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Iraqi resistance groups announce confrontation with US occupiers until liberation

Press TV – March 5, 2021

Iraqi resistance groups have announced a new phase of resistance against US forces in the country, vowing “confrontation with occupiers until the liberation of Iraq.”

“The resistance sees confrontation as the only option that guarantees the freedom, dignity of this country after exhausting all the means that others have bet on with the occupation,” the coordinating body for the Iraqi resistance factions said in a statement on Thursday, according to the Iraqi media.

“We are facing a new page from the pages of the resistance, in which the weapons of the resistance will reach all the occupation forces and its bases in any part of the homeland,” they said.

Hailing the recent attacks against the “occupation forces”the statement added that “the resistance has the legal and national right and popular support for all of that, but will not target diplomatic missions.”

“The Iraqi resistance is an Iraqi decision, and its choice is the choice of the Iraqi people, and it will continue circumstances and sacrifices until Iraq is liberated from the filth of the occupation,” it said.

The statement came a day after 10 Grad rockets struck the Ain al-Assad air base hosting American forces in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. The incident led to the death of two American contractors and injured as many as six people. It also resulted in material damage to both parts of the outpost.

An informed security source told Press TV that eight of the projectiles struck the “American part” of the base, while two hit the section that is assigned to the US-led coalition.

The raid was conducted days after the US military targeted the positions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, on the Iraqi-Syrian border, where they were engaged in fighting the remnants of the Daesh terrorist group.

Elsewhere in the Thursday statement, the Iraqi resistance termed as “traitorous” any party that stands as an obstacle against the path of resistance and its constant choice in confronting and expelling the occupier.

“It is the right of the resistance, rather its duty, not to pay attention to such bodies, but rather to prevent it by all means from hindering its strikes against the occupation,” they said.

Forbes magazine reported on Wednesday that the United States will likely deploy the Avenger air defense system in Syria and Iraq to support US forces in the face of the growing drone threat.

US military bases and diplomatic missions in Iraq have been repeatedly targeted in recent months as anti-US sentiments run high in the Arab country since the US assassination of Iran’s legendary anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMU, last year.

The two anti-terror commanders were targeted along with their companions in a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

The Wednesday attack against the US-led occupation forces targeted the same air base that Iran openly attacked on January 8, 2020 as part of its retaliation for the Soleimani assassination, which also prompted the Iraqi lawmakers to push for the expulsion of the US-led foreign forces from their country.

March 5, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Biden becomes the sixth successive President to bomb Iraqis: how far could this latest round of escalation go?

By Aram Mirzaei for The Saker | March 4, 2021 

Another president, another act of aggression. For the past few decades, it’s almost like a mandatory rite of passage for US presidents to bomb Muslim countries. I don’t think many of us are surprised to see that current US President Joe Biden turned out to be no different to his predecessors, when Washington once more bombed Iraqis last week.

Continuing the same policy of terrorism and humiliation from the Trump era, Washington felt the need to show strength against the Resistance forces on the Syrian-Iraqi border area. What angers me most, is not just the terrorist act of killing people who are fighting US occupation and US backed terrorism, but the fact that Washington cannot and will not recognize that there is a growing local resistance to Zionist hegemony, instead resorting to degrading and humiliating legitimate resistance groups such as Hashd al-Sha’abi of Iraq (PMU) or the Houthis of Yemen by labelling them “Iranian backed proxies”.

Everything and everyone that oppose Washington and Zionist hegemony in West Asia are “Iranian backed”. Whether it is a Houthi attack on a Saudi airport, a Taliban attack on a NATO convoy or a suspiciously random rocket attack on a US base in Iraq, it is always Iran’s fault and somehow the Islamic Republic must be held responsible for these attacks. Both Washington and the Zionist entity keep attacking Resistance forces in the very area where ISIS remnants have been re-emergent for the past months, claiming their right to self defense. Self defense?! America is more than 10,000 kilometres away. US troops are occupying Syrian and Iraqi territory and Washington claims the right to self defense? This narrative has been drilled into the minds of so many people in the West that nobody even reacts when one of the Obama gang’s old crude liars, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby was telling the press that Washington acted to “de-escalate” the situation when it bombed Resistance forces on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

What Kirby really meant by “de-escalation” was that he believes that Washington sent Iran and its allies a “clear message”, that messing with Washington is unwise. The sad part is that he and the other psychopaths in Washington actually believe that the so called “message” will in any way deter the Resistance forces in West Asia. It is pretty clear what the US is doing with these random attacks on the Resistance forces. Washington knows the realities on the ground and acts in response to them. In Syria, it has become clear for Washington that Damascus won’t fall, that dream came down crashing when Russia entered the war in 2015. So, Washington is acting to deny Syria and her allies their well deserved victory through the occupation and looting of eastern Syria. Washington will act for as long as it takes to starve the Syrian people into submission.

In Iraq, Washington, being well aware that the Iraqi parliament has voted to expel US forces from Iraq, is desperately seeking new reasons to prolong their occupation. Be it through the magical re-emergence of Daesh terrorists in Western Iraq or through suspicious Katyusha rocket attacks on US interests in Baghdad’s green zone, which are then blamed on the Iraqi Resistance forces without any kind of evidence presented, Washington is seeking to undermine the Iraqi parliament’s decision.

