Samson: The State Department summons the Ambassador of the United States of America to Baghdad
16:24 – 01/05/2020
The Foreign Ministry announced, on Sunday, the recall of the American ambassador to Baghdad, Matthew Toller, and the presentation of a memorandum of protest against the air strike, which resulted in the martyrdom of Deputy Chairman of the Popular Mobilization Committee, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and General Qassem Soleimani last Thursday.
The ministry stated in a statement, which received / information / a copy of it, that “the American Ambassador to Baghdad Matthew Toller was summoned against the background of the air strikes that were suffered by the Iraqi forces in Al-Qa’im, and the resulting casualties between a martyr and a wounded person, as well as the air strike that Iraqi military leaders and a high-level friend targeted with their companions in the Iraqi territories, which resulted in the martyrdom of the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Committee, the martyr Jamal Ja`far Muhammad (Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis), along with a number of martyrs from the Iraqi and friendly leaders.”
The Ministry considered these military operations as “an aggression and a condemned act that is causing the tension to escalate in the region at a time when the US administration should cooperate with Iraq in reducing security tension and resolving the crises that afflict the region.” LINK
Don961: The International Alliance: We stopped the tasks of training and supporting the Iraqi army due to the repeated rocket attacks
15:29 05.01.2020(Updated 15:55 05.01.2020
The international coalition led by the United States of America announced today, Sunday, that it stopped the tasks of training and support for the Iraqi army due to the repeated missile attacks on the military bases and headquarters of the alliance.
Reuters quoted the international coalition statement that said, “We have stopped training and support tasks for the Iraqi army due to the repeated rocket attacks“
The statement added: “This step comes after confirming two attacks on two Iraqi bases hosting his forces, which made the coalition think about the issue of coordination and military cooperation with the Iraqi forces“
The statement also continued: “We are fully committed to protecting the Iraqi military bases hosting its forces” link
Don961: Sources for Reuters: A secret meeting with a villa on the river … revealed the attacks that Qasim Soleimani had ordered
– One Day Has Passed
Reuters quoted informed sources that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani met with his allies from the armed Shiite factions in Iraq in a villa in the Rusafa area on the eastern side of the Tigris River, in mid-October last, to plan attacks against the United States.
In the Karkh area on the west side of the river, the US embassy complex is located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone.
According to security officials and faction leaders, Soleimani instructed his biggest ally in Iraq to intensify attacks on American targets using new advanced weapons supplied to them by Iran.
The leaders of the powerful factions attended the meeting, along with the deputy head of the popular crowd, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who was killed alongside Soleimani in the American raid on Friday.
The strategic meeting – which media reports did not talk about before – came as massive protests against Iran’s growing influence in Iraq were gaining momentum.
According to sources familiar with the meeting and close to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Soleimani’s plans to attack American forces were aimed at provoking a military response that would divert this growing anger towards the United States.
Through interviews with Iraqi security sources and leaders of Shiite armed factions, Reuters highlights how Soleimani works in Iraq.
Soleimani once told Reuters that he knew Iraq by heart.
Diplomats, Soldiers, and Pilots
Two weeks before the villa meeting on the Tigris River, Soleimani ordered the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to transfer more sophisticated weapons to Iraq, including Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could land helicopters through two border crossings.
At the villa meeting, Soleimani asked the assembled military leaders to form a new armed faction, unknown to the United States, that could carry out missile attacks on Americans on Iraqi military bases.
Sources familiar with what happened in the meetings stated that he ordered the Hezbollah Brigades – which was founded by the engineer and trained in Iran – to take over the implementation of the new plan.
Soleimani told the assembled that such a “new” group would “be difficult for the Americans to monitor.”
And yesterday, Friday, American officials revealed that before the attacks, the American intelligence services had what they believed that Soleimani was involved in an “advanced stage” in planning to attack Americans in several countries, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
A senior US official said Soleimani supplied sophisticated weapons to the Hezbollah Brigades. US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters that Soleimani had just returned from Damascus “where he was planning attacks on American soldiers, pilots, marines, sailors, and diplomats.”
An official at the Iranian Revolutionary Guards headquarters declined to comment on these leaks, and it was not possible to obtain a comment from the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
It is noteworthy that Soleimani played a key role in expanding Iran’s military influence in the Middle East as the director of covert operations outside Iran.
Soleimani, 62, was considered the second most powerful figure in the Islamic Republic after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
As for the engineer, he supervised the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, which are an umbrella for the Shiite armed factions, mostly supported by Iran, and formally integrated into the Iraqi armed forces.
Like Soleimani, the engineer has long been on the radar of the United States, which has designated him a terrorist.
Iranian plane to photograph American soldiers
A leader of the armed factions said that Soleimani chose Hezbollah Brigades to lead the attacks on American forces in the region, because it had the ability to use drones to explore targets to attack them with Katyusha rockets.
Among the weapons, faction leaders said, among the weapons that Soleimani had supplied to his allies was a drone developed by Iran that was able to hide from the radar systems.
According to Iraqi security officials, the Hezbollah brigades used drones to take aerial photographs of locations where American forces are deployed.
On December 27, more than thirty rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base near the city of Kirkuk in the north of the country in an attack that killed an American civilian contractor and wounded four Americans and two Iraqi soldiers.
Washington accused the Hezbollah Brigades of carrying out the attack, and the group denied this. Two days later, the United States launched air strikes targeting the group, killing at least 25 fighters and wounding 55.
The strikes sparked violent protests over the past two days by supporters of armed factions backed by Iran who stormed a security point in the vicinity of the US embassy and threw stones at the security forces.
