January 10, 2020
Moon of Alabama
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi is following Iraq’s Parliament decision https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/iraqi-parliament-expels-foreign-militaries-from-iraq.html to remove all foreign forces from Iraq. But his request for talks with the U.S. about the U.S. withdrawal process was answered https://apnews.com/182bae76452d7565b0a3d840ff0369cb with a big “F*** You”:
Iraq’s caretaker prime minister asked Washington to start working out a road map for an American troop withdrawal, but the U.S. State Department on Friday bluntly rejected the request, saying the two sides should instead talk about how to “recommit” to their partnership.
Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in the capital and southern Iraq, many calling on both Iran and America to leave Iraq, reflecting anger and frustration over the two rivals — both Baghdad’s allies — trading blows on Iraqi soil.
The request from Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pointed to his determination to push ahead with demands for U.S. troops to leave Iraq, stoked by the American drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In a phone call Thursday night, he told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. strikes in Iraq were an unacceptable breach of Iraqi sovereignty and a violation of their security agreements, his office said.
He asked Pompeo to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism” to carry out the Iraqi Parliament’s resolution on withdrawing foreign troops, according to the statement.
“The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities, and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement added.
The Associated Press errs when it says that the move was “stoked by the American drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani”. The move was stoked five days earlier when the U.S. killed 31 Iraqi security forces https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/12/after-us-strike-on-iraqi-forces-its-troops-will-again-have-to-leave.html near the Syrian border despite the demands by the Iraqi prime minister and president not to do so. It was further stoked when the U.S. assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/us-will-come-to-regret-its-assassination-of-qassim-soleimani.html, the deputy commander of the Popular Militia Forces and a national hero in Iraq.
The State Department issued a rather aggressive response https://www.state.gov/the-u-s-continued-partnership-with-iraq/ to Abdul-Mahdi’s request:
America is a force for good in the Middle East. Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners. We have been unambiguous regarding how crucial our D-ISIS mission is in Iraq. At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership—not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East. Today, a NATO delegation is at the State Department to discuss increasing NATO’s role in Iraq, in line with the President’s desire for burden sharing in all of our collective defense efforts. There does, however, need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership. We want to be a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq.
Shorter Pompeo: “Our troops will stay and you better do what we say.”
A foreign force that is asked to leave a country and does not do so is an occupation force. It must and will be opposed.
The murder of the 31 security forces and the assassination of al-Mahandes have still not been avenged. The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) will do their moral duty and fight the foreign occupation forces until they leave.
The demonstrators in Baghdad will not be able to prevent that from happening. It is interesting, by the way, that the Washington Post bureau chief in Baghdad thought she knew what they would demand even before they came together:
Louisa Loveluck @leloveluck – 9:48 UTC · Jan 10, 2020 https://twitter.com/leloveluck/status/1215571106259701760
Activists have called for fresh rallies in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square today, and crowds expected to build after midday prayers. The demonstrators are rejecting parliament’s decision to oppose a US troop presence, fearing repercussions that might follow.
A few hours later Loveluck had to admit that she was, as usual, wrong:
Louisa Loveluck @leloveluck – 11:13 UTC · Jan 10, 2020 https://twitter.com/leloveluck/status/1215592409540841476
“No to Iran, no to America” say signs and chants in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as crowds start to swell. Protesters say they are fed up of their country being someone else’s battlefield. “We deserve to live in peace,” says 21 year old Zahraa.
Rejecting https://twitter.com/leloveluck/status/1215574389544177670 a narrow parliamentary vote backed by Shiite political elites is not the same as openly supporting the US. Chants in Tahrir today reject both the US and Iran.
The U.S. will need to pay better Iraqi ‘activists’ if it wants them to demand what Donald Trump wishes.
As the Iraqi Prime Minister explained https://justworldnews.org/2020/01/08/trump-khamenei-de-escalate-political-struggle-inside-iraq-continues/ (also here https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/blowback-from-the-soleimani-assassination-increases-as-iraq-reveals-how-trump-tried-to-steal-its-oil.html):
After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I still refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event I did not cooperate and do as he asked…
Iraq is again negotiating https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/01/all-way-to-bank.html with Russia to acquire S-300 air defense systems. It will need them as the U.S. will have to leave and leave it will. The only choice for its soldiers is between leaving horizontally or vertically, dead or alive.
As Elijah Magnier say in his summarization of the last week’s events: “A New Middle East “made in Iran” is about to be born https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/09/a-new-middle-east-made-in-iran-is-about-to-be-born/
The US President – who promised to end the “endless wars” https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/trump-syria-turkey-us-troops-ceasefire-sanctions-wars-a9168671.html– killed the Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani believing he could win control of Iraq and achieve regime change in Iran. On the brink of triggering a major war, Trump has spectacularly lost Iran and is about to lose Iraq.
“Beautiful military equipment https://www.news18.com/news/world/donald-trump-qasem-soleimani-united-states-iran-baghdad-iraq-2446215.html doesn’t rule the world, people rule the world, and the people want the US out of the region”, said https://edition.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/us-iran-soleimani-tensions-intl-01-06-20/index.htmlIran Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif. President Trump doesn’t have many people in the Middle East on his side, not even among his allies, whose leaders have been repeatedly insulted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEyADlTbSSc. Iran could not have dreamt of a better President to rejuvenate its position domestically and regionally. All Iran’s allies are jubilant, standing behind the “Islamic Republic” that fulfilled its promise to bomb the US. A “New Middle East” is about to be born; it will not be “Made in the USA” but “Made in Iran”. Let us hope warmongers’ era is over. The time has come to recognise and rely on intelligent diplomacy in world affairs.
In 2006 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously celebrated Israel’s assault on Lebanon as “the birth pangs of a new Middle East.” The child she dreamed of was never born. Israel lost that war against Hizbullah and the Resistance Axis has been winning ever since while the U.S. has lost again and again. It is time for the U.S. to end that useless engagement and to withdraw from the Middle East.