In Iraq, Washington has a foothold in Baghdad not seen in Syria’s Damascus. It is through this foothold that Washington wields influence over many Iraqi politicians and thus has the ability to cause great internal disunity and animosity among Iraqis themselves.

Washington has both great influence over the Kurds in northern Iraq and over the Prime Minister’s office. PM Al-Kadhimi is known to be a close associate of Washington’s and is suspected to be cooperating with the US to prolong their stay in Iraq. During his tenure, tensions between Baghdad and the PMU have run high as government forces have made random raids on the PMU headquarters, arresting some members even. Yet even more dangerous is the escalating tension between Washington and the PMU. On Wednesday March 3rd, a new rocket attack on the Ain Al-Assad military base was reported. This is the same military base that was struck by the IRGC last year in retaliation for Washington’s murder of martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. Previously the PMU had vowed revenge for Washington’s attack last week, which makes it rather obvious that Washington will blame the PMU for this recent strike.

With this latest round of escalation, one wonders what will happen next? Of course I’m just speculating but I see some real dangers with tensions running this high. I believe that Washington could very well seek to push Iraq into a new civil war in a bid to eradicate the Hashd al-Sha’abi. Many of the groups within the PMU have threatened to wage war on US forces if Washington refuses to withdraw. Unfortunately, this threat by the PMU can easily be exploited by the US, giving Washington a casus belli, as they intensify their “defensive” airstrikes while claiming to support Baghdad’s campaign to bring “stability” to Iraq. Such an endeavour could risk dragging several regional countries into the conflict as the Islamic Republic could be forced to intervene on behalf of the Iraqi Resistance forces. It is clear that Washington cannot and will not attack Iran directly, such an adventure would be too risky for the crazies in the White House and Pentagon. However, fighting “Iranian backed” forces and rolling back Iranian influence could serve to both solidify the continued US occupation of Iraq in the short term, and prevent the Resistance forces from achieving complete victory, in the mid-to-long term. In order to manufacture consent, Washington must portray their actions as both “defensive” and in service of “stability and peace”. Having others fight Washington’s wars for them is a speciality for the Empire. This is why I believe the most likely scenario to be one where Washington attempts to pit Baghdad against the PMU, then sweep in to “help” Baghdad “preserve stability”. This strategy has been used in different ways before by the Obama regime when it unleashed the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq, then claimed to fight the same terrorists it had armed and trained, in a bid to continue their occupation of Iraq and pressure pro-Iran PM Nouri Al-Maliki to resign. Obama then did the same thing in Syria with the support of Kurdish militants in a bid to pressure Damascus into concessions. Trump continued on the same path but went even further when his administration began using phony attacks on “US interests” in Iraq as a pretext for direct confrontation with the PMU, a path that ultimately led to the murder of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. The then-secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Washington had acted to “stabilize” Iraq with the murder of these “terrorists” who were “hated among Iraqis”.

Iraq is key to the Resistance Axis and cannot fall into enemy hands. It is however also the most vulnerable of the countries where the Resistance forces are active, as not only does Washington have great influence over Baghdad, but also over the Kurdish autonomous region in the north.

Supporting Kurdish independence is another way that Washington could seek to attack the Resistance Axis. This can be seen in Syria as well where the Kurdish militants are acting as excellent proxy troops for Washington, occupying about a third of the country and helping US forces in the looting of Syrian oil. Kurdish parties also have excellent ties to the Zionist entity in Tel Aviv, as Zionist chieftain Netanyahu has on several occasions been a vocal supporter of Kurdish independence, often likening the Kurdish people’s cause with the Zionist one. The reactionary Kurdish parties, who are too ignorant and too greedy to understand and realize that they are being used as cannon fodder to further US imperial ambitions, will be more than happy to wage war on Syria and Iraq with US support behind them.

It’s been almost 10 years since the war in Syria began, and 18 years since the war in Iraq began, and still there seems to be no peace in sight for any of the Arab countries. Biden has been in office in less than two months, but in my opinion, the next four years seem to be rather clear in terms of Washington’s policies towards the West Asia region- the long wars will continue and more blood is to be expected. Bush bombed Iraq, [Clinton bombed Iraq, Bush Jr bombed Iraq,] Obama bombed Iraq, Trump bombed Iraq, and now Biden bombs Iraq. For our people, it never matters who or what occupies the White House, the bombings and wars will continue. Iraq has a rather young population, more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 years of age. This means that most Iraqis have known nothing else except the US imposed wars on their homeland. It is a tragedy and a shameful moment in human history where most people in the totally “advanced, civilized, democratic, morally superior” West don’t care about what their despicable governments are doing in Iraq or Syria, because they are stupid Muslim terrorists anyway. This is why Iraq cannot and should not rely on Western public opinion. Resistance is the only way, and the US Empire must be kicked out with force in order for Iraqis to finally have some peace.

