Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 02, 2020

What Will The Trump Administration Do When Iraq Asks U.S. Troops To Leave?

The reports about the current events in Iraq miss the root cause of the crisis.

During last summer there were several large explosions on bases held by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF/PMU/Hashed) in Iraq. These were either caused by extreme summer heat or by Israeli air attacks launched from U.S. bases in Iraq or Syria. Most PMF leaders believe that the second is the case.

There were also drone attacks on positions held by PMF at the Syrian Iraqi border at Abu Kamal/Al-Qa'im. These were likewise attributed to Israel which allegedly flew the drones from U.S. bases in northeast Syria.

The alleged aim of these operations was to disrupt the land route for material coming from Iran and going to Syria. Several dozens PMF members  were wounded during the incidents.

It was after these attacks that a small campaign of revenge attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq began. These were mostly wild mortar or small missile shots which created little damage. In total some 17 such attacks happened. The U.S. alleged, without giving any evidence, that the missiles used were smuggled in from Iran and used by Iran supported forces against the U.S. No evidence was ever produced to support those allegation.

The PMF/PMU are Iraqi troops and part of the Iraqi military establishment. They are under command of the Iraqi prime minister. The Iraqi state pays their salaries. They have their own munition supplies and do not depend on Iran. It is quite possible that some of the PMU members took shots at U.S. bases in revenge for the explosions in their bases without any order or support from Iran.

On December 12 the Carnegie Middle East Center asked several 'experts' how the U.S. should react to the attacks which it alleges come from Iran.

Michael Knights, a 'senior fellow' at the Washington Institute which is part of the Israel lobby, responded:

As mobile launch platforms may relocate or be collocated with civilians, the United States needs to maintain updated sets of pre-vetted “response option” targets that can be struck at a time and place of its choosing. The United States should wait, if need be, for militia headquarters to re-fill, not just strike empty buildings as quickly as possible. Any target in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, or elsewhere should be considered fair game.

When on December 29 several missiles hit a U.S. base in Iraq and killed one U.S. contractor the Trump administration did exactly that. It bombed five sites at the Iraqi Syrian border hundreds of kilometers away from the original attack. Some 32 people died of which only nine were members of the of the Kata'ib Hezbollah group of the PMF. The others killed were Iraqi border policy men and regular Iraqi soldiers.

We immediately predicted that the incident was likely to end the presence of U.S. military in Iraq.

After the official mourning family members and comrades of the deceased soldiers stormed the perimeter of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. They left yesterday after the prime minister guaranteed them that the Iraqi parliament would soon vote on a law that would evict all U.S. forces.

The U.S. has reinforced its embassy guards. It has airlifted an airborne infantry battalion to Kuwait and put another 4,000 troops on standby.

The Trump administration did not apologize for its attack on the Iraqi troops. Instead it appealed to Iraqi sovereignty, which it had broken when it attacked the PMF, when it demanded better protection for its embassy. Even today, with no demonstrators anywhere nearby, the U.S. was flying helicopters patrols over Baghdad. The Iraqis see that as a further insult.

U.S. media have joined the Trump administration in describing the PMF as 'Iran backed'.

When five years ago, when the Islamic State overran large parts of Iraq, Iran helped to stand up the PMF by sending trainers and weapons. But there is no evidence that Iranian influence on these groups is still strong or even relevant. There is no evidence that Iran is involved at all in the current kerfuffle. The U.S. and Israel attacked these groups throughout the last year and they were already highly motivated to take revenge.

It were U.S. and Israeli interest that made Iraq into a battle field against Iran:

U.S. military personnel are in Iraq supposedly on an anti-ISIS mission. Under the Trump administration, there appears to have been mission creep, in Iraq as well as Syria, in which somehow confronting Iran has become part of a new mission. That mission has never been justified. No one has explained exactly how the current state of Iraqi-Iranian relations threatens U.S. interests—beyond any threat to the very same U.S. military personnel in Iraq, which brings circular reasoning into play. Seemingly forgotten among all this is how Iran, and the Iraqi elements it supports, also have been performing an anti-ISIS mission.

The U.S. sees Iraq and Syria as the grounds on which it can fight Iran. Neither country wants to be in such a position.

The Iraqi government, its prime minister and its president, the major religious scholars in Iraq and the heads of major Iraqi parties have all condemned the U.S. attack. During the last few days the public mood in Iraq has changed from mild anti-Iranian to strong anti-U.S. sentiment. As there is no apology coming out of Washington, only more threats, the Iraqi parliament is likely to agree to ask the U.S. forces to leave.

That would also be in the best interest of the U.S. But the Trump administration, especially the neocons Pompeo and Esper, want to keep the troops in Iraq. It needs them to support its shenanigans in Syria and to further threaten Iran.

What can and what will it attempt to do to change the Iraqis' minds?

Posted by b on January 2, 2020 at 18:45 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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B--
A typically well considered analysis. I wonder, though, if confronting Iran might be seen to have a secondary byproduct
almost as valued as the first, in some quarters. It strikes me as a least worth considering that the Blob would like to see the US drawn more deeply into conflict in the ME precisely to weaken Trump's chances of re-election. Impeachment may have weakened his resolve, such as it may be, to draw down ME forces. This would make it easier for the Borg to initiate actions, with or without Trump's approval. And to "look strong" he backs their play.

Insofar as this may be plausible, I would think it increases the odds of a full-on war, perhaps initiated by Israel, Bibi having his own domestic problems. Drawing the Orange Bad Man into a war with Iran might be the Borg's best chance to have a new president, fully enlisted in the the forever war effort.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jan 2 2020 19:01 utc | 1

What do you think a mafia running a protetion racket would do to change Iraqi minds?

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 2 2020 19:03 utc | 2

What Will The Trump Administration Do When Iraq Asks U.S. Troops To Leave?....

The U.S. has reinforced its embassy guards. It has airlifted an airborne infantry battalion to Kuwait and put another 4,000 troops on standby.

I'd say the answer already is in motion. Like I said in the previous thread, I don't see them going anywhere without a fight. They'll attempt South Vietnam-style regime change, and if that doesn't work try to wreck the country and turn it into another Somalia, before they'll voluntarily leave.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 2 2020 19:11 utc | 3

b: These were either caused by extreme summer heat or by Israeli air attacks

Didn't Israel ultimately admit to these attacks?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2020 19:12 utc | 4

Why would the USA adhere to the wishes of the Iraqi government? Did they respect the international law regarding a war of aggression when they occupied the country? Did they regard international law in Serbia? In Libya? In any other country they attacked throughout the time since WW2?

