Making sense of Baghdad and the scenario of “ousting the Americans”

Posted: 01/08/2020 by editormary in Counter-terrorism, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Maps, Middle East Issues, Politics, War

Daniele Ranieri, Italian journalist, writes: Updates on the death of Iranian general Soleimani

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Did the American Reaper drone that killed Suleimani depart from the Sigonella base in Sicily? The Reaper can fly for 1,900 km and the distance to Baghdad is 2,700 km, so this theory is to be excluded. It’s is like there are no nearby slopes in the Middle East where it could have been launched from. Half of Baghdad airport is a giant American base, and Soleimani’s car skirted the wall.

The Iraqi Parliament did not “vote for the ousting of the Americans.” It met to approve a non-binding letter to the Prime Minister calling for an end to military missions in Iraq and the dissolution of the militias. “Reunited” is a big word because there were 170 out of 328 MPs, the other 158 deserted the chamber because they opposed the motion.

The Americans are in Iraq because there is a letter of invitation from the Iraqi Prime Minister and he can theoretically withdraw it. But he hasn’t done it yet. He called for foreign soldiers to remain in Iraq so that they would train Iraqi soldiers, but this is a request that will not be heeded: the trainers will not remain in Iraq without all the other soldiers who guarantee them a minimum of protection.

In short: Iraqi politicians had to save face in the face of the Iranian regime with a “vote”. It is very likely that the presence of the International Coalition in Iraq will end soon anyway, because it makes no sense to continue operations against the Islamic State and to stay in bases that will be bombed by pro-Iranian militias with rockets and mortars.

There are no “American bases” in Iraq, there are Iraqi military bases that contain compounds where Americans (and soldiers of other nationalities, Italians included) are staying. And every time Soleimani’s militias fire rockets and mortars at the bases, they injure and kill Iraqi soldiers.

In mid-October, Soleimani met with militia commanders in Baghdad to create a new militia unknown to the Americans that would increase attacks on the bases. The Iranian general had also coordinated the arrival of other weapons from Iran, including anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down Coalition helicopters, according to a piece published yesterday by Reuters, which interviewed two militia commanders present at the meeting.

So, Soleimani alive or Soleimani dead, Iran’s campaign to end the Coalition’s presence in Iraq was already underway. Thirteen attacks in the last two months of the year are the proof.

Did Trump order Soleimani’s killing to distract America from impeachment? Republicans have 20 seats that should change their minds in the Senate but will never vote to remove Trump. The impeachment was born dead and in fact the TV rating was rather uninspiring.

Why drive out of Iraq the soldiers of the international mission who are carrying out operations against the Islamic State and who have at their disposal very advanced and valuable technology and intelligence against terrorists and who sooner or later would have left anyway? Because for three months there has been a stalemate in the country: the center of the capital is occupied by thousands of protesters who peacefully demand an end to Iranian interference in the country. Soleimani’s militias have killed no less than five hundred, but that’s not enough. The government is comatose, the Prime Minister has resigned but no one has yet replaced him. Tension against an external enemy has the potential of extinguishing protests. And in fact, in three days the coverage of the “war” between America and Iran was a thousand times greater than that of the protests. This is an explanation that holds up far more as a theory than “there was a need for a distraction against impeachment.”

Soleimani’s death sparked a wave of relief and joy in the Middle East. His militias – also made up of teenagers recruited in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, sent to war for Iranian interests – have kidnapped, tortured and made thousands of people disappear, have besieged some cities until death by starvation of the civilians and destabilised the region for years.

The Iranian Soleimani wanted to appoint the prime minister of Iraq, had Iraqi soldiers killed at their bases, kidnapped and killed 20-year-old Iraqi protesters. It was the textbook definition of military butcher and imperialist arrogance.

Have the Iranians withdrawn from the nuclear agreement? No, the Iranians after Trump suddenly abandoned the agreement, had also announced a gradual and progressive withdrawal. The announcement made yesterday does not accelerate the withdrawal that was already underway and does not touch on one of the most important principles: the possibility for the International Atomic Agency to carry out inspections at sites in Iran. In short: it is very likely that the Iranian regime will turn the nuclear issue into a tug of war, into a permanent crisis to make Western governments pay for it, but for now, the drama is in the headlines, not in the facts.

The Trump Administration does not want to wage war and yet it continues to make a fuss and to cite the invasion of Iraq in 2003 or the conflict in Vietnam. The American Administration has established a principle of deterrence: if the Iranians send a bomb truck against an American embassy, the Americans bomb Iranian targets (this is just is an example). I understand that if the Administration wanted to occupy Tehran, it would be a disintegration, but it is not. Deterrence, not war, is what is actually happening.

Soleimani’s militias yesterday released a video with faces covered in balaclavas, weapons and black clothes in which they announce suicide attacks.

Original in Italian: https://www.facebook.com/news.danieleraineri/posts/620167975190694?pyx26Az9VNP3__VxBq_A8j66GP1gbzgTRz aWbbRugu05EwbahkYM2PCdp3E9Bg1uKB0DUlyFdy9RSz03p3atjm4smEWdm_S4ahC0e3xlOwOc1z07n0pvteelJvn5EsEKsNvmRrvu4JVCEVTbvUSkLFm5a9OXJD1fp8QPkAIMM3QA8sJ0gVhWDv13f1vNndspWtdqqpCi __xts__ CaMfUcUCZAPNcF9Y3Ea6h1QZCW7UjjB3MULJrebzZo0IdCGTY-91Tib9bX-b2Uo5GCof2bLYk7WG8LT6VjJI8Y5drE&__tn__-R

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