March 4, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Territorial dispute growing between Guyana and Venezuela

By Lucas Leiroz | March 4, 2021

An old territorial dispute in South America is reaching its most tense point in decades. The territory known as Essequibo has been mutually claimed by Guyana and Venezuela since the 19th century when Guyana still belonged to the United Kingdom. In 1897, the Venezuelan and British authorities agreed to submit their dispute to an arbitrary international court in Paris, which ruled that the land belonged to the UK. For decades, the arbitration decision was accepted by Caracas, but in 1948 Venezuelan authorities revealed some irregularities in the trial, which were documented in old government files. As a result, the decision was considered null, and years later, in 1963, Venezuela formally submitted its territorial claim to the United Nations, and the dispute remains unresolved till today, when the interests of foreign oil companies threaten to increase the tensions.

As a region rich in oil, Essequibo has recently entered the map of the large multinationals in this sector, especially the American Exxon Mobil. More than that, the economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela and the political alignment of Guyana with Washington contribute to create an even more controversial scenario. Guyana has the support of the large private oil sector and the American government, while Venezuela remains alone. Last year, the case was filed with the International Court of Justice, but Venezuela did not accept it and remained out of the trial.

However, in a sentence on December 18, 2020, the Court proclaimed its competence to intervene in the dispute, despite Venezuela’s position. It is necessary to highlight that, regardless of any decision taken by the Court over who really has sovereignty in Essequibo, this sentence must be considered null, since the absence of Venezuelan consent prevents the execution of the sentence. The need for consent is one of the most elementary principles of international law and the very fact that the Court declares itself competent already leads us to question whether its judges are really impartial – clearly, the norms of international law are being violated in favor of Guyana.

Guyana has publicly admitted that its expenses for the court case in The Hague were paid by Exxon Mobil. Although the American oil company has been operating in Guyana for decades, its interest has been greatly increased with the recent discoveries of oil reserves and investors are willing to do anything to ensure the exploration of local natural resources. Currently, Exxon Mobil is interested in expanding its facilities over an area of more than 26,000 square kilometers, which not only crosses the disputed territory in Essequibo, but also violates Venezuelan undisputed national territory.

With this scenario of clear attack on Venezuelan national sovereignty and possible collaboration of the International Court with one of the parties, Venezuela is at a disadvantage mainly due to its diplomatic weakness. Venezuela, at this point, lacks sufficient influence to cause the Court to review its decision or judge the case in a really partial way. For that, only strong international alliances can help Caracas. The large nations that are not aligned with Washington and have so far cooperated strongly with Venezuela, Russia and China, might be provoked by the Venezuelan government to incite international pressure in this regard. Only these two countries can mediate a parallel agreement that may be established between Caracas and The Hague in order to choose between two paths: either Venezuela agrees to submit to trial on the condition that there is a partial judgment and without the influence of private companies, or the Court declines jurisdiction. As the first scenario is unlikely and difficult to monitor, the most viable route would be for The Hague to abdicate any form of judgment.

It is important to mention that, in the absence of international judgment, what is in force in Essequibo is the Geneva Agreement of 1966, which did not decide on sovereignty in the region, but, in search of a peaceful solution, defined what activities would be allowed or prohibited in Essequibo. Oil exploration by foreign companies is not allowed, so, in principle, Guyana is violating the agreement and its activities could only become lawful if there was a decision by the International Court on the matter, allowing exploration. As Venezuela does not submit to the Court, the trial is impossible and, therefore, exploration remains prohibited and Guyana is committing an international offense.

However, more worrying than that is the fact that the American military is working in Essequibo, carrying out tests with the aim of intimidating Venezuela and pressuring Caracas to renounce its demands. There are American military ships in Essequibo “protecting” Exxon Mobil facilities and provoking Caracas. In addition, considering that the American company wants to publicly explore areas within Venezuelan territory, what will become of the American presence? If Caracas does not allow the activities of Exxon Mobil, it is the Venezuelan right to control or even destroy the facilities in its territory. And what would be the American reaction to that – considering Biden’s aggressive interventionist policy?

It is for these reasons that, more than ever, countries of greater international relevance must mediate the issue in order to maintain the status of illegality to the Exxon Mobil’s activities. With international pressure, it is possible that the American company will retreat or that at least the American military in the region will leave and with that we would have a reduction in tensions.

Still, it is possible that with international mediation a mutual exploration agreement will be reached that allows both countries to enjoy the local wealth, without, however, allowing companies that violate the Geneva Agreement to operate.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

March 4, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

US Foreign Policy: War Is Peace

By Stephen Lendman | March 1, 2021

A permanent state of war on invented enemies is longstanding US policy.

It’s been this way throughout most of the post-WW II period.

Terror-bombing Syria last Thursday was one of many examples — escalating US aggression against the nation and people by Biden.

The Syrian Arab Republic threatens no one. President Assad is supported by most Syrians.

Yet Obama/Biden launched preemptive war on the country in March 2011.

US forces illegally occupy northern and southern areas.

The Pentagon and CIA use ISIS and likeminded jihadists as proxy forces to advance US imperial aims in Syria and elsewhere.

Washington under both right wings of its war party intends permanent occupation of the country.

Sergey Lavrov noted the diabolical scheme, saying:

Washington is “making the decision to never leave Syria, even to the point of destroying this country” — more than already he should have added.