Posted by: Peter Moritz | Jan 2 2020 19:12 utc | 5

b: What can and what will it attempt to do to change the Iraqis' minds?

Well, ISIS scare-mongering, of course.

US will stay in Iraq and Syria as long they can claim that there is a threat of "ISIS resurgence".

Essentially, what that means is that as long as Iraq and Syria are deemed "at risk" of charting their own path as part of an Iranian-led "shia cresent", USA will be there to ruin the party.

The most visible mission appears to be to blockade Iranian economic/military support to Syria and delivery of missiles/missile tech to Hezbollah.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2020 19:28 utc | 6

I am not so sure about the popular support that Kataib Hezbollah has. The demonstration near the embassy drew only a few hundred people.

Note also that Jonathan Krohn claims that KH "disappeared" thousands of people.

Posted by: Wim | Jan 2 2020 19:30 utc | 7

The American strikes against the five command centers were a direct and immediate response to a nationwide anti ISIS security sweep which had been announced earlier on the same day. The Iraqi military had announced the sweep, announced the zones being swept, and announced which divisions and which brigades would be involved. The command centers that were hit were almost certainly key to the operation in the Al Bukhamal border region. The 'retaliation for a contractor' was a hasty cover story.

Posted by: Josh | Jan 2 2020 19:31 utc | 8

The US has waged war against Iraq for 29 years now. They have destroyed it many times over. They have turned it into a fully functional kleptocracy. That being said if the US escalates the Shiites are very capable of exacting a price. US troops will die and the US population is largely sick of it. The empire is teetering. They are being challenged all over the planet and honestly look weak and vulnerable. The attacks on Saudi Arabia and the tanker seizure conflicts show how weak the US is. The US and Israel have blown stuff up, bluffed, and bullied about as far as it will take them. Iran is nothing like Iraq and they have been preparing for this conflict since 1979. They are ready for it.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 2 2020 19:39 utc | 9

By now the Kurds should be wise to US manipulations of them but perhaps they'll fall yet again for another promise of "freedom" and "independence". That is, if they're willing to participate in yet another "resistance struggle" against Baghdad that allows the US to move more troops into the borderland areas where Iraq, Syria and Turkey meet. This looks the most likely answer to B's rhetorical question.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 2 2020 19:45 utc | 10

@ wim 7

I never heard of Jonathan Krohn before, but from skimming his twitter I can say I'll need a more reliable source than a hack who writes for Mother Jones, admires the Washington Post and "Speaker Pelosi", evidently suffers from Trump Derangement and says "Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a coward, a friend of violent dictators, and an enemy of free peoples everywhere."

Posted by: Russ | Jan 2 2020 19:47 utc | 11

It's not just the Trump admin and neocons that would try to block troop withdrawals. Liberal warmongers and the leaders of the Democratic party also would oppose that, both because they're a part of the MIC, and also because it could be a way to criticize Trump.

This has already happened. When Trump was negotiating with North Korea, Democrats wanted to disallow any removal of US troops from SK. And of course in Syria, Democrats suddenly care about the Kurds and criticize removing troops.

Even Obama tried to extend Bush's deadline for "removing" Iraqi active troops, but the Iraqis insisted that part of the new SOFA would be that US war criminal soldiers would be tried in Iraqi courts.

Nearly all US leaders are hopelessly corrupt, arrogant, violent, and imperialistic. If Iraq wants to get rid of US soldiers, it shouldn't be expecting that turning to Democrats for aid will help, at all. They should be seen as much as pariahs as neocons.

Posted by: Wind Hippo | Jan 2 2020 19:57 utc | 12

What is the mechanism in place in the Iraki parliament to prevent a vote on US troop departure?

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 2 2020 19:59 utc | 13

I wonder whether this reinforcement, only achieved after this kerfuffle with the alibi of "self-defense", which otherwise would had not been possible, since no more US troops have been allowed so far in spite of the US pretension past months after the alleged Syria withdrawal, all the more with ISIS "phisically" defeated ( according to Esper ), is directed to some actions to be taken during the coming Iranian Parliamentary elections to be held in February 2020...Why suddnely now?

https://twitter.com/PressTV/status/1212734184000819201

It has all the trace of constructing people´s allowance for an action on Iran.. all the rethoric coming from the WH officials points at that....and it seems that they run short of time...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 2 2020 20:19 utc | 14

I know it's impossible that the MSM in the US will ever expose the 'neocons' for what they really are, dual citizen Israeli firsters. The neocons are false American patriots who see their role as keeping America's defense budget at ridiculously high levels, and American soldiers on the ground in the countries surrounding Israel. Years ago Nathan Perlmutter, then head of the ADL, graciously said it all in a published piece titled: "THE REAL ANTISEMITISM IN AMERICA. Therein he called the Vietnam protesters, and any American working for peace, anti-semites. His reasoning was simple; Israel needs An America to have a giant defense budget and embroiled in ME conflicts to protect Israel. The 'neocons' 99% Jewish believe the same. Everything neocon is fake, their think tanks dream up fake threats, and beyond dreaming they create the threats, like 911.

Posted by: joetv | Jan 2 2020 20:27 utc | 15

Trump is more likely to stay and will escalate the weaponry as the Iraqi demands to go increase. He is repeating the Vietnam scenario and his Dien Bien Phu awaits the moment for the USA. It is abundantly clear that his allegiance is to global finance capitalism and the US soldiers are just expendable pawns.

Meet the new Doge and it doesn't take much to identify members of the ten across the planet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 2 2020 20:37 utc | 16

Posted by: Russ | Jan 2 2020 19:47 utc | 11
that was my thought to after skimming his twitter feed for 15min..
He boasts his "fam" can email him to get the evidence, but i am not willing to use any of my mails to contact a mockingbird or see any possibilities that he will answer b4 any "10 min emailadress" is invalid or that i will bother to sit and update the inbox every 10min for 72hours just in case he was serious...
Per
Noreg

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 2 2020 20:43 utc | 17

Russ @ 3

I agree. In fact, the on-going destruction of the national integrity of Iraq is, and has been, the intent for a very long time. Turning what used to be a leading secular Arab state into a Somali-like failed state is their definition of success.

Being able to station troops there, close to Iran, is a bonus.


Posted by: Castellio | Jan 2 2020 20:44 utc | 18

@ b with another thoughtful post about the ME and who wrote what the next step is in Iraq's political moves
"
They left yesterday after the prime minister guaranteed them that the Iraqi parliament would soon vote on a law that would evict all U.S. forces.
"

I saw/read a ZH posting (no link) with the headline mostly that "This is not 1979 and Trump is not Jimmy Carter"

I agree but would add that China and Russia were not outwardly supporting Iran at that time as well. We have a lot of media bluster in an attempt to build support for attacking Iran in some limited way that does not pull China/Russia in. They can only do that by manipulation of the social narrative and ongoing killing of Iraq people in Iraq/Syria trying to incite a response they can misrepresent to enough people and countries to back an escalation.