This prompted Washington to send additional forces to the region and threaten revenge against Tehran.
Yesterday, Thursday, the US Secretary of Defense warned that his country might have to take pre-emptive action to protect the lives of Americans from expected attacks by factions backed by Iran, stressing that “the rules of the game have changed.”
Just hours after this threat, the US military carried out a raid on two vehicles near Baghdad International Airport, killing Soleimani, the engineer, and other Iranian and Iraqi personalities.
Source: Reuters LINK
Toyvp: What You Need to Know About the Death of Soleimani
By Wesley Smith yesterday
President Trump ordered the attack on Major General Qassem Soleimani, a master terrorist and the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on January 2nd. He was killed along with seven others as he arrived at the Baghdad Airport. Here are key facts about this man, who was responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of people around the world.
Soleimani was the most powerful Iranian general. While other generals may have outranked him, as Commander of the Quds Forces, he answered only to Iran’s Supreme Leader. His authority was outside the normal military chain of command in Iran and he was given carte blanche authority for the export of terror around the world as he coordinated and directed the numerous Iranian militias and proxies worldwide.
The Quds Forces were responsible for assassinations, terrorism and unconventional warfare that Iran exports and executes globally, including places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. He was the benefactor of Hamas and Hezbollah. He was linked to assassinations and assassination attempts in the U.S., Germany, India and Argentina.
He was also linked to the deaths of over 600 U.S. service members in Iraq, as he supplied enhanced Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to the insurgency there. Thousands of U.S. troops were wounded and maimed by these weapons. The IRGC was responsible for 17 per cent of all U.S. casualties in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.
We are in a War on Terror since September 11, 2001. Iran is the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, and the Quds Forces have been declared a terror organization. In war, a general officer of an enemy force is a legitimate military target. This was not an assassination. It was the killing of an enemy soldier in a war.
According to Secretary of State Pompeo, he was not killed because of his past deeds, but because the U.S. became aware of planned attacks by Soleimani on U.S. personnel and others. The attacks were imminent.
Because of this, President Trump was not required to notify Congress in advance. Under his Article Two powers in the U.S. Constitution, and in accordance with the War Powers Act, the president can take military action if a threat against the United States in imminent.
The attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad were not mere demonstrations. They were coordinated attacks on the U.S. compound and its personnel directed by Soleimani and his Quds Forces, in coordination with Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq.
Soleimani was also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of demonstrators in Iran as they protested against government corruption and a failing economy in Iran.
Over the last several weeks, hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators were killed as they protested against Iranian influence in their own country and government corruption in Iraq. The use of live ammunition against these demonstrations in Iraq can also be traced back to Soleimani.
The events of the last several days are a reminder that there are evil people and terrorist forces who seek to do us harm. When they chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” they truly mean it. Our nation’s leaders and our men and women in the military have a solemn obligation and a Constitutional mandate to protect America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We pray for our nation’s leaders and our men and women in uniform.
Samson: Kurdish lawmaker: The agreement between Baghdad and Erbil is ready for signing and is awaiting the next prime minister
14:33 – 01/05/2020
On Sunday, the MP from the Kurdish group Salim Hamza revealed the details of the agreement between Baghdad and Erbil regarding the 2020 budget, noting that the agreement is ready for signature by the next prime minister.
Hamza said in a statement to “Information” that “Baghdad and Erbil have reached final understandings regarding the management of the 2020 budget, but the current conditions will delay the signing of the agreement.”
He added, “Erbil will commit to delivering oil to Baghdad on a daily basis without any delay, while Baghdad will pay the salaries of the region’s employees and support service projects in the region.”
Hamza explained, “The only remaining technical point is an understanding on how to transfer the region’s oil to SOMO in Baghdad while Erbil is waiting for the formation of a government in order to approve the budget and sign the agreement once and for all.” LINK
Don961: Trump says he’ll sanction Iraq if US troops forced to leave
BY MORGAN CHALFANT – 01/05/20 08:26 PM EST
President Trump said Sunday that the United States would not leave Iraq on “friendly” terms and threatened to impose sanctions on the country if forced to withdraw American troops.
“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday afternoon when asked about the vote by Iraq’s parliament to end U.S. troop presence in the country.
“If there’s any hostility, that they do anything we think is inappropriate, we are going to put sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq,” Trump added.
Trump made the remarks to reporters while traveling from Palm Beach, Fla., to Washington, D.C., after a two-week stint at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Earlier Sunday, the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of a resolution calling on the country’s government to work toward ending U.S. troop presence there after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general in the capital of Baghdad. American forces have maintained a presence in Iraq since 2014 as part of the operation targeting ISIS.
The bill is subject to approval by the Iraqi government.
Trump also at one point Sunday suggested that American forces wouldn’t leave Iraq unless the country paid the U.S. back for its “expensive air base” there, an apparent reference to the Al Asad Air Base.
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time,” Trump said. “We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
The Iraqi parliament vote on Sunday was among a number of developments in the wake of the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who commanded Iran’s Quds Force. U.S. officials have described the strike as a defensive measure meant to halt planned attacks on Americans; Soleimani is said to have been responsible for attacks that killed hundreds of American troops over the years.
The strike came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the region, following the death of an American contractor in a rocket attack in Iraq that Washington blamed on Tehran.
Iran has vowed retaliation for Soleimani’s death. Trump, meanwhile, has threatened to hit Iranian sites if Tehran strikes Americans or U.S. assets in response, including threatening to hit Iranian cultural sites. Some have argued that attacking a cultural site could be considered a war crime.
“They’re allowed to kill our people,” Trump told reporters Sunday evening. “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site?”
“It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said. link