12 January 2020 — Moon of Alabama
The media continue to tell fairytales about Qassem Soleimani and about Trump’s decision to assassinate him and PMU leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Meanwhile the Resistance Axis announced how it will avenge their deaths.
In their descriptions of Qassem Soleimani U.S. media fail to mention that Soleimani and the U.S. fought on the same side. In 2001 Iran supported the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. It used its good relations with the Hazara Militia and the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, which both the CIA and Iran had supplied for years, to support the U.S. operation. The Wikipedia entry for the 2001 uprising in Herat lists U.S. General Tommy Franks and General Qassem Soleimani as allied commanders.
The collaboration ended in 2002 after George W. Bush named Iran as a member of his “Axis of Evil“.
In 2015 the U.S. and Iran again collaborated. This time to defeat ISIS in Iraq. During the battle to liberate Tikrit the U.S. air force flew in support of General Soleimani’s ground forces. Newsweek reported at that time:
While western nations, including the U.S., were slow to react to ISIS’s march across northern Iraq, Soleimani was quick to play a more public role in Tehran’s efforts to tackle the terror group. For example, the commander was seen in pictures with militiamen in the northern Iraqi town of Amerli when it was recaptured from ISIS last September.
Top U.S. general Martin Dempsey has said that the involvement of Iran in the fight against ISIS in Iraq could be a positive step, as long as the situation does not descend into sectarianism, because of fears surrounding how Shia militias may treat the remaining Sunni population of Tikrit if it is recaptured. The military chief also claimed that almost two thirds of the 30,000 offensive were Iranian-backed militiamen, meaning that without Iranian assistance and Soleimani’s guidance, the offensive on Tikrit may not have been possible.
It is deplorable that U.S. media and politicians blame Soleimani for U.S. casualties during the invasion of Iraq. Shia groups caused only 17% of all U.S. casualties and fought, like the Sadr Brigades, without support from Iran. There are also revived claims that Iran provided the Iraqi resistance with Explosive Formed Penetrators used in roadside bombs. But that claim had been proven to be was false more than 12 years ago. The “EFP from Iran” story was part of a U.S. PSYOPS campaign to explain away the real reason why it was losing the war. There were dozens of reports which proved that the EFPs were manufactured in Iraq and there never was any evidence that Iran delivered weapons or anything else to the Iraqi resistance:
Britain, whose forces have had responsibility for security in southeastern Iraq since the war began, has found nothing to support the Americans’ contention that Iran is providing weapons and training in Iraq, several senior military officials said.
“I have not myself seen any evidence — and I don’t think any evidence exists — of government-supported or instigated” armed support on Iran’s part in Iraq, British Defense Secretary Des Browne said in an interview in Baghdad in late August.
Iran is not responsible for the U.S. casualties in Iraq. George W. Bush is. What made Soleimani “bad” in the eyes of the U.S. was his support for the resistance against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. It was Israel that wanted him ‘removed’. The media explanations for Trump’s decision fail to explain that point.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Trump picked the ‘wrong’ item from a list of possible courses of action that the military had presented him. That sounded like bullshit invented to take blame away from Trump and to put it onto the military.
The Washington Post reports today that the idea to kill Soleimani came from Secretary of State Pompeo:
Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Soleimani months ago, said a senior U.S. official, but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation.
[This time o]ne significant factor was the “lockstep” coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.
It is possible that the report is correct but it sounds more like an arranged story to blame Pompeo for the bad consequences Trump’s decision will have.
During his election campaign Trump did not even know (vid) who Soleimani was. Someone indoctrinated him. The idea to assassinate Soleimani came most likely from Netanyahoo and must have been planted into Trump’s head quite a while ago. Israel could have killed Soleimani several times while he was openly traveling in Syria. It shied away from doing that as it (rightly) feared the consequences. Now the U.S. will have to endure them.
The consequences continue to pile up.
The decision by the Iraqi government and parliament to kick all foreign troops out of the country leaves some flexibility in the timeline. The U.S. and other military are in Iraq under simple agreements that were exchanged between the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and the other sides. The ministry can fulfill the parliament decision by simply writing letters that declare that the agreements end next week. It could also choose to wait until the end of the year. But Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has publicly declared that he can no longer guarantee the security of foreign troops on Iraqi ground. That makes the issue urgent and it is likely that the troops will leave rather soon.
Trump did not like the idea and threatened Iraq with sanctions:
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, the U.S. president said: “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.”
“We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it,” Trump said.
The president added that “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.”
There are also some 2,900 Twitter bots who try to let the parliament decision look illegitimate by tweeting “I am Iraqi and parliament doesn’t represent me”. It is not known if these are Saudi or U.S. bots but their behavior is inauthentic.
There is nothing Trump can do to keep the troops in Iraq. If the Iraqi government does not tell them to leave the Popular Militia Forces will attack the U.S. bases and evict the U.S. military by force. When the U.S. assassinated Soleimani and PMU leader al-Muhandis it made that step inevitable.
Yesterday Iran took a decision to exceed the number of centrifuges that are allowed to run under the JCPOA nuclear agreement which the U.S. has left. The decision had been expected and the Soleimani assassination only accelerated it. Iran took the step under §36 of the agreement which allows Iran to exceed the limits if the other sides of the JCPOA do not stick to their commitments. That means that Iran is still within the JCPOA and that the step is reversible. The IAEA will continue to have access to Iran’s sites and will continue to report regularly about Iran’s civil nuclear program.