Another article I read but don't remember linking to here is that China has a good relationship with the "stans" where Pompeo was going to try and drum up support. Pompeo cancelled his visit to manage the Iraq escalation and part of that cancellation was that he would not have gotten the support he was looking for, IMO.

Trump, because he is the Good Cop, has to, at a minimum, keep NATO nations on board with whatever idiocy
they conspire to try to do next.

I continue to posit, as an American, that Trump is an active participant in the circus being presented to the public....he is an experienced character actor and is in the position that the elite want him. I have not been shown any evidence that Trump has a humanistic bone in his body.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 20:50 utc | 19

Or the attack on "U.S. base" in Kirkuk was false flag and the plan is to justify attack on Iran which is to lead to war
and so plan is pretty much proceeding as intended.

Posted by: jared | Jan 2 2020 21:03 utc | 20

It bears reminding that Iraq has fabulous oil wealth (about 264 million dollars a day, every day for well over a decade!) - and I don't know exactly where all that money has gone, a bit to local corrupt politicians, basically nothing to the Iraqi public, the bulk simply must have been stolen by western oligarchs of some form or another (no I don' know exactly who but that money didn't vanish).

There is going to be a lot of political pressure for the US not to leave, because it might upset the gravy train of some very powerful people. Iraq is an occupied country which is simply being looted of natural resources.

Trump fought the swamp, and the swamp won.

Posted by: TG | Jan 2 2020 21:05 utc | 21

Another invitation to make trouble akin to Obama's "red line" in 2013?

Pentagon chief threatens Iran with ‘pre-emptive action’ if embassy attacks continue

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has warned that he will take “preemptive action” to “protect US forces” if he receives word of attacks by Iran or its “proxy forces,” claiming to have indications of such attacks in the future.

Esper said he expects more “provocative behavior” by “Iran-backed” groups – and warned that “they will likely regret it.”

“They’ve been…attacking our bases for months now,” Esper claimed, apparently pinning every rocket attack on a coalition base in recent months on Iran. He called on Iraq to “do more…to address these Iran-sponsored militia groups and to stop their attacks on US and coalition forces,” complaining the US has not “seen sufficient action on that front” from Baghdad.

The Trump administration blamed Tuesday’s siege of the US embassy in Baghdad on Tehran and sent 750 troops to Iraq in order to beef up security at the diplomatic compound. Iran, President Donald Trump has said, will be held "fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities."


!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2020 21:11 utc | 22

Wasn’t there a planned oil pipeline from Kirkuk to Haifa planned a few years back. I never see mention of this in any info about the attacks.

Posted by: Lurk-one | Jan 2 2020 21:12 utc | 23

TG @21: Trump fought the swamp, and the swamp won.

Trump pretended to fight the swamp and the rest of us lost.

TIFFY

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2020 21:13 utc | 24

Below is a little financial context for why a war is needed to overwhelm the US/Western economies crashing

Below is a link to a ZH posting and the take away quote that sums it up well

The Price Of Year-End Market Stability: $414 Billion

The take away quote
"
What was the price tag for this market "calm"? Just about $414 billion, which as Hill notes was the scope of the Fed’s footprint in the front-end: $256 billion in repo injections ($211.4 term and $44.3 in overnight) and $157.5 bn in Bill purchases.
"

And then there is another piece of the view provided in another ZH link below and well summarized with the take away quote

Helicopter Money Is Here: How The Fed Monetized Billions In Debt Sold Just Days Earlier

The take away quote
"
So what is going on? Well, for all those saying the US may soon unleash helicopter money, and/or MMT, we have some 'news': helicopter money is already here, and the Fed is now actively monetizing debt the Treasury sold just days earlier using Dealers as a conduit... a "conduit" which is generously rewarded by the Fed's market desk with its marked up purchase price.

In other words, the Fed is already conducting Helicopter Money (and MMT) in all but name. As shown above, the Fed monetized T-Bills that were issued just three days earlier - and just because it is circumventing the one hurdle that prevents it from directly purchasing securities sold outright by the Treasury, the Fed is providing the Dealers that made this legal debt circle-jerk possible with millions in profits, even as the outcome is identical if merely offset by a few days.

Perhaps during Fed Chair Powell's next Congressional hearings, someone actually has the guts to ask the only question that matters: why is the Fed now monetizing US debt, and pretending it isn't doing so just because it grants Dealers a 3-day "holding" period, for which it then rewards them generously?
"

So, back to what Trump is going to do or not. There are a lot of sticks in the global fire being moved around in hopes to keep the blaze of empire burning brightly. Trump is a bit character player in a big media circus brought to you by the clash of civilizations that is occurring in our world.

Stay tuned to all the rings in the circus....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 21:15 utc | 25

@ psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 21:15 utc | 25

Yes, ZH has been saying since at least 2016 (before they went all in for Trump) that the FED was running out of ammo and when that happens (given that the real economy is struggling) the solution has generally been war. When they started saying that, I assumed it was just more doom porn as they say. However, I think they would (have) argued that war with Iran will not be sufficient to reset the system.

Posted by: jared | Jan 2 2020 21:22 utc | 26

Josh@8 - PMUs of Kataib Hezbollah on the Iraqi-Syrian border had just finished sweeps for ISIS cells in the area south of al Qaim. They were not called in to support the ongoing Will of Victory - Phase 8 - to the northeast, although other PMU units (including KH) were involved.

My guess: CENTCOM was desperate to close Hwy. 20 (route from al Qaim to Olive Group's Hwy. 1 mercenary-guarded toll road to Jordan and at Tanf). KH was inconveniently headquartered there, interfering with CENTCOM'S fake ISIS land-control ops.

Note the pattern of attacks as shown in this map:
https://search4dinar.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/image-134.jpg?w=700
It roughly corresponds to the attacked areas listed (subject to the usual spelling weirdness making mapping difficult).

That map does not show the Syrian location, which I assume was the supposed Imam Ali Missile Base that Israel and the GCC are so worried about.

If anything, K-1 was attacked (if indeed it was) by ISIS because it was the Combined Operations Center for the Will of Victory campaign. That would explain why US advisors and ISF would have been there, in addition to the PMUs. Not all PMUs are KH, but KH units were part of Phase 8. The 107mm rocket attack false flag against a COC with KH present is laughable. On the other hand, Barzani has been crying about how critical a US presence is in Iraq. There's a guy with a motive.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 2 2020 21:26 utc | 27

Photos of the aftermath of the storming of US Embassy Bagdad I think nobody has shown so far...