Lavrov also stressed the US forces occupy “Syrian territory illegally, in violation of all norms of international law, including Security Council Resolutions on reconciliation in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

“They continue to play the separatism card.”

“They continue to block, using their levers of pressure on other states, any supply even of humanitarian aid, not to mention equipment and materials necessary to restoring the economy in the territories controlled by the government, and in every way possible force their allies to invest in territories outside Damascus’s control.”

“At the same time, they illegally exploit Syria’s hydrocarbon resources” by stealing them.

Longstanding US plans call for partitioning Syria and other regional countries for easier control.

According to former Global Policy Forum director James Paul, partitioning Syria “is the Israeli solution,” adding:

The Jewish state’s “overarching goal is to weaken every Arab state by bringing religion and ethnicity into the equation.”

The plan for Syria is partitioning it into Kurdish, Alawite and Sunni states.

Balkanization of Middle East countries is also longstanding US policy.

Regional expert Mahdi Nazemroaya earlier explained that “(r)egime change and balkanization in Syria is very closely tied to the objective of dismantling the ‘resistance bloc’ formed by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and various Iraqi groups opposed to the US and Israel.”

US/NATO/Israeli regional aggression aims to achieve this objective — what failed so far and won’t likely fare better ahead, but continues anyway.

In cahoots with Israeli interests, Obama/Biden launched preemptive war on Syria in 2011.

For hardliners in both countries, the road to Tehran runs through Damascus.

Control over the Syrian Arab Republic is seen as a way to weaken and isolate Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

According to Algerian academic Abdelkrim Dekhakhena, Bush/Cheney’s 2003 aggression against Iraq “metamorphosed into an apocalypse that swept the core nations of the region.”

“Chaos and destruction” followed with no end of it in prospect.

Washington’s notion of democracy building is suppressing its emergence everywhere and eliminating it wherever it exists.

Endless US Middle East wars created instability and human misery.

US regional aggression is aided by ISIS and other terrorist groups — created by the CIA to advance Washington’s control over regional countries, their resources and populations.

According to Biden’s doublespeak through his press secretary Psaki — paid to lie for her boss — he OK’d escalated US aggression in Syria to “protect Americans (sic),” adding:

Further aggression will aim to “deescalate tensions.”

The above doublespeak mumbo jumbo defines Washington’s war is peace policy.

Endless US wars by hot and/or other means have nothing to do with democracy building, pursuing peace, or protecting Americans.

They have everything to do with advancing Washington’s diabolical imperial agenda that prioritizes unchallenged global dominance.

Psaki also defied reality by claiming that preemptive terror-bombing of Syria on Thursday underwent a “thorough legal process (sic).”

There’s nothing remotely legal about naked aggression in Syria or anywhere else.

A decade of US war against the Syrian Arab Republic and its long-suffering people perhaps will continue in perpetuity.

The same diabolical agenda continues in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya, along with war by other means against numerous invented US enemies — notably China, Russia and Iran.

Washington’s rage to dominate other countries by brute force defines what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

There’s no end of it in prospect.

Biden’s longstanding support for wars on invented enemies suggests further escalation of hostilities on his watch.

Confrontation by belligerence and other means will likely be prioritized over pursuing peace and cooperative relations with other countries.

It’s the diabolical American way — addicted to warmaking, abhorring peace and stability.

March 1, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 6 Comments

US seizes UN aid allocated for Rukban refugees, distributes it among terrorists: Russia, Syria

Press TV – March 1, 2021

Syrian and Russian officials have warned that the United States is exploiting the deteriorating humanitarian situation at the Rukban refugee camp to seize UN aid consignments and distribute it among allied Takfiri militants after it turned the camp, located close to Syria’s border with Jordan, into a center for training terrorists.

“As usual, the United States hopes to acquire the aid in order to support terrorist groups operating under its command in the vicinity of al-Rukban camp. The camp has indeed become a seedbed for training extremist terrorists,” the Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committees on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees said in a joint statement.

The statement further noted that the US continues to impede all efforts aimed at the closure of the camp, prevents return of its residents to areas liberated from the grips of Takfiri terrorists and does not allow the life there to return to normal.

The joint committees then reiterated the Damascus government’s readiness to receive all Rukban camp residents, who are taken hostage by the US and its terrorist mercenaries, ensure their security, and provide them with decent living conditions.

This is not the first time that aid cargos delivered by the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to al-Rukban are seized by Us forces or US-backed militants.

Russia and Syria have on numerous occasions also criticized the US for blocking aid deliveries to the refugee camp.

The Rukban camp, described by Russian and Syrian authorities as the “death camp,” is reportedly home to some 25,000 internally-displaced Syrians, mostly women and children.

Just a handful of humanitarian aid convoys have reached the camp in recent years.

In a joint statement on March 28 last year, the interagency coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria, attributed the humanitarian crisis in Rukban refugee camp to the illegal occupation of the area by American forces.

“We believe that the American side’s reluctance to exert influence on their [allied] militants in order to ensure unhindered departure of people from the camp and safe activities of humanitarian representatives in the At-Tanf zone is a clear evidence of its intention,” the statement noted at the time.

The camp lies within a 55-kilometer zone occupied by the US around its military base in the Syrian town of At-Tanf.

