reserve currency being shunned.

Once that goes. Hmmm, and in the Gulf:

2015: Reuters Qatar launches first Chinese yuan clearing hub in Middle East

2017: China will 'compel' Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan and that will affect the dollar

2019: Abqaig - After the Houthis take down of KSA oil facilities, and failure of US defenses does KSA still feel secure?

Working closely with Russia, Soleimani was instrumental in the battles for Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
Trump, the braggart, stunned the world. Even their special relationship Brits!
It is reported when Boris was told of Soleimani's murder he said, O, F**K.

January 3, 2020 everything changed and they know not what they have done on behalf of Israel.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 11 2020 1:14 utc | 83

The attack on al Assad airbase was the US's Suez Moment.

What remains now is to decide how to dismantle the Empire.

Posted by: jiri | Jan 11 2020 1:18 utc | 84

An exit from Iraq would make the occupation and theft of oil from Syria untenable,and the land route from Iran to Syria and Lebanon less hazardous. This would be fatal for Israel and will insist the US stay in Iraq. Unfortunately for the US 5,000 will not cut the mustard, how many US troops could Trump put into Iraq to quell an uprising in election year? US bases in the Gulf are extremely vulnerable especially the largest base Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar who many regard as being located in enemy territory. Trump is gambling and many shrinks think he’s nuts, I agree..... Psychiatrists: Urgent action must be taken against Trump for creating Iran crisis

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 11 2020 1:20 utc | 85

James @ 69

The two videos don't look like the same situation.
The first appears to have been shot from the Farragut's port side; the second, from her starboard side.

And in the first the Russian ship appears to be bearing down on the Farragut off the Farragut's port bow. In the second the Russian ship appears to be overtaking the Farragut, coming up from the starboard side. I don't see how the videos can have been taken at the same time. The rule that seems to apply to the situ in video 1 is:

"Crossing Situation.

When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel."

Since the Russian vessel appears to have the Farragut on her starboard side, the Russian vessel should change course and presumably deflect to starboard. (Once the two vessels were as close as they were, both should have deflected to starboard.) But instead it looks as though the Russian vessel at the last minute deflected to port.

However, video 2 looks like a totally different situ. So to me it remains unclear what the actual disposition of the vessels was. The videos must have been taken at two different points in the encounter.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 11 2020 1:24 utc | 86

Thank you b for these great articles and allowing comments.

I want to nod out to ChasMark | Jan 10 2020 22:21 utc | 55 for a great comment.

For decades the US has controlled the world through petro dollars and counterinsurgency warfare. They lost every time at this but its more about the money spent and keeping fluidity within economic circles.

With Iran’s missile attack being an eye opener I hope the US is smart enough to know they have lost. MIC spokes person when asked why the base did not protect itself. He said they did not have the hardware to do it. No Patriots because they owned the sky up to that point. What is a Patriot to counterinsurgency. They had a M-901 (TEL) which they got rid of years ago supposedly. It is loaded with six TOW missiles and would generally be used to disable bomb laden vehicles approaching the gate. Counterinsurgency again.

Those days are over. It is the day of the missile and belt and road economic plans. No longer can air craft carriers hang off the coast to control the skies. How will the stunned US MIC bring in additional troops and equipment. Planes or ships are small targets but highly valuable ones. It is not always easy to know how things happen. Like the ships struck this past year in the gulf or KSA oil infrastructure hit, who did it and how is hard to determine.

I imagine the MIC is burning the mid-night oil with the realization that they are now in a war they are totally unprepared to fight. They have 15,000 soldiers strung out in Iraq unprotected from missile attack and no way to protect them. They will talk all BS but it is empty and they know it. They do have two things. One is fear and the other nukes.

There is much talk of weak knees among the Iraqi people and government. That is with good reason. The destruction of city after city. Some they find through the birth of deformed children that some of their cities are radioactive. Of course they are afraid the USA killed a million of them and turned 24 million into refugees. As time goes on they will realize that the bully is not what it was and every new strike by Iran will build the confidence to push the Americans out.

I wonder if the day of the nuke is coming to an end as well. Temper tantrum Trump decides to nuke either Iran or Iraq the world will speak up. Perhaps strike back as the Russians have said. If the point is the oil and gas in the area and the control of it then nukes will destroy that value.

If there was a time that America wet itself it is now. If the 9 flags stand together then move as one their cries will drive the heathen from their home. I also believe that if it happens then the USA is done. Played out.