This can not be fuelled by Iran, this is human rage accumulated for 3 decades of opression...this is people wanting to pay back at least a tiny taste of what they have suffered on their skins for so long...Savage destruction and till reduction of all to ashes ...Some of these youg men were children when the US bombs were falling non stop during day and night for several weeks plunging them into darkness, cold, hunger, fear, and absolute incommunication...Nobody in the US felt any piety for them...why they would feel any now?

It may be not tomorrow proper, but that this a ponit of no return it is clear...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 2 2020 21:42 utc | 28

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jan 2 2020 19:39 utc | 9

"That being said if the US escalates the Shiites are very capable of exacting a price. US troops will die and the US population is largely sick of it. "

Really? Where are the antiwar movements like the 70's? And many clueless Americans still believe the two-parties system? Or maybe Trump supporters and leaning expect MAGA, Oh goodness me 2020 repeats of the 2016?

People hates me for saying Americans’ love to kill!

Posted by: JC | Jan 2 2020 22:09 utc | 29

@goldhoarder #9
I'd actually say the US has been waging war against Iraq for 40 years, seeing as the intent was not for Iraq to win the Iran-Iraq War but rather to destroy both countries

Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jan 2 2020 22:42 utc | 31

Why are the Iraqis so angry, couldn't be the 500,000 Iraqi children starved to death through sanctions which US Sec of State M Albright said was a "price worth paying", or the million Iraqis killed and whose infrastructure was destroyed in operation "Iraqi Freedom" then later when ISIS sent thousands of Jihadis from Syria hundreds of kilometers in Toyota trucks kicking up tons of dust into Northern Iraq, all the time being monitored and tracked by US satellites and spy planes, the US did nothing, simply to put pressure on the Iraqi government. In order to have any self respect, Iraq needs to expel the US military and do deals with China and Russia, if they will not go [and they won't]then they will have no other option than to use force as is legitimate under International law. They were driven out before when the explosively formed projectiles [EFP's] were introduced [there is no defence against this weapon.

Posted by: Harry law | Jan 2 2020 22:45 utc | 32

Good recap and analysis done by Ramin Mazaheri. A sample from the middle:

"Questions worth answering, but the 'blame Iran' crowd only insists that the Gulf War II devastation of Iraq – maybe unparalleled since the “Korean conflict” – is the fault of non-belligerent Tehran. The destruction of infrastructure capital, the wasting/fleeing of human capital, the lives ruined by death/maiming/psychological trauma – this is all too much for a human to fully grasp, but one should not take the approach of the US and make no effort to grasp it at all.

"This lack of effort at self-reflection is very typically American even within their own society – if America’s leaders will push a McCarthy-era Russophobia wave for three years just to avoid honest discussion of the failures of the Democratic Party and 'democracy with American characteristics', then why should we expect those leaders to be honest about Iraq? Why should we ask those leaders to honestly account for the murders, bombings, assassinations, strangulations and corruption they ordered for three decades?

"Given the three decades of US domination and occupation, how can anyone be surprised by the recent protests targeting their embassy?

"Indeed, many Iraqis, especially their young, are probably saying, 'Why did it take so long to get here?'"

These observations are very important, IMO:

"It is thus very similar to Iran’s military victories in 2019 – shooting down a drone, stopping a British-flagged tanker: these are not enormous military victories but they are enormously symbolic. They are not the momentous result of long battles but instead herald the very beginning of new long-term forces which are increasing in inevitability every moment.

"Yet again in the past year, American planners were dumbfounded, scared and did not know how to react. The US is not powerless in Iraq but for a long moment they felt that way – for a long moment Iraqis felt powerful over Americans. These are not small cultural and psychological things, given the Iraqi historical context." [my emphasis]

While great differences exist between Iraq and Iran, their peoples long for essentially the same things politically, economically and spiritually. And the reality is virtually no nation has the dysfunctional "values" of the Outlaw US Empire, which is why it's disliked most everywhere, even by presumed allies. My question: Will Iran help Iraq if the latter requests its assistance in evicting Outlaw US Empire forces?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 2 2020 22:51 utc | 33

Seth Frantzen from JPost weighs in on the embassy attack:

The US threatened to respond, and on December 29 the US killed almost two dozen Kataib Hezbollah members in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Unlike Israel, which conducts precision strikes designed to kill very few, the US sent a message.

Iran then sent a message in return. Baghdad opened the security gates around the Green Zone, and pro-Iran protesters marched in and put up flags around the US Embassy compound. This was designed not to kill Americans but to humiliate and show that if the militias want, they could take over the embassy. The US responded with a show of force. But that force is temporary. Iran has sent a message: Iraq is ours. They’ve also sent that message by using the same militias that targeted America to kill 500 Iraqis and wound 19,000.

FOR THE US, Israel and other countries concerned by Iraq being handed over to the IRGC and Iran, there may not be a way forward. Iraq has enshrined the militias as part of the armed forces.

Regional Affairs: : Iraq blows up in America’s face

I leave it to you to decide who suckered whom into doing something stupid here.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2020 22:58 utc | 34

The question is if Iraq will pass legislation to forbid US military to be located in Iraq?

Until that happens any exit of US forces is just speculation.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 2 2020 23:06 utc | 35

Rocket Attack on Baghdad International Airport

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2020 23:17 utc | 36

goadhoader @ 9
The US has waged war against Iraq for 29 years now.

29 down 71 to go.

As long as US dollars spend like dollars and not like rubles or pesos this will continue. The Iraqi leadership loves the dollars and are being well paid to walk the tightrope between their people and the US. I am sure the G is spreading the loot around to the right people to keep the facade going.

If Iran was really behind the embassy attack you would see human wave assaults of martyrs getting mowed down by helicopter gunships and US infantry. You would see the US compound plastered with missiles and truck bombs from one end to the other.

This event appears to be a carefully crafted show to extract more dollars out of Uncle Sam at Christmas more than anything. After all, the show must go on.


Posted by: dltravers | Jan 2 2020 23:35 utc | 37

@ Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2020 23:17 utc | 36 with the link to a report about bombings at/around Baghdad airport...thanks

It is interesting at the end of the report they quote a source as saying that two SUVs were bombed near the airport which may indicate that the originators of the "rocket(s)" may have been taken out quickly or some very "important people" may have been taken out, being the intention from the beginning, and it just happened near the airport.

What will the Western media story of this be?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 23:37 utc | 38

Being interviewed on MSNBC today, Esper specifically pointed out that U.S. forces are in Iraq at Iraq’s invitation. This would have been a good opportunity for the interviewer to ask whether the U.S. would leave if that invitation is withdrawn, but unsurprisingly no such question was asked.