The headquarters stated that the US military is using Rukban as an “assembly line for training extremists.”

US military forces smuggle wheat crops from Syria’s Hasakah into Iraq

Meanwhile, a convoy of dozens of US trucks has left Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah for the neighboring Iraq carrying tens of tons of grain.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources in Rmelan town, reported that a convoy of 45 military vehicles loaded with wheat and barley crops departed Kharab al-Jir military base in the countryside of al-Malikiya town, and headed towards Iraqi territories after having passed through al-Walid border crossing.

March 1, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

‘Agenda Item 7’ highlights UN inaction over Israeli colonisation

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | February 25, 2021

The US has asked to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council in another move that, superficially at least, spells a departure from the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the institution. However, as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, the reasons for the earlier departure from the Council still stand: alleged excessive focus on Israel, as well as the inclusion of nations which the US considers hostile, remain prominent issues for Washington and its rhetoric about “human rights”.

“We need to eliminate Agenda Item 7 and treat the human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories the same way as this body handles any other country,” declared Blinken.

Agenda Item 7 has long antagonised Israel and the US. It makes discussion of Israel a permanent agenda item at the UNHRC and has elicited calls of anti-Israel bias which divert attention from other human rights violations around the world.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has endorsed Blinken’s criticism of human rights abuses by countries – mentioning China and Russia – that “seem to have joined the council only to undermine its work and to deflect criticism of themselves.” However, doesn’t the UN promote a safe space where various dynamics protect human rights abusers under various schemes, while allowing powers such as the US to determine which countries should be defined as violators of such rights? It is precisely the special status awarded to the US and Israel that needs to be challenged, in order to start altering the narrative on human rights and to make the UN and its institutions truly answerable and accomplished in holding rights abusers to account.

Israel has maintained its self-declared exceptionalism to prolong its military occupation of Palestine, a derivative of the colonial process that accelerated during the Trump era and which will most probably also benefit under US President Joe Biden. It is the exceptionalism which Israel created for its own purpose that has set it apart in the international arena. As far as criticism goes, Israel also benefits from the duplicity that comes with the settler-colonial state being a permanent item at the UNHRC, as well as receiving close to unanimous endorsement for its security and “self-defence” narrative. There is, in fact, no anti-Israel bias, but there is intentional ambiguity, in much the same way that Israel is considered as a normal country rather than a settler-colonial enterprise with its origins rooted deep within the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population.

HRW’s recommendations for the US to alter the scrutiny on Israel has more to do with the dynamics of voting on resolutions than encouraging the Biden administration to take a tough stance on Israel’s colonial expansion. The US and Israel know full well that resolutions are non-binding, hold no political value, and are just a veneer for the international community’s contempt when it comes to the Palestinian people’s political and human rights. A far more pressing discussion would centre on how the UN is ignoring its own principles and priorities. Had it acted against Israel’s colonisation of Palestine and its accompanying brutality and cruelty, as it is bound to do in order not to be in violation of international law, there would be no need for “Agenda Item 7” at the UNHRC or anywhere else.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This is who they are: Biden’s Syria strike is a stark reminder it’s American Empire that’s back

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | February 27, 2021

Only someone who hasn’t been paying attention could have been surprised by the US airstrike on Syria, now that an establishment committed to a globalist Empire rather than a constitutional republic is back in charge in Washington.

Democrats love proclaiming one can’t “turn back the clock,” usually to argue against even attempting to undo whatever domestic policies they’ve rammed through when in power. Yet everything about the Joe Biden administration has been about just that: erasing the past four years of Donald Trump and picking up where Barack Obama left off.

Trump also bombed Syria, mind you – launching cruise missiles on two occasions, spurred by spurious reports of “chemical attacks” – as well as the “Iranian-backed militias” in Iraq. Just over a year ago, he ordered the drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport.

However, he was denounced at the time by congressional Democrats, Biden himself, and his now-spokeswoman Jen Psaki, as well as nearly all US media outlets – the same ones now praising Biden’s bombardment. It’s literally different when they do it, the narrative goes.

That may seem baffling. After all, the American Empire isn’t a partisan thing. The Obamas, Bidens and Clintons have eagerly been on board as much as the Bushes and the Cheneys. That is, until Trump came along and mocked the “endless wars,” spoke of “America first” and rejected the pompous platitudes used to sell overseas imperialism to the rapidly declining American heartland.

For that ‘crime’ he was denounced and rejected by the US establishment, which has repeatedly demonstrated it doesn’t give a damn for the little guy in “flyover country” but prefers the globalist agendas of coastal elites and the military-industrial complex.

One can’t blame Americans for not remembering that the only time Congress overrode Trump’s veto was to keep troops overseas forever, when the media they rely on for their opinions, feelings and values hardly bothered to mention that bit. Make no mistake, though, endless foreign wars is what Biden meant when he said last week that “America is back” and promised a crusade on behalf of “democracy,” whatever that may be.

Also back is the manufacturing of consent. When Trump bombed someone, he just tweeted about it. The “new” administration acts just like the ones of yore, first leaking the talking points to the media. Instead of Trump’s “cowboy” language, Biden’s people use carefully selected propaganda terms, such as “defensive precision strike” and “proportionate military response” that “aims to de-escalate” the situation. The media dutifully follow along, stenographers all.