Posted by: diveshopingoa | Jan 11 2020 1:26 utc | 87

"Iran could not have dreamt of a better President to rejuvenate its position domestically and regionally."

The problem is that Israel could not have dreamt of a better President to get a war with Launched. In fact, Ayelet Shaked, the Israeli Minister of Justice (some irony there), once said as much explicitly, albeit over the issue of the West Bank, not Iran.

Ayelet Shaked urges Israel to take advantage of Trump and annex West Bank


In a tweet following a Jerusalem Post conference in New York on Sunday, Ayelet Shaked said it was time for Israel to "establish facts on the ground".
"There is no better time than now," Shaked, who earlier this month was sacked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as justice minister, wrote on Twitter.
"Do not miss Trump's reign - that's what I just said at the Jerusalem Post in New York."

End Wuote

This is because Trump is devoted to Israel and devoted to an antipathy to Iran. The more Iran gains ground in the Middle East, the more Israel will push Trump (and any successor to Trump) to attack Iran. And he will do it - either deliberately or out of incompetence - and the difference doesn't matter.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hackr | Jan 11 2020 1:27 utc | 88

It occurs to me that a host country that is no in conflict with an over-staying force can make their life very challenging without having to actually fight them.

. . .

Posted by: Figleaf23 | Jan 10 2020 23:53 utc | 72

Change all the road and street signs! OK, there are fewer signs in Iraq than there were in Czechoslovakia, but it would still be worth a shot.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 11 2020 1:31 utc | 89

Condo, Dubya’s “House Negro”, got a Stillborn baby instead.

Posted by: William H Warrick | Jan 11 2020 1:40 utc | 90

That's the impression you'd get when the USN is crossing the oncoming RuN path. . . .

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 10 2020 23:48 utc | 71

Well, when two ships are approaching each other at an angle, they are both crossing each other's path. What counts is, who is going faster and thus will cross the other's bow sooner. It sure looks to me like when they got close the Ru vessel had the Farragut on her (Ru's) starboard side. If the two vessels were going opposite directions but on parallel tracks, they would pass same side to same side (i.e., port to port; starboard to starboard). If they are approaching at an angle, the relative relationship of the two sides will change with the speed of the vessels. You must visualize the situ from each vessel, not one, and gauge speed and relationship when the two courses cross. However, both vessels in proximity have the obligation to take action to avoid a collision. In that situ I believe the default is for both to deflect to starboard.

Wait to see who says uncle first at sea is a stupid game of chicken. Basically IMO both captains broke the rule of avoiding collisions and endangered their crews and their vessels.

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 11 2020 1:42 utc | 91

Abe | Jan 10 2020 22:59 utc | 63

The "decentraleyes" addon for firefox mitigates some of these data leaks. Apple IOS users are probably fucked any which way.

Posted by: Lurk | Jan 11 2020 1:45 utc | 92

Really @ 66, 87:

In the video where the Russian ship is in the top left-hand corner, the USS Farragut is moving away from the Russian ship. In that video, the Russian ship is travelling behind the US ship and crosses from the

Posted by: Jen | Jan 11 2020 1:51 utc | 93

Here is a wonderful and witty must read article by Gary Brecher [the War Nerd] which puts the US predicament in the Gulf into perspective
“Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.”
That’s right: no defense at all. The truth is that they have very feeble defenses against any attack with anything more modern than cannon. I’ve argued before no carrier group would survive a saturation attack by huge numbers of low-value attackers, whether they’re Persians in Cessnas and cigar boats or mass-produced Chinese cruise missiles. But at least you could look at the missile tubes and Phalanx gatlings and pretend that you were safe. But there is no defense, none at all, against something as obvious as a ballistic missile.

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 11 2020 1:53 utc | 94

Sorry, accidentally posted too early @ 94 after being interrupted. I meant to say that the Russian ship, travelling behind the Farragut, crossed from that ship's starboard side to its portside. This suggests that the Farragut did not give way in the first video when the Russian ship first approached but steamed on ahead and went in front of the Russian ship.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 11 2020 1:55 utc | 95

Medusa-Perseus @ 83: Thanks for the link. Despite the authors speaking, in the first paragraph, about Iran's "provocations", it's an informative and well written piece.

An excerpt;

"Again, it is high time that Washington get off its high horse and begin to negotiate a new world order with globe’s major powers. The prospects for this, however, appear less likely than ever. Unfortunately, when there was still an opportunity to use American power to reshape rather than destabilize the world, the Obama administration chose the latter. With the opportunity to shift course in a mode more imposed by, rather than imposed on the U.S. virtually dissipated, the Trump administration is continuing in the Obama mode of destabilization while falling back on the one-sidedness of the military option–with all the predictable consequences."

Posted by: ben | Jan 11 2020 1:56 utc | 96

For what it is worth...

An American (a professor at that, but not of culture) once asked back around 2011 the following: "Why do people in the Middle East talk so frequently about humiliation and dignity? Other countries were colonized or lost wars, yet they do not speak about humiliation and dignity. I assume that an answer to this question will help me understand Middle Eastern culture."

The differences between shame and guilt based cultures are interesting.
The terminology was popularized by Ruth Benedict in The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, who described American culture as a "guilt culture" and Japanese culture as a "shame culture." The Islamic Middle East is generally a shame based culture.

In east-west interactions these two distinct worldviews and values systems operate -- i.e. guilt vs shame. For example:

"Loyalty: All Arabs belong to a group or tribe. Loyalty to the family tribe is considered paramount to maintaining honor. One does not question the correctness of the elders or tribes in front of outsiders. It is paramount that the tribe sticks together in order to survive. Once again, Arab history and folklore are full of stories of heroes who were loyal to the end."

In the Eastern view (well Islamic anyway), there is a stronger sense that one has 'it' (honor) by birth and then risks losing it through various shameful actions etc. As distinct from a work ethic stance where working towards something is the goal.

The main issue at play in the recent Iran-US-Iraqi dynamic from this point of view is not the surface level simpleton MSM narrative of who was the good & bad guys etc. Leave that for the childish unsophisticated 'super hero' mentalities raised on comics.

Rather, in this case, it is the fact/perception that the Arab Iraqi 'host' failed to uphold the accepted ancient honor codes of protecting an invited guest (well at least for three days). Only barbarians do not understand and play by this value system.

So, the USA, as the said culturally ignorant actors, is actually not really the core issue in this case. That is just an inconvenient fact of history.

What is more real and politically charged is the fact that the Iraqi Arab nation (leadership) invited an Iranian (Persian) guest -- allegedly to talk peace deals with the Wahhabi gang -- and failed to uphold/honor the ancient host-guest codes. Even if there was no duplicity involved, the fact remains scratched into the historical record that they failed -- ergo, shame must now be dealt with.

Therefore, the future events will more than likely unfold one way or another according to the honor-shame etiquette process.

Now, of course some in the US hierarchy may well know and understand this dynamic and apply it -- and Gregory Bateson used the term "Schismogenesis" in the 1930s and played his part in WW2 within the (then) Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an institutional precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), against Japanese held territories in the Pacific. ( )

Posted by: imo | Jan 11 2020 2:14 utc | 97

They went for two:

AP reports: US tried to take out another Iranian leader, but failed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military tried, but failed, to take out another senior Iranian commander on the same day that an American airstrike killed the Revolutionary Guard’s top general, U.S. officials said Friday.

The officials said a military airstrike by special operations forces targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps but the mission was not successful. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a classified mission.[.]

Officials said both Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Shahlai were on approved military targeting lists, which indicates a deliberate effort by the U.S. to cripple the leadership of Iran’s Quds force, which has been designated a terror organization by the U.S. Officials would not say how the mission failed.[.]

Shocked I am. NOT.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 11 2020 2:19 utc | 98

There has been a similar incident between US and Russian navies a few months ago.

Same claims from the USN against the Russians.
Guess what? The video clearly showed the Russians on the starboard side of the USN ship.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Jan 11 2020 2:20 utc | 99

America and the american people have been dragged into these wars again and again for well over a century by the Economic and Political Elites, as well as by the very nature of its system, which in short would be called capitalism or Imperialism. Some might call its Disaster Capitalism, Neo-colonialism, Finance Capitalism, Exceptionalist American Capitalism, whatever the name....

Until the very complex dynamic within the country itself actually changes, I don't see how the Elites will stop or could be made to stop intervening, interfering, bombing and occupying foreign countries; all to get their enormous profits and to satisfy their exceptionalist pride and imperial avarice.

Change the nature of the system and the effects on the rest of the world will change.

Short of all that of course the Iraqis will have to take this into their own hands, and resist in some of the very many ways that occupied peoples have resisted and finally kicked out occupying powers over the centuries. It won't be easy as the US, regardless of which political party holds power, is ruthless, persistent and uses 'divide and conquer' tactics and its enormous economic powers very well - unfortunately.

I hope the Iraqis are creative, and hope they succeed. And soon

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jan 11 2020 2:38 utc | 100

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