Posted by: David G | Jan 2 2020 23:38 utc | 39

I decided to answer my own question about the Baghdad airport bombing. Below is the short Reuters posting at present

"
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Three Katyusha rockets fell on Baghdad International Airport, the military-run Security Media Cell said in a statement on early Friday.

The rockets landed near the air cargo terminal, burning two vehicles and injuring several citizens, Security Media Cell added.
"

If two vehicles were burnt then I repeat my guess that "real important people" were in those trucks.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 23:42 utc | 40

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 23:37 utc | 38

There still seem to be several narratives about who did what to whom there. I'm inclined to wait and see. Somebody is upping the ante, could be US, could be PMU/Iran.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2020 23:45 utc | 41

@40 Psychohistorian, @36 Bemildred.

Reports now the PMU relations director's been assasinated by airstrike at the airport.

https://twitter.com/Intel_Sky/status/1212872361080500224

Posted by: S.O. | Jan 2 2020 23:46 utc | 42

Starting to look like a very convenient "Gulf of Tonkin" incident on the making. A rent-a-crowd banging pots and pans and no real dangerous weapons makes for some good timely TV optics, and justifies a fly-in rescue mission etc. Then next some real devices set off on the civilian airport to make chaos etc. Why didn't these devices get used on the US embassy if it was the usual suspects and the 'radicals' were serious? I suspect it is because this is all about the other set of 'USual suspects' on another distraction strategy. Russia, China and Iran navies war gaming in the Gulf and here are some 2020 New Year fireworks celebrating the military industrial complex "it's the (only) economy (left), stupid." I apply the precautionary principle in spades. Until it is clearly analysed and proven, it is assumed to be another BS programme on the making.

Posted by: imo | Jan 3 2020 0:02 utc | 43

Iran is the main justification for the US presence in Syria and Iraq since nobody really takes seriously the threat of ISIS since Putin exposed US support for ISIS. ISIS was needed to provide a reason for staying in Iraq and stirring things up in Syria so we could intervene there. The point being we will always have an excuse to stay and will manufacture reasons as needed.

Its all about the Oil and Israels long term plans for expansion of Greater Israel. You can bet someone is getting Syrian and Iraqi oil at bargain basement prices. I cant confirm it but I read somewhere the US contractor that was killed was from Exxon related to oil wells in the area. In Syria the oil controlled by the US is said to be diverted to Israeli via Turkey. True or not I dont know. Certainly seems plausible

Posted by: Pft | Jan 3 2020 0:09 utc | 44

".. killed one US contractor .."
I have heard that the contractor was, specifically, an oilfield worker. Any truth to this rumor?

Posted by: emmaeus | Jan 3 2020 0:22 utc | 45

the reinforcement of more american troops will further make the atmosphere more volatile. but it is america's gift to the iraqis to help entice them to bring back the road side bombings intended for these troops. the americans better get ready their body bags.

Posted by: Andrew Weed | Jan 3 2020 0:27 utc | 46

Looks like either the us or the zionists murdered a bunch of iranian guards and the pmu honcho. That's a provocation - a deliberate action to induce a war between empire/zion and Iran.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 3 2020 0:31 utc | 47

Getting worse: https://twitter.com/iraqisecurity/status/1212890304287846401?s=21

"This is catastrophic for the security of #Iraq.

Looking more likely that Muhammad Ridha Al-Jabri, the Hashd’s public relations official + Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani, Lebanese Hezbollah’s top man in Iraq, were targeted near Baghdad Int’l Airport.

The retaliation will be seismic."

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 3 2020 0:33 utc | 48

Russ @3

'They'll attempt South Vietnam-style regime change, and if that doesn't work try to wreck the country '

I guess this is where we get to find out if Trump can think 3 moves ahead, or not. Personally I doubt it, but would be relieved to be proven wrong.

Posted by: Dow | Jan 3 2020 0:35 utc | 49

Magnier writes that the Outlaw US Empire has fallen for its own tricks:

"The United States of America has fallen into the trap of its own disinformation policy, as exemplified by the work of one of its leading strategic study centres, a neocon think tank promoting war on Iran."

How did it do that?

"Analysts’ wishful thinking overwhelmed their sense of reality, notably the possibility of realities invisible to them. They fell into the same trap of misinformation and ignorance that has shaped western opinion since the occupation of Iraq in 2003. The invasion of Iraq was justified by the presence of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” which never existed. An information war was waged against Syria with the goal of overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad. The US supported terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda for this purpose. Mainstream media coverage of the war in Syria- mainly through WhatsApp, social media, Skype, activists and jihadists- unfolded at the expense of destroying its own credibility, and that of western journalism in general."

Magnier goes on to relate the events and the way the Iraqi PM was treated by Esper. I see the Iraqi Parliament soon passing a bill ousting the Outlaw US Empire from Iraq totally--embassy staff and the whole kit and caboodle--otherwise, open warfare will break out of the sort the Empire will lose as it's in no way prepared for such an escalation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 3 2020 0:36 utc | 50

Walter @47: Yep, that's kind of what if smells like, Esper. But still seeing a wide variety of casualty counts, etc. I am low-minded enough to still suspect Iran might be capable of deception here too. A false-flag false-flag.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 3 2020 0:45 utc | 51

Going to explode, IMO. Outlaw US Empire did the deed:

"US occupiers assassinated an Iraqi PMF/PMU leader near Baghdad airport

"These occupiers are killing Iraqis who are considered security forces by the Iraqi state."

The protests at the Green Zone were nothing compared to what will occur tomorrow. IMO, war will result and Trump will lose the election.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 3 2020 0:45 utc | 52

This is a vengeance for the storming of the embassy...

"The attack reportedly targeted several SUVs belonging to a leadership committee of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the collection of semi-independent militias tied to the Iraqi government that were formed to fight Daesh in 2014"

https://twitter.com/elenaevdokimov7/status/1212889932684857344

These people, leaders of the PMU, through these same photos, who were present at the funerals of the PMU and Iraqi police officers and military men on 31 December in Baghdad, were targeted by Pompeo yesterday as "terrorists" and accused of being present at the storming of the US Embassy, when the photos are of the funeral procession...and just today some of them are dead...

https://twitter.com/TomtheBasedCat/status/1212878434042613764

https://twitter.com/SecPompeo/status/1212160732445499394

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 0:53 utc | 53

IMO, Brasco_Aad nails it:

"US: 'You were playing (US embassy attack), but we really mean business. Iraq belongs to us.'