This kind of smoke-and-mirrors perception management is how war has become normalized for Americans. Trump’s rejection of it – whatever his motivation – is one of the reasons he was so hated by the establishment. Biden was sold to the American people as a return to normal – and for the establishment, this is precisely what “normal” looks like.

This normalization of behavior that ought to be illegal, immoral and unacceptable is, frankly, quietly horrifying. Almost no one seems to care that the US has no legal right to be in Syria, or bomb Syria, or even keep troops in Iraq anymore.

Legal concerns? How quaint. The US bombing whomever, whenever and wherever has become the “dog bites man” of the old journalism joke – that’s not news, editors would say, come to me when “man bites dog.”

Instead, we have otherwise serious people dispassionately describing the strike as “solid persuasion” and noting – correctly – that it “probably doesn’t matter” who gets attacked.

There is another disturbing dimension to the “Obama restoration” the US establishment is so bent on effecting. It was the Obama-Biden administration that backed “moderate rebels” – many of whom turned out to be Al-Qaeda affiliates – in Syria in hopes of regime change in Damascus, kicking off a war there almost ten years ago.

Trump focused instead on defeating Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists, letting the same people who lied to him about troop numbers deceive him about abandoning (but not really) the regime change agenda.

If someone with a solid predictive record who claims to have sources within the Biden-Harris administration is to be believed, they want Syrian President Bashar Assad “gone by any means necessary and have no concern for the consequences.”

After all, those consequences are almost always borne by the foreigners that get bombed and the ‘flyover’ Americans who end up in the military – including the very same “underprivileged communities” the Democrats claim to be so concerned about – and not the powerful.

This obviously leaves those Americans who hoped for $2,000 stimulus checks, universal healthcare or higher minimum wage – those who believed the “that’s not who we are” Obama-era hype about empathy and decency – holding the empty bag and scratching their heads.

Which is why perception managers will no doubt feed them another manufactured outrage as a distraction, any moment now. Because that is who they are. Always have been.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator 

February 27, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , | 5 Comments

US Bombs Syria And Ridiculously Claims Self Defense

By Caitlin Johnstone | February 26, 2021

On orders of [proclaimed] President Biden, the United States has launched an airstrike on a facility in Syria. As of this writing the exact number of killed and injured is unknown, with early reports claiming “a handful” of people were killed.

Rather than doing anything remotely resembling journalism, the western mass media have opted instead to uncritically repeat what they’ve been told about the airstrike by US officials, which is the same as just publishing Pentagon press releases.

Here’s this from The Washington Post:

The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria on Thursday, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, on a border control point in eastern Syria was “authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.”

He said the facilities were used by Iranian-linked militias including Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

The operation follows the latest serious attack on U.S. locations in Iraq that American officials have attributed to Iranian-linked groups operating in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this month, a rocket attack in northern Iraq killed a contractor working with the U.S. military and injured a U.S. service member there.

So we are being told that the United States launched an airstrike on Syria, a nation it invaded and is illegally occupying, because of attacks on “US locations” in Iraq, another nation the US invaded and is illegally occupying. This attack is justified on the basis that the Iraqi fighters were “Iranian-linked”, a claim that is both entirely without evidence and irrelevant to the justification of deadly military force. And this is somehow being framed in mainstream news publications as a defensive operation.

This is Defense Department stenography. The US military is an invading force in both Syria and Iraq; it is impossible for its actions in either of those countries to be defensive. It is always necessarily the aggressor. It’s the people trying to eject them who are acting defensively. The deaths of US troops and contractors in those countries can only be blamed on the powerful people who sent them there.

The US is just taking it as a given that it has de facto jurisdiction over the nations of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and that any attempt to interfere in its authority in the region is an unprovoked attack which must be defended against. This is completely backwards and illegitimate. Only through the most perversely warped American supremacist reality tunnels can it look valid to dictate the affairs of sovereign nations on the other side of the planet and respond with violence if anyone in those nations tries to eject them.

It’s illegitimate for the US to be in the Middle East at all. It’s illegitimate for the US to claim to be acting defensively in nations it invaded. It’s illegitimate for the US to act like Iranian-backed fighters aren’t allowed to be in Syria, where they are fighting alongside the Syrian government against ISIS and other extremist militias with the permission of Damascus. It is illegitimate for the US to claim the fighters attacking US personnel in Iraq are controlled by Iran when Iraqis have every reason to want the US out of their country themselves.

Even the official narrative reveals itself as illegitimate from within its own worldview. CNN reports that the site of the airstrike “was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks” in Iraq, and a Reuters/AP report says “Biden administration officials condemned the February 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out.”

This is all so very typical of the American supremacist worldview that is being aggressively shoved down our throats by all western mainstream news media. The US can bomb who it likes, whenever it likes, and when it does it is only ever doing so in self defense, because the entire planet is the property of Washington, DC. It can seize control of entire clusters of nations, and if any of those nations resist in any way they are invading America’s sovereignty.

It’s like if you broke into your neighbor’s house to rob him, killed him when he tried to stop you, and then claimed self defense because you consider his home your property. Only in the American exceptionalist alternate universe is this considered normal and acceptable.