The JCPOA co-signers France, the UK and Germany issued a very unhelpful statement today that puts all blame on Iran and does not even mention the U.S. assassinations of Soleimani.
Iran has not announced what kind of operation it will use to avenge the death of its national hero Qassem Soleimani. It will likely be some asymmetrical operation against the U.S. military somewhere around the globe. It will certainly be a big one.
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a dear friend of Soleimani, announced yesterday that the Resistance Axis will take its own, separate revenge.
Here are edited excerpts from Nasrallah’s rather long speech (which is worth reading in full):
Today we commemorate Soleimani and al-Muhandis, two great commanders, and their Iraqi and Iranian companions who were martyred in this recent crime. The date of Soleimani’s assassination is an inflection point in the history of the region, not just for Iran or Iraq.
It is a new beginning.
Soleimani’s assassination isn’t an isolated incident. It’s the beginning of new American approach to the region. The U.S. carefully weighed what move they could take to reverse all their previous failures. But this wasn’t war with Iran.
Trump knows war with Iran would be difficult and dangerous.
So, what could they do that wouldn’t lead to war with Iran? They settled on killing Qassem Soleimani, a central figure in the Resistance Axis.
Qassem Soleimani was the glue that held the Resistance Axis together, and so they decided to kill him, and to kill him openly, which would also have its psychological impact.
Our responsibility in the Resistance Axis is divided into three points.
- Trump’s goal was to terrify us all, and subjugate us. The leadership of Resistance will not waver or back down at all. To the contrary, the martyrdom of Soleimani and Muhandis will only drive us forward.
- Resistance must coordinate and become closer, to strengthen itself and its capabilities, because the region is heading toward a new phase.
- In terms of response, we have to consider just punishment. In terms of this crime, the one who committed it is known, and must be punished.
Soleimani isn’t just an Iranian matter, he is all of the Resistance Axis – Palestine, Lebanon Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and every country which has supporter and lover of Resistance. The umma. This isn’t an Iranian issue alone. Iran can also respond as it pleases, but that response doesn’t exempt the Resistance Axis from also responding. Iran won’t ask you to do anything – to act or not to act. But Resistance Axis forces must decide how to deal with Soleimani’s death.
So, if any Resistance Axis faction avenges his death, that their decision, and Iran isn’t behind that. Iran won’t ask anything. It’s up to us how to respond. Do we content ourselves with mourning and eulogizing? We must all head towards just punishment.
What do we mean by just punishment? Some are saying this must be someone of the same level as Qassem Soleimani – like Chairman of Joint Chiefs, head of @CENTCOM, but there is no one on Soleimani or Muhandis’ level. Soleimani’s shoe is worth more than Trump’s head, so there’s no one I can point to to say this is the person we can target.
Just punishment therefore means American military presence in the region, U.S. military bases, U.S. military ships, every American officer and soldier in our countries and regions. The U.S. military is the one who killed Soleimani and Muhandis, and they will pay the price. This is the equation.
I want to be very clear, we do not mean American citizens or nationals. There are many Americans in our region. We don’t mean to attack them, and it is wrong to harm them. Attacking US civilians anywhere serves Trump’s interests.
The American military institution put itself in the midst of battle by carrying out the assassination.
There are those who will say I’m blowing things out of proportion. I’m not. I’m seeing it as it is. We won’t accept our region, its holy places, and natural resources to be handed over to the Zionists.
If the resistance axis heads in this direction, the Americans will leave our region, humiliated, defeated, and terrified. The suicide martyrs who forced the US out of the region before remain. If our region’s peoples head in this direction – when the coffins of of U.S. soldiers and officers – they arrived vertically, and will return horizontally – Trump and his admin will know they lost the region, and will lose the elections.
The response to the blood of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis must be expulsion of all U.S, forces from the region. When we accomplish this goal, the liberation of Palestine will become imminent. When US forces leave the region, these Zionists will pack their bags and leave, and might not need a battle with Israel.
General Esmail Qaani, Soleimani’s replacement as commander of the Quds Brigade, endorsed Nasrallah’s proposal:
Going Underground on RT @Underground_RT –
Esmail Qaani, the new leader of Iran’s IRGC Quds Force:
“Our promise is to continue the path of martyr Soleimani. Due to the martyrdom of #Soleimani, our promise will be the expulsion of the US from the region in different steps.”
These are not empty threats but a military project that will play out over the next years. I would not bet on the U.S. as the winner of that war.
There were millions of Iranians in the streets of Tehran today to mourn Qassem Soleimani. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei shed tears while reciting the funeral prayer (vid). As Ayatollah Khomeini once said: “They call us a nation of tears, but with these tears we overthrew an empire.”
Fereshteh Sadeghi فرشته صادقی @fresh_sadegh –
I was given this poster tonight by 2 young men next to a stand that offered tea and dates to motorists (dates as a sign of mourning in Iran), I want to stick it on my car’s rear window. It reads: A world will avenge you, with hashtag #crushing_response
There will be hundreds of thousands of volunteers should Iran need them to avenge Soleimani. That is why we predicted that the U.S. will come to regret its evil deed.
And while the situation can be reasonably compared to the build up to the war on Iraq I do not see a war happening. Wars are very risky as the enemy gets a vote. Any war with Iran would likely cost ten thousands of U.S. casualties. Trump is probably not stupid enough to launch such a war and certainly not during an election year.
During his campaign Trump said he wanted the U.S. military out of the Middle East. Iran and its allies will help him to keep that promise.