"They are retaliating like how the IDF and the Mossad retaliate: full blown attack and without mercy.

"The ball is in Iran's corner now and playtime is over."

And from earlier:

"Stupid Hashd leadership.

"US Def. Secretary Esper LITERALLY announced the start of a new targeted killing campaign against the Hashd leadership earlier today.

"They ignored this warning and went on picking up high ranking IRGC and Hezbollah officials at the Baghdad airport."

Yes, Esper is the culprit, but Trump's presidency will be collateral damage. All this is being tweeted now, prior to 5pm Pacific.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 3 2020 0:58 utc | 54

The Americans have never surprised me with their brutality and cruelty, but they have always managed to surprise me with their stupidity. But, assassinating senior members of several PMU groups by bombing a location next to an active civilian airport (thereby endangering all of those civilians), that's a magnificent level of stupidity right there, it's like the Americans are trying to unite the Iraq people with the Iranians against the Americans. Obviously, the American military never wants to leave Iraq (too much money and careers to be made there), but these sorts of actions will just create a new insurgency against the Americans, can the Americans really afford that.

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 3 2020 1:01 utc | 55

Soleimani and Al Mohandes were hit..
-Unconfirmed-

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 3 2020 1:10 utc | 56

Spuntik is reporting Kassem Soleimani killed, along with deputy PMU, without details yet...

This is the end of the world as we know it!

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 1:11 utc | 57

"I continue to posit, as an American, that Trump is an active participant in the circus being presented to the public....he is an experienced character actor and is in the position that the elite want him. I have not been shown any evidence that Trump has a humanistic bone in his body."

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2020 20:50 utc | 19

You bet baby, besides, the U$A NEVER leaving Iraq, maybe, the "forever Trumpers" will finally acknowledge he's just another puppet poser for the empire.

Posted by: ben | Jan 3 2020 1:11 utc | 58

Thanks for all the updates fellow barflies

It looks like my guess that "very important people" were killed at the airport was correct.

I agree that pushing empire out of the ME is going to cost some lives but hopefully not nuke war.

Will the US let the Iraqi parliament meet and vote to evict them?

If/then what happens?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 3 2020 1:13 utc | 59

To the neocons, this is all very simple.

1) We want a war with Iran.
2) We know we can't fight a war in Iran solely from the air and sea - we need ground troops. (If not initially, at some point.)
3) The only places we can place ground troops next to Iran are Afghanistan and Iraq.
4) We're already in Afghanistan and can easily put more troops there - but Afghanistan is on the "other side" of the main infrastructure of Iran, so not that useful.
5) So we need more troops in Iraq - eventually scores or hundreds of thousands - as many as we can send logistically.
6) Because we have no logical reason prior to open hostilities with Iran to have many troops in Iraq, we need a casus belli to justify sending them there.
7) So we will blame Iran for ISIS and other parties' attacks on US troops in Iraq and stimulate such attacks as much as possible.
8) Then we get to "reinforce" our troops in Iraq from the current 5,000 to as many more as we can support logistically.

Now the fact that in the event of war of Iran it is likely that Iraq - and certainly most of the Shia in Iraq - will support Iran and probably conduct a massive guerrilla campaign against US forces in Iraq doesn't cross the limited minds of the neocons - or they simply dismiss it as they did before the Iraq war because of an overly optimistic view of US military power - and a willingness to use that military power against anyone and everyone.

But the fact remains that the US can not conduct any sort of effective war against Iran without stationing ground troops at the very least on the borders of Iran, even if they don't actually invade Iran. And the only places they can do that are Afghanistan and Iraq.

And the fact also remains that the neocons are running the show in Washington - *not Trump* - and in any event Trump is perfectly happy with starting a war with Iran - as long as he can be convinced that either 1) it will not affect this election, or 2) it will happen after the election - which is pretty much guaranteed given the time frames involved.

So more troops sent to Iraq is guaranteed, an attack on both the Lebanese and Iraqi Hezbollah is guaranteed, and once that is completed - assuming it even can be, which is questionable in itself - than war with Iran is inevitable.

That is the plan and no one - especially not Trump - can stop it. So buy your popcorn and just follow along as best you can.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jan 3 2020 1:17 utc | 60

Qasem Soleimani killed:

Qasem Soleimani, PMF Deputy Leader Killed in Baghdad Airport Attack - Report

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001031077925075-iranian-quds-commander-qassem-soleimani-pmf-deputy-leader-killed-in-baghdad-airport-attack---report/

Posted by: Kaj Jakobsson | Jan 3 2020 1:19 utc | 61

The US emerged from WWII as the world's leading military and economic power. Since that time US hegemony has been predicated on: 1) unrivaled military power, 2) control of world's energy reserves (primarily in the ME), and 3) maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency. All of the pillars supporting US power are now threatened by decades of neo-liberal economic policies, spending large sums of money on the Pentagon and war.
Over the last two decades, the Pentagon has expended (aka squandered) astronomical sums of taxpayer money (>$6 Trillion) on what are now strategic debacles in Afghanistan (longest war in US history), Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen (Iran next?). Obviously, after having committed so much financial and human resources, the financial elite running the country, along with their functionaries in government and Pentagon have no intention of either admitting their mistakes or changing their behavior. Doing so is an acknowledgement of failure and by extension military weakness. These policies are not only bankrupting the US, they are leading to a direct confrontation between global powers. This will not end well.

Posted by: Paul | Jan 3 2020 1:19 utc | 62

@ barflies with the reported death of

Major General Qasem Soleimani also Qassem Suleimani (b. 11 March 1957) is the head of the paramilitary Iranian Quds Force (Jerusalem Force). Suleimani reports directly to the Iranian Supreme Leader and Commander-in-Chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

While I expect this will be a significant loss, if true, it is not like Iran/Iraq are ISIS type of organizations. The ME conflict will bring the world to the edge of nuclear war soon. This may be part of the slow train wreck that happens quickly.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 3 2020 1:22 utc | 63

This is the last Twitt by Javad arif, Iran´s FM...He seems always so joyful...

https://twitter.com/JZarif/status/1211998934215692292

By reading it it seemd to me that the US is starting a war to truncate the unavodable developing of the multipolar world and the newly friendly stance of most of the world except it and its puppets.

Also these days was reported the completting of the new rail road connecting Afghanistan to Iran which links the war torn country directly to Europe, with which all these countries will be united by the Belt and Road, once lviberated from the US parasit...

The US seems to just have decided to break the toy as soon as it can not play according to the new rules...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 1:27 utc | 64

It seems that it is Iraq official media who confirms the death of B.G.Qassem Soleimani...