This sort of nonsense is why it’s so important to prioritize opposition to western imperialism. World warmongering and domination is the front upon which all the most egregious evils inflicted by the powerful take place, and it plays such a crucial role in upholding the power structures we are up against. Without endless war, the oligarchic empire which is the cause of so much of our suffering cannot function, and must give way to something else. If you’re looking to throw sand in the gears of the machine, anti-imperialism is your most efficacious path toward that end, and should therefore be your priority.

In America especially it is important to oppose war and imperialism, because an entire empire depends on keeping the locals too poor and propagandized to force their nation’s resources to go to their own wellbeing. As long as the United States functions as the hub of a globe-spanning power structure, all the progressive agendas that are being sought by what passes for the US left these days will be denied them. Opposing warmongering must come first.

Standing against imperialism and American supremacism cuts directly to the heart of our difficulties in this world, which is why so much energy goes into keeping us focused on identity politics and vapid energy sucks which inconvenience the powerful in no way whatsoever. If you want to out-wrestle a crocodile, you must bind shut its mouth. If you want to take down a globe-spanning empire, you must take out its weapons. Opposing warmongering and killing public trust in the propaganda used to justify it is the best way to do this.

February 26, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Biden Bombs Syria: A New World Record?

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | February 25, 2021

According to breaking news reports, including by Reuters, [proclaimed] President Biden has ordered and the Pentagon has carried out military airstrikes on Syria, attacking a structure inside the country that the US government claims houses “Iranian-backed” militia.

US missiles struck tonight near the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal, on the Iraqi border. The strike is said to be in retaliation for recent rocket attacks against US facilities in Iraq. After another rocket attack earlier this month, the US State Department pointed the finger at Iran and threatened a US military response.

The Iraqi parliament voted in January, 2020, to expel US troops from the country after then-President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The US government ignored the vote of the democratically-elected Iraqi parliament, however Trump later announced his decision to pull US troops out of Iraq.

President Biden wasted no time in reversing Trump’s disengagement strategy for the Middle East. After just over a month in office, President Biden is re-igniting the failed US intervention launched in 2014 against Syria under the Obama Administration.

Within 24 hours of Biden being inaugurated commander-in-chief, US military convoys began pouring into northern Syria. His Administration, from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on down, enthusiastically supported the US “regime change” policy for Syria under President Obama – a policy that only benefitted al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region.

Earlier this month it was reported that the US was building a new military base in Syria, near the Iraq and Turkey borders. New military bases carry with them new missions, so there is plenty of reason to believe that Biden plans to return the US to the “Assad must go” policy of his former boss.

Biden coming out of the gate with bombs blazing should be of little surprise to those who have watched his early foreign policy appointments. For example, he tapped noted neocon and aggressive interventionist Dana Stroul to head his Middle East Desk at the Pentagon and no doubt this airstrike at least indirectly reflects her influence and that of many others like her who have taken up positions in the Biden Administration.

Stroul hails from the AIPAC-founded “think tank,” the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where, as former CIA official Phil Giradi writes, “she has been the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fellow in the Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.” She is an extreme Iran hawk and has advocated and worked for regime change in Syria and US retention of large areas of Syrian territory.

So within a month of assuming office, President Biden looks to be on the cusp of launching a new Middle East war.

February 25, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 3 Comments

As deadline nears for Trump-negotiated Afghanistan withdrawal, press prepares public to accept its breach

RT | February 21, 2021

The Biden administration is expected to break the Trump-negotiated deal with the Taliban and keep NATO troops in Afghanistan, according to media reports, and this is supposedly the right thing to do.

The agreement signed in Doha in late February 2020 sets May 1 as the deadline for a full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The Pentagon currently has 2,500 service personnel deployed in the country, with NATO allies fielding some 7,000 more. Under the agreement, the Taliban pledged to make sure the territory under its control is not used by international terrorist groups to launch attacks on the US and to negotiate a peace deal with the US-propped government in Kabul.

While the Taliban did deliver on the promise it gave a year ago not to attack foreign troops, any hope of a reduction in violence in Afghanistan has faltered in the year since. The Biden administration has therefore ordered a review of the agreement, and “the overwhelming consensus among Afghan leaders, foreign diplomats and Western army officers” is that “the US will abandon the deadline,” according to the Sunday Times.

The prediction in the British newspaper comes from veteran war correspondent Anthony Loyd and follows a slew of other news reports outlining Biden’s Afghanistan conundrum and opinion pieces that rationalize breaking the deal.

The Democratic president has inherited a “mess” from Trump and has no good options, according to CNN, which said NATO allies are “growing increasingly concerned” about the situation. If he does withdraw, he would share some of the blame “if there is a collapse of the elected Afghan government,” the New York Times said. And a Taliban takeover would be disastrous for human rights, especially for the rights of women, Deutsche Welle warned.

Keeping Trump’s word and leaving now “would carry a reputational risk for the United States,” because it would “embolden jihadists and perhaps rejuvenate their movement, which has been in retreat,” columnist David Ignatius said. “And there would be an unmeasurable cost to American credibility.” So, of course Biden should listen to his head, not his heart, and keep “a small but sustainable force in Afghanistan,” which would cost relatively little and give the benefit of “checking terrorists, supporting NATO allies, and giving the Kabul government a fighting chance.”