Iranian Quds Commander Qasem Soleimani, PMF Deputy Leader Killed in Baghdad Airport Attack - Report

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 1:35 utc | 65

Well it seems that this is an offensive in multiple fornts....

Just ISIS has attacked the residence of Ramzam Kadirov in Grozny....and the Russians playing the nice with the US because of a tip-off on an alleged terrorist plot in St. Petersburg which most probably was orchestrated by the US...since they manage all the terrorists in the ME and Central Asia, and the rest of the world, as has always been...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 1:44 utc | 66

Soleimani assassinated? Few days after israel "repeals" their non-assassination law? Hell will be to pay.. Not immediately but... This is terrible for both the empire as well as the mourners and followers but the results will be far far worse for the former. Who could be so dumb? This isn't even in israeli interests, at least not from a logical reality-based standpoint. For fucks sake..

Posted by: NJH | Jan 3 2020 1:45 utc | 67

Everybody seems to agree the got Seulimani now, I'm missing two things, the Mighty Wurlitzer crowing about it and Iranian media agreeing that he's dead. Tomorrow, well perhaps even tonight, will be interesting.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 3 2020 1:47 utc | 68

@Posted by: Sasha | January 03, 2020 at 01:44

Sorry, forgot about this, it appears to be a thread with old news.

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 1:48 utc | 69

If the reports of Soleimani's death are correct, then I wouldn't exclude the possibility that Hezbollah (in Lebanon) will launch some of their missiles in a reprisal attack against Israeli

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 3 2020 1:50 utc | 70

For anyone thinking Trump is fighting a Deep State, I hope y'all realize that trump is just as psychotic as the Clintons and the Bush's

Posted by: SharonM | Jan 3 2020 1:50 utc | 71

Btw, where is Elijah Magnier when it is needed?

Has been he neutralized or what?

These past days was twitting non stop...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 1:50 utc | 72

JC @ 29 responds to goldhoarder @ 9

the Shiites are very capable of exacting a price. US troops will die and the US population is largely sick of it. "<= by goldhoarder @ 9

<= until Life Magazine published a brain blowing picture in USA governed America it was difficult to find many American's against the war in Viet Nam. Back then the public was entitled to the truth from its journalist and truthful Journalist had access to the MSM. Also its now official its anti sematic to be against war, any war, any where?

Iran's flag day march around the Green Zone claimed Iraq is property of Iran.<= by: Bemildred @ 34.. Trump's war is at home? Esper says U.S. forces are in Iraq at Iraq’s invitation. by: David G @ 39 <= when was that request made? Where it is in writing? Who can get and post a copy of it?

Looking more likely that Muhammad Ridha Al-Jabri, the Hashd’s public relations official + Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani, Lebanese Hezbollah’s top man in Iraq, were targeted near Baghdad Int’l Airport. The retaliation will be seismic." by: Lozion @ 48; yes Netanyohu's trial is approaching and Trumps impeachment and failure to get reelcted is just around the corner.. time to start shooting. A false- false-flag.by: Bemildred @ 51

open warfare will break out, the Empire is in no way prepared for such an escalation. by: karlof1 @ 50 Trump's presidency will be collateral damage. by: karlof1 @ 54

Trump is an active participant in the circus being presented to the public Psychohistorian @ 19, what happens when the Iraqi parliament votes to evict by psychohistorian @ 59. .

This will not end well. by: Paul @ 62 <= same thing that cost the British Bankers their British Empire

Train wreck induced nuclear war..between major powers.. psychohistorian @ 63 <= I think its simpler than that.. Netanyohu fears being convicted, Trump needs to deny congress the power to impeach him and the stock market needs some action to post another 5000 point gain.

Posted by: snake | Jan 3 2020 1:52 utc | 73

The crime is particularly brutal and may be intended to create provocation, thus a casus belli.

And it may be a first strike, a decapitation, in which case it's just the opening salvo, film at 11, as they used to say.

And Esper and his types may be mousetrapping trumpie, which given his depth, must be easy.

I am entirely at a loss to imagine how Iran can avoid escalation in the face of outrageous murders against such a tense background, against an agent determined for war...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 3 2020 1:57 utc | 74

karlof1 #52
"IMO, war will result and Trump will lose the election. "

This seems to imply that Trump is not at the controls.
Someone else is steering, and they will steer Trump over the election cliff. Is this a viable inference from your comment?

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 3 2020 2:02 utc | 75

Senior Iranian commander Qasim Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis killed in air strike on convoy in Baghdad airport -Iraqi state TV

Apparently, Solemiani is the most popular and significant general in the Iranian military.

This is a serious escalation against Iran. How will it respond?

Posted by: David | Jan 3 2020 2:03 utc | 76

I really dont get what happened. Like yeah I can understand that the American leadership is insane enough to do this, but what were all these high value targets doing in a convoy right outside Baghdad international while American apaches were circling? Was there some sort of trap set based on some sort of negotiations or discussions with Iraqi officials? It does not, in any way, align with any other sensible series of events

Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jan 3 2020 2:10 utc | 77

@ Posted by: Walter | Jan 3 2020 1:57 utc | 74 who asked

"
I am entirely at a loss to imagine how Iran can avoid escalation in the face of outrageous murders against such a tense background, against an agent determined for war...
"
If Iran can wait until Iraq parliament tell US to leave, then it become part of "lawful eviction" with China/Russia and ??? backing. I think Iran can and will wait because they are not the petulant children fronting empire at this moment.

This is where the thinness of the responses to the bull in the "China closet" become important to distinguish......don't want to blow up the world but the beast must be allowed/forced to kill itself under duress and containment.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 3 2020 2:10 utc | 78

this is really scary.

Posted by: annie | Jan 3 2020 2:16 utc | 79

I can‘t remember when just reading a bit of news last made me actually shudder! This is bad.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jan 3 2020 2:18 utc | 80

@ Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jan 3 2020 2:10 utc | 77 who asked

"
....but what were all these high value targets doing in a convoy right outside Baghdad international while American apaches were circling?
"

We don't know about when the helicopters were circling in relation to the killings but the Western MSM/Govt. will push that this was done on proof that Iran is explicitly in Iraq and thus necessary.

Which way will what dominoes fall from here forward?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 3 2020 2:18 utc | 81

Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jan 3 2020 2:10 utc | 77

Agree, something seems fishy about it, can't say what or if I'm just paranoid. After just conducting such a public humiliation of USA military, would expect better security from PMU/IRGC.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 3 2020 2:21 utc | 82

David asked the right question? HOW will Iran respond?

If I were a big dog at NATO I would be watching for low flying debri.
How will Russia respond? How will China Respond? How will Venezuela Respond?
How will Obama and Hillary Clinton respond?

The decision making responder will be Iraq.. outcome will depend on how Iraq reacts.
If Iraq joins the war with Iran against the USA, British and French and Saudi.. all bets are off.
The price of oil just tripled.. bankers will get the ROI from fracked oil and LNG and
transport tankers. This whole thing smells like a dream of a lifetime business deal.

Posted by: snake | Jan 3 2020 2:22 utc | 83

thanks b... thanks also russ and bemildred for the links and etc. etc...maybe this is the ramp up into a war here.. it sure looks like it at this point... i can't see how this ends nicely...

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2020 2:24 utc | 84

I meant that the embassy kerfuffle, when the PMF demonstrated the restraint they could enforce upon their supporters (imo, that was an oops), was just 2 days ago, but rhetoric from the war machine and discussion of increasing US forces was only increasing from there. I'm at a loss of what the intent could be. Like just as an example I work for a company that does not perform military activities but still has a policy about how many employees (and particularly executives) are allowed to travel in a single plane. These were upper echelons of the best guerrilla fighters in the world and definitely know that people are constantly trying to kill them.

Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jan 3 2020 2:24 utc | 85

these people would've been tracked.. high value targets and people with the info to pass it on.. ransom money dead or alive basically..

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2020 2:27 utc | 86

Fucking hell, are these fucking idiots fucking insane?
Killing Soleimani and Muhandis in Baghdad, like that? The problem isn't that Iran will carefully plan its revenge, the problem is the pissed off people. There will be plenty of Iraqi armed guys and civilians sieging the US embassy, and they won't go away this time. Either Iraqi parliament votes the immediate withdrawal of the US, or they'll be sieged for a long time. Heck, any US citizen in Iran or Iraq right now should try to leave the country in the next few hours, but I expect a few of them will hang from lampposts before the weekend is over...
If Trump doesn't disavow his security, foreign affairs and military top guys and fire them due to not only incompetence but downright sabotage of his presidency and of his policies, he's fucking retarded. It's not the impeachment that threaten his reelection, it's his international fuckups.

Now, I'm just waiting to see what Kim will come up with in Pyongyang to add to the mess - hopefully, his military is able to check if there's any US drone around.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 3 2020 2:29 utc | 87

Props to MoA for genuine breaking news.

After seeing the Soulemani assassination comments here, I went to see what the corporate media was doing.

Google News - nothing.
Los Angeles Times - nothing.
Washington Post - attack at airport, Soul. might be killed.
NYT - same as WP
BBC - Soulemani killed.

None of the corporate sources comes out and says that it was either the US or the Israelis who carried out this war crime. Its all passive voice...he was killed, like nobody knows how it happened.

This is on top of the total blackout of the OPCW whistleblowers.

Bernie and Tulsi (and Warren) have the chance to lose my vote by going along with the warmongers on this.

Posted by: john brewster | Jan 3 2020 2:31 utc | 88

Reports of head of political parties beign arrested. This smells of pre emptive coup to prevent a vote in parliament against US occupation troops..

The response will be as always, assymetrical. Wait and see..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 3 2020 2:32 utc | 89

someone asked me what it means

my response: imagine if John McCain was still alive and visiting Iraq and the Iranians killed him - probably deliberately - in a missile attack. IMO, that's what this means to Iran.

Could be WWIII now.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2020 2:32 utc | 90

When I read that Australia was sending a navy frigate to Hormuz to help 'guard' shipping (due for deployment January 2020), my first thought was that Israel/USA would launch a false-flag against our against our boat as justification for a major escalation with Iran.

Now it appears that we didn't have to even wait that long.

Thanks a lot USA, you have now all-but-guaranteed a major escalation in the ME, which will bring about the ultimate collapse of your empire-of-anus, and the untimely deaths of thousands/millions more innocent souls.

You could have just given us a few months to settle in to the new year, but nooo.

You really do suck ass.

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Jan 3 2020 2:41 utc | 91

CNBC has noticed. DOW futures down. Oil up 4%.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/03/oil-prices-surge-after-reports-that-a-key-iranian-general-was-killed-in-iraq-airstrike.html

Posted by: dh | Jan 3 2020 2:42 utc | 92

Sputnik now confirms Iran says he is dead. Also seeing Western media picking it up.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 3 2020 2:42 utc | 93

Presstv has now confirmed that General Qassem Soleimani was among those martyred in a US strike in Iraq, like almost everyone here I believe the Iranians will respond to this outrageous escalations, but how?

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 3 2020 2:43 utc | 94

This is the best up-to-the-minute news source regarding the Iraq events ca. 1/2/20 that I have found so far:

Sputnik - Latest Middle East & Gulf News

Posted by: blues | Jan 3 2020 2:44 utc | 95

https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1212927743706439687

Iranian state media officially announced death of Soleimani.

Posted by: David | Jan 3 2020 2:45 utc | 96

@Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 3 2020 2:29 utc | 87

According to Sean Hannity it was Trump himself who ordered the killing of Soleimani...

Then there are already people saying that this is at all lightsw of Constitutional law impeachable...

May be this is Trump saying, if you are going to impeach me, do it for something?

Fits perfectly with his meaglomaniacal delusional brain life...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 2:45 utc | 97

Another one who is mute is Pat Lang....

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 3 2020 2:46 utc | 98

the saturn-pluto conjunction is exact january 12th.. the conjunction happens once every 33-38 years or so.. if you want to read about it here is one example of someone discussing it.. essentially it is a war and hardship signature when these 2 planets meet up.. i mentioned this a few years ago here at moa.. hopefully everything gets worked out, but it is hard for that to happen when the only way the war machine wants to work something out is via war... hopefully cooler heads will prevail, but definitely not looking that way tonight..

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2020 2:46 utc | 99

Why hello again.
This was right out of the Israeli playbook - an audacious decapitation strike that follows a small attack or embarrassing military event.
On paper, this is a devastating event for Iran; Soleimani was the foremost Iranian military strategist as far as I know. Iranian leadership are probably in some level of shock and disarray at this event, and they might make some majorly bad moves in the following hours and days.
On the other side, USA does not have control of Iraq like Israel has control of occupied Palestinian territories. Individual soldiers' lives are at great risk now for retaliation. Ultimately, I hope Iranian leadership will issue a restrained response for the sake of human lives, but Trumps agenda seems to be full-on escalation, so violence might be unaviodable.

The strike itself was most unexpected, but Trump's attitude was not. He's targeted Iran with rhetoric throughout his entire term, and anybody that are horrified at this event and still make excuses for his administrations actions at this point are in complete delusion.

Posted by: aaaa | Jan 3 2020 2:48 utc | 100

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