The nudging press stops short of calling the Doha agreement “the worst deal ever made” the way Trump did with the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, but they might just as well have done so. The accord with Tehran was scrapped by Trump, but Biden is reluctant to simply deliver on the commitments made by Obama, even if it was one of the crowning achievements of his former boss’ diplomacy. With the Doha deal, history may repeat itself.

But if Biden follows the advice and reneges on the terms agreed to by his predecessor, how will it be read by the Taliban? Or Tehran, or Pyongyang, or Beijing, or Moscow? Probably as the latest proof that a deal with Washington is not worth the paper it’s written on.

The pattern of the US back-pedaling on its promises once there’s a change of leadership in the White House existed long before Trump. This was the case with assurances made to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe after the reunification of Germany, for example.

The same thing happened with the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea. It was meant to prevent Pyongyang from going nuclear, and thus offered it some concessions, such as building proliferation-proof nuclear power plants. But the George W Bush administration eagerly scrapped it, courtesy of one John Bolton.

Even if given to an ally, Washington’s word is not necessarily solid. Pakistan, for instance, was famously denied the right to purchase F-16 fighter jets after the Soviet withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan in 1989 made Islamabad a less crucial partner for the US.

Proponents of US global dominance, such as Robert Kagan, say the US is indispensable as a custodian of liberal world order and lament the fact that many Americans are not willing to embrace this role. That they “refer to the relatively low-cost military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq as ‘forever wars’ is just the latest example of their intolerance for the messy and unending business of preserving a general peace and acting to forestall threats,” the neoconservative commentator and spouse of Victoria Nuland, the Biden-nominated under-secretary of state for political affairs, said in a recent opinion piece.

The ‘low cost’ in Afghanistan was 3,500 dead coalition troops and over $2 trillion dollars in direct and indirect spending. So, what does the US have to show for it? The longest-lasting war in its history that nevertheless failed to produce a self-sustaining government in Kabul. Withdrawal may be perceived as the US losing the war to the Taliban, but what a victory is supposed to look like remains a mystery.

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

No decision on any NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

Press TV – February 18, 2021

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says defense ministers from the Western military alliance made no decision at a recent meeting in Brussels on whether or when to pull out of war-torn Afghanistan.

“At this stage, we have made no final decision on the future of our presence,” Stoltenberg said after a video conference with allied defense ministers on Thursday.

The defense ministers met to discuss the possibility of staying in Afghanistan beyond the May withdrawal deadline agreed between the Taliban militant group and the United States under the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

Key on the agenda at the two-day virtual conference in Brussels was the future of the US-led forces in the war-torn country.

The NATO chief said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin promised to consult with partners on the way forward.

“As the May 1 deadline is approaching, NATO allies will continue to closely consult and coordinate in the coming weeks. We are faced with many dilemmas, and there are no easy options,” Stoltenberg said.

“If we stay beyond the first of May, we risk more violence, more attacks against our own troops … But if we leave, then we will also risk that the gains that we have made are lost.”

The administration of President Joe Biden is reviewing whether to stick to the looming deadline to withdraw or risk a bloody backlash from the Taliban.

Other NATO members have signaled a desire within the alliance to stay in Afghanistan beyond the deadline. They are willing to remain in Afghanistan if Washington does so.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Wednesday that the Taliban must do more to meet the terms of a 2020 agreement with Washington on the withdrawal of US.forces to allow a pullout of the foreign troops.

“We can already say that we are not yet in a position to talk about the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan,” the German minister said as she arrived for the meeting.

“This also means a changed security situation, an increased threat for the international forces, also for our own forces. We have to prepare for this, and we will certainly discuss this.”

Nearly two decades after the US-led invasion, Trump struck a deal with the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha early last year.

The former White House tenant reached the accord in February 2020, under which the US and its NATO allies are expected to withdraw all troops in 14 months in exchange for the Taliban to halt attacks on foreign forces.

President Biden, however, has said his administration would not commit to a full withdrawal by May.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 civilians have been killed or injured over the past decade across Afghanistan.

February 19, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Iraq’s Muqtada Al-Sadr warns of looming normalisation with Israel

MEMO | February 11, 2021

Leader of the Iraqi Sadrist Movement and prominent Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr said yesterday that his movement will not allow normalisation between Iraq and Israel, even if the price is “blood”.

“Normalisation is at the door, and the parliament must prevent this. We will not allow normalisation at all, even if it costs us blood,” Al-Sadr told reporters in the southern city of Najaf.

Al-Sadr did not provide further details, however, in January a new movement named October 25 was formed under the leadership of Secretary-General Talal Hariri who called to have good relations with Israel.

The Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, has not issued a clear position on the movement’s demand.

Iraq does not officially recognise Israel, and there are no relations between the two sides.

In October 2017, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution prohibiting raising the Israeli flag and punishing violators with imprisonment.

Last year, the UAEBahrain Sudan and Morocco signed normalisation deals with Israel. At the time of the first announcements, Iraq declared that its laws prohibited it from normalising relations with the occupation state.

February 11, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment