Archive | Iraq

Breaking: Washington Sponsored State of “Great Kurdistan” To Be Created in Syria And Iraq.

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This report is yet to be fully confirmed (GR Editor)

Inside Syria Media Center has obtained proofs of plans to create a state of Great Kurdistan.

According to the documents at our disposal, the U.S. authorities and the Syrian Kurds reached an agreement past week on the boundaries of the Kurdish autonomy in the territory of Syria, which had been guaranteed to Kurds in case of capturing Raqqa and Al-Tabqah (34 miles to the West of Raqqa). This confirms the reports about the U.S. plans to divide Syria.

In addition, Washington has already defined the boundaries of the new state of the Great Kurdistan on the territory of Syria and Iraq. It is to be created after ISIS defeat and the final collapse of Syrian Arab Republic. According to the U.S. military, Kurds remain the only force capable of defeating ISIS.

Map of Great Kurdistan

In order to strengthen its positions the new U.S. administration announced the upcoming liberation of the so-called ISIS capital, Raqqa. To grease the wheels the Americans resorted to money, their weapon of choice. They bribe ISIS field commanders and increase payments to YPG and FSA units.

The U.S. government intends to capture Raqqa by April and to eliminate ISIS in Syria and Iraq this summer. The implementation of these plans requires making concessions to Kurds. This is why the U.S. promises them an independent state in case of victory.

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Operation Mosul: A Medieval Massacre

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ISIL terrorists bomb Prophet Jirjis Mosque in Mosul

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described it this way weeks after US-led terror-bombing and Iraqi ground operations began last October – long before the worst horrors ongoing now.

US-orchestrated operations are being conducted under “conditions of absolute information blockade,” Zakharova explained.

Nothing was done to protect, evacuate or otherwise help civilians. They’ve been on their own in harm’s way without humanitarian or any other type aid or consideration for their welfare and safety since last October.

Hundreds of thousands remain trapped in the city. Others getting out risk their lives to do it – as endangered by US terror-bombing as ISIS fighters.

In the battle for Aleppo, Russia and Syria established humanitarian corridors – without aid from the UN or other countries. Great care was taken to avoid civilian casualties, why liberating the city entirely took so long.

Moscow ceased aerial operations in October 2016 to protect civilians, long before the battle for Aleppo was won in late December.

The West and supportive media disgracefully portrayed a heroic Leningrad-type liberation as naked aggression.

They’re largely silent on the rape and destruction of Mosul. What’s reported falsely portrays liberation. Nothing about US terror-bombing mass murder. An orchestrated coverup of reality continues.

No help was provided for desperate city civilians, tapped in harm’s way. In months of fighting, likely thousands were massacred, countless others injured, hundreds of thousands displaced – by indiscriminate US terror-bombing and ground artillery fire.

Western media are complicit by silence with rare exceptions. On March 23, London’s Independent cited local media sources, saying Thursday airstrikes on Mosul caused “230” civilian deaths.

“A correspondent for Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency operating in northern Iraq, said that 137 people – most believed to be civilians – died when a bomb hit a single building in al-Jadida, in the western side of the city on Thursday.”

“Another 100 were killed nearby.  Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes,” according to Kurdish journalist Hevidar Ahmed, reporting from the scene of the massacre.

RT reported over 130 civilians massacred overnight in Mosul from US terror-bombing. The death toll could be much higher. Bodies are being pulled from rubble, a slow, arduous task.

According to a local eyewitness,

“(t)he entire neighborhood was fleeing because of missiles that hit, so people had taken refuge here.”

“I didn’t know if it was a shelter. I didn’t know we couldn’t go there. My entire family is inside, 27 people. We pulled only one of them out and don’t know about the rest. Yes, he was dead.”

Civilians suffer most in all wars. Contempt for their agony and trauma in Mosul and other US war theaters compounds their desperation.

Surviving is a daily struggle. Many don’t make it. Others are scarred for life.

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Illegal U.S. Occupation Forces in Syria and Iraq: Pentagon Intends Establishing “Interim Zones of Stability”

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Addressing members of America’s imperial war coalition in Washington Wednesday, Rex Tillerson said Washington intends establishing “interim zones of stability” in Syria and Iraq – without further elaboration.

US-installed Iraqi puppet leader Haider al-Abadi was pressured to let US forces operate in Iraqi territory.

He’s silent on relentless Pentagon terror-bombing, massacring Mosul civilians, ones escaping saying they fear US warplanes as much as ISIS.

Pentagon special forces and marines in Syria are “invaders,” operating illegally, Bashar al-Assad explained. They’re aiding anti-government terrorists pursue US regime change plans.

No-fly or safe zones in foreign countries are illegal without Security Council authorization – not forthcoming with near certain Russian and likely Chinese veto power. US pressure will likely get Abadi to go along. If not, expect a new puppet leader installed to replace him.

Assad rejects them, earlier saying they won’t protect civilians. Domestic safety is only possible when peace, stability and security are restored. Safe zones imposed by foreign powers are illegal and unrealistic.

Why were Syrians displaced in the first place, he asked? For two reasons, he explained:

— “terrorist acts and support from the outside,” as well as

— “the (US) embargo on Syria,” creating enormous hardships for ordinary people through much of the country.

Syrians will again be safe when terrorism is defeated, the embargo lifted, and illegal sanctions rescinded.

Longstanding US/Israeli plans call for redrawing the Middle East map, including partitioning Iraq and Syria – governments in both countries, Iran and Lebanon replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes.

Turkey wants northern Syria and Iraq annexed. Establishing safe zones in either or both countries would require thousands of troops for enforcement.

Last November, Trump endorsed the idea, deplorably saying

“(b)uild a big, beautiful safe zone, and you have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier.”

Hillary Clinton earlier urged establishing a no-fly zone, the same scheme she used to launch US-led NATO aggression on Libya.

Russia rejects what Assad and his government oppose. CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel supports safe zones in “areas that have already been secured,” he said.

Nothing is secure in war theaters. Baghdad is repeatedly targeted by car-bombings and other terrorist attacks, taking a horrendous human toll.

Endless US imperial wars rage in Syria, Iraq, the horrendous human toll harming civilians most.

All US wars are based on Big Lies, waged for imperial conquest and dominance, unrelated to humanitarian intervention, liberating oppressed people or democracy building.

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President Blowback: How the Invasion of Iraq Came Home

US Army soldiers move toward their next watch location in Baqubah, Iraq, June 19, 2007. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Christopher Hubenthal / US Air Force)

US Army soldiers move toward their next watch location in Baqubah, Iraq, June 19, 2007. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Christopher Hubenthal / US Air Force)

If you want to know where President Donald Trump came from, if you want to trace the long winding road (or escalator) that brought him to the Oval Office, don’t look to reality TV or Twitter or even the rise of the alt-right. Look someplace far more improbable: Iraq.

Donald Trump may have been born in New York City.  He may have grown to manhood amid his hometown’s real estate wars.  He may have gone no further than Atlantic City, New Jersey, to casino-ize the world and create those magical golden letters that would become the essence of his brand.  He may have made an even more magical leap to television without leaving home, turning “You’re fired!” into a household phrase.  Still, his presidency is another matter entirely.

Despite his denials that he was ever in favor of the 2003 invasion of that country, Donald Trump is a president made by war.  His elevation to the highest office in the land is inconceivable without that invasion, which began in glory and ended (if ended it ever did) in infamy.  He’s the president of a land remade by war in ways its people have yet to absorb.  Admittedly, he avoided war in his personal life entirely.  He was, after all, a Vietnam no-show.  And yet he’s the president that war brought home.  Think of him not as President Blowhard but as President Blowback.

“Go Massive. Sweep It All Up”

To grasp this, a little escalator ride down memory lane is necessary — all the way back to 9/11; to, that is, the grimmest day in our recent history.  There’s no other way to recall just how gloriously it all began than amid the rubble.  You could, if you wanted, choose the moment three days after the World Trade Center towers collapsed when, bullhorn in hand, President George W. Bush ascended part of that rubble pile in downtown Manhattan, put his arm around a firefighter, and shouted into a bullhorn, “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you!… And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

If I were to pick the genesis of Donald Trump’s presidency, however, I think I would choose an even earlier moment — at a Pentagon partially in ruins thanks to hijacked American Airlines flight 77.  There, only five hours after the attack, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, already aware that the destruction around him was probably Osama bin Laden’s responsibility, ordered his aides (according to notes one of them took) to begin planning for a retaliatory strike against… yes, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  His exact words: “Go massive.  Sweep it all up.  Things related and not.”  And swept almost instantly into the giant dust bin of what would become the Global War on Terror (or GWOT), as ordered, would be something completely unrelated to 9/11 (not that the Bush administration ever admitted that).  It was, however, intimately related to the deepest dreams of the men (and woman) who oversaw foreign policy in the Bush years: the elimination of Iraq’s autocratic ruler, Saddam Hussein.

Yes, there was bin Laden to deal with and the Taliban and Afghanistan, too, but that was small change, almost instantly taken care of with some air power, CIA dollars delivered to Afghan warlords, and a modest number of American troops.  Within months, Afghanistan had been “liberated,” bin Laden had fled the country, the Taliban had laid down their arms, and that was that.  (Who in Washington then imagined that 15 years later a new administration would be dealing with a request from the 12th U.S. military commander in that country for yet more troops to shore up a failing war there?)

Within months, in other words, the decks were clear to pursue what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney & Co. saw as their destiny, as the key to America’s future imperial glory: the taking down of the Iraqi dictator.  That, as Rumsfeld indicated at the Pentagon that day, was always where they were truly focused.  It was what some of them had dreamed of since the moment, in the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, when President George H.W. Bush stopped the troops short of a march on Baghdad and left Hussein, America’s former ally and later Hitlerian nemesis, in power.

The invasion of March 2003 was, they had no doubt, to be an unforgettable moment in America’s history as a global power (as it would indeed turn out to be, even if not in the way they imagined).  The U.S. military that George W. Bush would call “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known” was slated to liberate Iraq via a miraculous, high-tech, shock-and-awe campaign that the world would never forget.  This time, unlike in 1991, its troops would enter Baghdad, Saddam would go down in flames, and it would all happen without the help of the militaries of 28 other countries.

It would instead be an act of imperial loneliness befitting the last superpower on planet Earth.  The Iraqis would, of course, greet us as liberators and we would set up a long-term garrison state in the oil heartlands of the Middle East.  At the moment the invasion was launched, in fact, the Pentagon already had plans on the drawing boards for the building of four permanent U.S. mega-bases (initially endearingly labeled “enduring camps“) in Iraq on which thousands of U.S. troops could hunker down for an eternity.  At the peak of the occupation, there would be more than 500 bases, ranging from tiny combat outposts to ones the size of small American towns — many transformed after 2011 into the ghost towns of a dream gone mad until a few were recently reoccupied by U.S. troops in the battle against the Islamic State.

In the wake of the friendly occupation of now-democratic (and grateful) Iraq, the hostile Syria of the al-Assad family would naturally be between a hammer and an anvil (American-garrisoned Iraq and Israel), while the fundamentalist Iranian regime, after more than two decades of implacable anti-American hostility, would be done for.  The neocon quip of that moment was: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad.  Real men want to go to Tehran.” Soon enough — it was inevitable — Washington would dominate the Greater Middle East from Pakistan to North Africa in a way no great power ever had.  It would be the beginning of a Pax Americana moment on planet Earth that would stretch on for generations to come.

Such was the dream. You, of course, remember the reality, the one that led to a looted capital; Saddam’s army tossed out on the streets jobless to join the uprisings to come; a bitter set of insurgencies (Sunni and Shia); civil war (and local ethnic cleansing); a society-wide reconstruction program overseen by American warrior corporations linked to the Pentagon that resulted in vast boondoggle projects that achieved little and reconstructed nothing; prisons from hell (including Abu Ghraib) that bred yet more insurgents; and finally, years down the line, the Islamic State and the present version of American war, now taking place in Syria as well as Iraq and slated to ramp up further in the early days of the Trump era.

Meanwhile, as our new president reminded us recently in a speech to Congress, literally trillions of dollars that might have been spent on actual American security (broadly understood) were squandered on a failed military project that left this country’s infrastructure in disarray. All in all, it was quite a record. Thought of a certain way, in return for the destruction of part of the Pentagon and a section of downtown Manhattan that was turned to rubble, the U.S. would set off a series of wars, conflicts, insurgencies, and burgeoning terror movements that would transform significant parts of the Greater Middle East into failed or failing states, and their cities and towns, startling numbers of them, into so much rubble.

Once upon a time, all of this seemed so distant to Americans in a Global War on Terror in which President Bush quickly urged citizens to show their patriotism not by sacrificing or mobilizing or even joining the military, but by visiting Disney World and reestablishing patterns of pre-9/11 consumption as if nothing had happened. (“Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.”)  And indeed, personal consumption would rise significantly that October 2001.  The other side of the glory-to-come in those years of remarkable peace in the United States was to be the passivity of a demobilized populace that (except for periodic thank-yous to its military) would have next to nothing to do with distant wars, which were to be left to the pros, even if fought to victory in their name.

That, of course, was the dream.  Reality proved to be another matter entirely.

Invading America

In the end, a victory-less permanent war across the Greater Middle East did indeed come home.  There was all the new hardware of war — the stingrays, the MRAPs, the drones, and so on — that began migrating homewards, and that was the least of it.  There was the militarization of America’s police forces, not to speak of the rise of the national security state to the status of an unofficial fourth branch of government.  Home, too, came the post-9/11 fears, the vague but unnerving sense that somewhere in the world strange and incomprehensible “aliens” practicing an “eerie religion” were out to get us, that some of them had near-super powers that even the world’s greatest military couldn’t crush, and that their potential acts of terror were Topeka’s greatest danger. (It mattered little that actual Islamic fundamentalist terror was perhaps the least of the dangers Americans faced in their daily lives.)

All of this reached its crescendo (at least thus far) in Donald Trump. Think of the Trump phenomenon, in its own strange way, as the culmination of the invasion of 2003 brought home bigly.  His would be a shock-and-awe election campaign in which he would “decapitate” his rivals one by one.  The New York real estate, hotel, and casino magnate who had long swum comfortably in the waters of the liberal elite when he needed to and had next to nothing to do with America’s heartland would be as alien to its inhabitants as the U.S. military was to Iraqis when it invaded.  And yet he would indeed launch his own invasion of that heartland on his private jet with its gold-plated bathroom fixtures, sweeping up all the fears that had been gathering in this country since 9/11 (nurtured by both politicians and national security state officials for their own benefit).  And those fears would ring a bell so loud in that heartland that it would sweep him into the White House.  In November 2016, he took Baghdad, USA, in high style.

In this context, let’s think for a moment about how strangely the invasion of Iraq, in some pretzeled form, blew back on America.

Like the neocons of the Bush administration, Donald Trump had long dreamed of his moment of imperial glory, and as in Afghanistan and again in Iraq in 2001 and 2003, when it arrived on November 8, 2016, it couldn’t have seemed more glorious. We know of those dreams of his because, for one thing, only six days after Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in the 2012 election campaign, The Donald first tried to trademark the old Reagan-inspired slogan, “Make America great again.”

Like George W. and Dick Cheney, he was intent on invading and occupying the oil heartlands of the planet which, in 2003, had indeed been Iraq.  By 2015-2016, however, the U.S. had entered the energy heartlands sweepstakes, thanks to fracking and other advanced methods of extracting fossil fuels that seemed to be turning the country into “Saudi America.”  Add to this Trump’s plans to further fossil-fuelize the continent and you certainly have a competitor to the Middle East.  In a sense, you might say, adapting his description of what he would have preferred to do in Iraq, that Donald Trump wants to “keep” our oil.

Like the U.S. military in 2003, he, too, arrived on the scene with plans to turn his country of choice into a garrison state.  Almost the first words out of his mouth on riding that escalator into the presidential race in June 2015 involved a promise to protect Americans from Mexican “rapists” by building an unforgettably impregnable “great wall” on the country’s southern border.  From this he never varied even when, in funding terms, it became apparent that, from the Coast Guard to airport security to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as president he would be cutting into genuine security measures to build his “big, fat, beautiful wall.”

It’s clear, however, that his urge to create a garrison state went far beyond a literal wall. It included the build-up of the U.S. military to unprecedented heights, as well as the bolstering of the regular police, and above all of the border police. Beyond that lay the urge to wall Americans off in every way possible. His fervently publicized immigration policies (less new, in reality, than they seemed) should be thought of as part of a project to construct another kind of “great wall,” a conceptual one whose message to the rest of the world was striking: You are not welcome or wanted here. Don’t come. Don’t visit.

All this was, in turn, fused at the hip to the many irrational fears that had been gathering like storm clouds for so many years, and that Trump (and his alt-right companions) swept into the already looted heartland of the country.  In the process, he loosed a brand of hate (including shootings, mosque burnings, a raft of bomb threats, and a rise in hate groups, especially anti-Muslim ones) that, historically speaking, was all-American, but was nonetheless striking in its intensity in our present moment.

Combined with his highly publicized “Muslim bans” and prominently publicized acts of hate, the Trump walling-in of America quickly hit home.  A drop in foreigners who wanted to visit this country was almost instantly apparent as the warning signs of a tourism “Trump slump” registered, business travel bookings took an instant $185 million hit, and the travel industry predicted worse to come.

This is evidently what “America First” actually means: a country walled off and walled in.  Think of the road traveled from 2003 to 2017 as being from sole global superpower to potential super-pariah. Thought of another way, Donald Trump is giving the hubristic imperial isolation of the invasion of Iraq a new meaning here in the homeland.

And don’t forget “reconstruction,” as it was called after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  In relation to the United States, the bedraggled land now in question whose infrastructure recently was given a D+ grade on a “report card” issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Donald Trump promises a trillion-dollar infrastructure program to rebuild America’s highways, tunnels, bridges, airports, and the like. If it actually comes about, count on one thing: it will be handed over to some of the same warrior corporations that reconstructed Iraq (and other corporate entities like them), functionally guaranteeing an American version of the budget-draining boondoggle that was Iraq.

As with that invasion in the spring of 2003, in 2017 we are still in the (relative) sunshine days of the Trump era.  But as in Iraq, so here 14 years later, the first cracks are already appearing, as this country grows increasingly riven. (Think Sunni vs. Shia.)

And one more thing as you consider the future: the blowback wars out of which Donald Trump and the present fear-gripped garrison state of America arose have never ended. In fact, just as under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, so under Donald Trump, it seems they never will. Already the Trump administration is revving up American military power in Yemen, Syria, and potentially Afghanistan. So whatever the blowback may have been, you’ve only seen its beginning. It’s bound to last for years to come.

There’s just one phrase that could adequately sum all this up: Mission accomplished!

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Protecting the Terrorists: US Forces Come to the Rescue of ISIS Commanders in Iraq

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Commander of Asa’eb al-Haq Movement affiliated to the Iraqi popular forces of Hashd al-Shaabi said that the US forces have carried out a rapid heliborne operation and evacuated two commanders of ISIL terrorists from Western Mosul in Northern Iraq.

Javad al-Talaybawi said that the US forces carried out the heliborne operation in one of the Western neighborhoods of Western Mosul, evacuating two senior ISIL commanders to an unknown location after the commanders came under siege by Iraqi government forces in intensified clashes in Western Mosul.

“Americans’ support and assistance to the ISIL is done openly to save their regional plan in a desperately attempt,” al-Talaybawi underlined.

Iraq: US Forces Evacuate ISIL Commanders from Western Mosul

Al-Talaybawi had warned late in February that the US forces tried hard to evacuate ISIL commanders from the besieged city of Tal Afar West of Mosul.

After photos surfaced in the media displaying US forces assisting ISIL terrorists, al-Talaybawi said that the Americans were planning to take ISIL commanders away from Tal Afar that is under the Iraqi forces’ siege.

In the meantime, member of Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Commission Iskandar Watut called for a probe into photos and footages displaying US planes airdropping aid packages over ISIL-held regions.

Watut further added that we witnessed several times that US planes dropped packages of food stuff, arms and other necessary items over ISIL-held regions, and called on Iraq’s air defense to watch out the US-led coalition planes.

Eyewitnesses disclosed at the time that the US military planes helped the ISIL terrorists in Tal Afar region West of Mosul.

“We saw several packages dropped out of a US army aircraft in the surrounding areas of the city of Tal Afar in Western Nineveh province and six people also came out of a US plane in the ISIL-controlled areas,” the Arabic-language media quoted a number of eyewitnesses as saying.

Tal Afar city has been under the siege of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) for about two months now and the efforts by the ISIL terrorists to help their comrades besieged in Tal Afar have failed so far.

The news comes as the Iraqi army had reported that the US air force has been helping the ISIL terrorists in areas controlled by the terrorist group.

The Iraqi army says that the US army is trying to transfer the ISIL commanders trapped in areas besieged by the Iraqi army to safe regions.

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Civilians in Iraq “Die by Mistake” as a Result of US Air Raids, Humanitarian Catastrophe in Mosul

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The government forces of Syria and Iraq continue to fight against terror groups with the support of their allies. Russian Air Force assists the Syrian army, and the International Coalition headed by the U.S. is “cooperating” with the armed forces of Iraq [against the ISIS which is supported by America’s Middle East including Saudi Arabia and Qatar in close liaison with Washington].

It should be mentioned that the Liberation of Aleppo from Jabhat al-Nusra‘s terrorists by the Syrian army units last December became a tipping point in the Syrian war. Then the Syrian government has taken all possible measures to safely evacuate all of the civilians from the western neighborhoods of the city. The humanitarian pauses have been introduced and thousands of people left the city through humanitarian corridors. More than 110,000 civilians have been evacuated from the city, including 44,000 children.

Unfortunately the situation in Iraq is the complete opposite. The locals are facing very difficult conditions. On the one hand, they are threatened by ISIS terrorists who placed their positions in residential areas in the vicinity of schools and hospitals.

In addition, the terrorists use the civilian population as a human shield. On the other hand, the advance of the Iraqi army under support of International Coalition bombers, which frequently carry out indiscriminate attacks on the residential neighborhoods. As a result of the U.S. air raids dozens of civilians die ‘by mistake’.

According to the official figures, 220 people have been killed by the International Coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014. It’s obvious that the coalition intentionally hides the real number of victims in order to avoid criticism by international human rights organizations.

The situation in Mosul can only be described as a humanitarian catastrophe.

There are still more than 750,000 civilians in the western neighborhoods of Mosul, who have nowhere to run. The refugee camps are currently overflowing. The representative of the International Organization for Migration in Iraq Hala Jaber stated that in the near future a refugee camp for 60 thousand people should be set up in the area of the Qayyarah airbase. However even the organization of this camp won’t be enough to save all those in need.

In addition, when the Mosul-Raqqa highway was blocked last year, the city was left without humanitarian and commercial supplies. The citizens of western Mosul reported that almost half of local grocery stores closed and bakeries can’t afford flour because of high prices. Due to the destruction of sewage facilities the local people desperately lack drinking water.

Reporting the situation in Mosul the Western media prefer not to cover the problems of the local population, who are forced to flee the war, and keep silent about the deaths of civilians from the hands of terrorists.

When the city of Aleppo was liberated in the end of last year, the situation was completely different. Although the local citizens were leaving their homes via humanitarian corridors organized by the Syrian military, the media dubbed this situation as a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ and blamed the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Hence a question arises: what hindered the Iraqi authorities and the International coalition from organizing humanitarian pauses for withdrawal of civilians from the besieged city similarly to what the Syrian government had done?

It seems that the Western countries remain indifferent to the destiny of the civilians of Mosul, who have to hide in basements hoping that they won’t be found by terrorists or be ‘mistakenly’ bombed by the US jets. Only a miracle could save them and bring them back to safety.

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Iraqi VP al-Maliki: Saudi Arabia Is the Breeding Ground for Terrorism in the Middle East

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The Iraqi armed forces did not possess adequate weapons to fight the Daesh terrorist group but Iran equipped them with much-needed military hardware, Maliki said in a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

He added that Iran was the only country to assist Iraq in the battle against Daesh and other terrorist groups.

Maliki said several countries had declared their readiness to help Iraq in its war on terrorism but only Iran backed up its words with actions.

The former Iraqi prime minister also blasted Saudi Zio-Wahhabi policies in the Middle East and said Riyadh is the breeding ground for terrorism.

Maliki emphasized that Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regime has failed to achieve its objectives in the region and is currently paying the price for its wrong policy of supporting terrorists.

The Iraqi veep further said his current visit to Tehran is aimed at improving mutual relations, adding that the two countries have close and strategic ties.

Maliki arrived in Tehran on Saturday to hold talks with senior Iranian officials.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on August 10 hailed the presence of Iranian military advisors in the country’s battle against Daesh terrorists and said the Iranian advisors were present in Iraq on Baghdad’s request.

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Civilian death toll grows amid ISIS attempts to disrupt Mosul siege, UN figures show

NOVANEWS

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The Mosul region has suffered the highest number of civilian casualties among Iraq’s provinces in February, according to new UN estimates, as the US-backed coalition tightens its grip on densely populated western neighborhoods of the ISIS-held city.

A total of 329 civilians were killed and 613 injured across Iraq in February, in “acts of terrorism, violence, and armed conflict,” according to new figures by UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The Iraqi military operation to retake Mosul from Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and its desperate attempts to hold ground apparently caused a serious surge in civilian casualties.

Ninewa Governorate, with its capital city of Mosul, has suffered the most with 201 civilians killed and another 250 injured. UNAMI, however, has been “hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas,” thus the conflict’s civilian death toll might be even higher.

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Press Release: UN Casualty Figures for for the month of February 2017 – http://bit.ly/1l6zGD1 

Iraqi civilians suffer both from US-led coalition airstrikes and IS terrorists, who deliberately target fleeing civilians to prevent them from escaping in order to use them as human shields against advancing Iraqi forces.

“We have suffered from many shellings, so many shellings. The shellings were from the morning till the evenings, deadly shellings. We were not able to leave our houses because of them,” a recently displaced Iraqi woman Sakna Younis told RT.

“As the Iraqi security forces stepped up the military operations to liberate the remaining parts of Mosul from Daesh control, the terrorists struck again, targeting civilians with cowardly bombings to ease the pressure on the frontlines,” Jan Kubis, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq said.

Such “sinister attempts” of the terrorists did not “weaken the resolve of the people and government of Iraq” to liberate Mosul, Kubis added. Relentless fighting and further advances into densely populated neighborhoods of western Mosul may result in even more civilian casualties.

“We expect very tough fighting as the Iraqis move deeper into the dense urban terrain of west Mosul,” Operation Inherent Resolve commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said.

While the Mosul offensive somewhat resembles the operation to liberate Syria’s Aleppo from terrorists, the approach of armies fighting jihadists and media coverage of the battles in the two neighboring countries is strikingly different, former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT.

“There’s no nice, no neat way for an army to battle its way into a heavily populated area, where there’re hundreds of thousands of civilians. Some of whom might be sympathetic to the terrorists who are holding the city, to Daesh and some who are clearly not, who are oppressed by the rule of Daesh,” Jatras said. “And that is strikingly similar to what we saw a few weeks ago, when the Syrian Army fought its way into East Aleppo, except on a much much more larger scale, with a much more horrendous possible consequences for the civilians there.”

“I noticed one thing that we have not seen … is what we saw in Aleppo, where the attacking forces, in the case of Aleppo Syrian and Russian-backed forces and in the case Iraqi with American backing have left humanitarian corridors for the civilians to escape,” Jatras added.

Civilians who manage to flee the city are forced to walk many kilometers and sleep in the bare desert, they arrive to emergency cites “exhausted and dehydrated,” according to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report

Even if they manage to reach emergency camps and shelters, not all are guaranteed the much needed help in time, reportedly due to a lack of trained personnel and lengthy screenings by the Iraqi security forces, which are trying to prevent possible IS-members infiltration.

Hajir lost her dad after rocket hit their home in West Mosul. Mom is injured.IDP family in Qayarah takes care of herhttp://iomiraq.net/article/0/iom-iraq-sees-surge-internally-displaced-mosul-fighting-intensifies 

“We have been here [in Al Dargazlia refugee camp] for two days; we came very hungry from there and we are still hungry here. There is no food and my baby is sick. I take her to the camp’s hospital, but they are not able to cure my child,” Younis told RT. “I tell them to transfer me to Shekhan and they did not allow it, I told them my baby is dying and even though they won’t accept this, and till now she is sick. She does not eat anything, they did not supply us with any food to feed my child.”

OCHA promised to improve the desperate humanitarian situation, distributing 30-day food rations among the newly arrived refugees. Approximately 4,000 civilians have been fleeing western Mosul daily since Iraqi forces began the operation to retake the IS-held parts of the city on February 19, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.

As of February 28, some 16,500 people have been displaced, and only 8,800 of them have so far been distributed among camps and emergency sites, according to OCHA. A further 85,000 people can be housed within prepared emergency camps and shelters, while some 400,000 civilians can flee the battle zone as the offensive continues, according to UN estimates, while roughly 750,000 people remain trapped in war-torn western Mosul.

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“The Poisoning of American Soldiers” in Iraq

“The Poisoning of American Soldiers” in Iraq — They’re Dying — And the Media is Silent

The Role of Dick Cheney’s Kellog, Brown, and Root (KBR)

 
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The legacy of death and misery from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan continues today, and, once again, Dick Cheney plays a central role. A new book by Joseph Hickman, a former U.S. Marine and Army sergeant, titled The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers details how soldiers and local civilian populations were exposed to constant streams of toxic smoke from the burning of waste.

The infamous Kellog, Brown, and Root (KBR), which was a part of Dick Cheney’s corporate empire under Halliburton, operated about 250 burn pits which contributed to the $40 billion that Halliburton made during the Iraq occupation. “Every type of waste imaginable” was burned, including “tires, lithium batteries, asbestos insulation, pesticide containers, Styrofoam, metals, paints, plastic, medical waste and even human corpses.”

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This reprehensible practice proves yet again that nothing is sacred when it comes to the military machine.

Just as the U.S. laid waste to Vietnam’s human health and jungle environment with Agent Orange, it wrecked human health and environmental quality in Iraq. That country will suffer from this toxicity for decades, as evidenced by sharp increases in birth defects and cancer and leukemia rates.

Likewise, U.S. veterans and their families are bearing the brunt of this travesty.

The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers begins with the story of a healthy young soldier sent to Iraq who was constantly exposed to smoke from burn pits. When he returned home with respiratory problems, the Veterans Administration (VA) denied him care, and he later developed brain cancer and died.

Those who do survive are having children with birth defects at a rate three times higher than normal, according to the book. The denial of medical coverage by the VA for burn pit-related illnesses is a central strategy in denying that burn pits even posed a health hazard.

Beau Biden, the son of vice president Joe Biden, died of brain cancer after serving in Iraq in the vicinity of burn pits. Even this tragedy, which is similar to many stories of exposure and death, never brought attention to the issue of burn pits.

Salon interviewed author Joseph Hickman, who provided even more shocking details, and how the Department of Defense (DoD) does all it can to keep this knowledge from the public.

I think the Department of Defense does its best to squash this story and so does Veterans Affairs. They really don’t want this out at all.

Hickman interviewed one former KBR employee who was very reluctant to even talk about burn pits for fear of repercussions, as he was harassed by KBR when he previously came forward about the issue. By using private contractors for such operations, the DoD facilitates these egregious assaults on human and environmental health because contractors are not held to the standards of the military.

This dependency on contractors feeds their tendency for carelessness. According to Hickman, the upper management said at one point, “If they’re going to investigate us over these burn pits, don’t worry about it. If we pull out, they can’t run this base.

The U.S. government, in its effort to conceal the impact of burn pits, even managed to influence a World Health Organization report that downplayed the effects. It stands in stark contrast to several independent researchers who found large increases in birth defects, leukemia, cancer and other carcinogenic diseased in populations living near burn pits.

There’s a large group of epidemiologists that absolutely believe that that report was influenced by the U.S. government. Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, a widely respected environmental toxicologist, has been there and seen the birth defects and how we literally destroyed that country with pollution. There are birth defects there that don’t even have medical names yet.

The evidence compiled by Hickman and presented in his book makes it downright criminal for the DoD and politicians to continue denying the issue. When veterans suffering from burn-pit illnesses contact their Congressmen, there is silence because they are in bed with the defense industry.

General David Petraeus and other top DoD officials have denied the health effects of burn pits, but veterans have no recourse because they can’t sue the government. There is a lawsuit against KBR, but the DoD will not acknowledge that the burn pits were misused.

While politicians and military brass issue patriotic platitudes about honoring those who serve their country, the reality is that soldiers are just a name and a number, and they’re thrown away when the military machine is done with them. Defense corporations reap billions as veterans and local populations suffer sickness and death.

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The New Baghdad Pact

NOVANEWS
Image result for Baghdad Pact CARTOON
By Dr Bouthaina Shaaban 

A recently declassified CIA document prepared in 1983, and released on 20 January 2017, shows that the United States had at the time encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Syria, which would have led to a vicious conflict between the two countries, thus draining their resources.

The report, which was then prepared by CIA officer Graham Fuller, indicates that the US tried adamantly to convince Saddam to attack Syria under any pretense available, in order to get the two most powerful countries in the Arab East to destroy each other, turning their attention away from the Arab-Israeli conflict.

And since Saddam was already knee-deep in a bloody war against Iran, he needed to be incentivized and encouraged by American client states in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, who offered to fund such a war in order to deal a deadly blow to the growing Syrian power in the region.

Hence, the US provided modern technology to Saddam in order to close the ring of threats around Syria, in addition to Jordan, Turkey, and Israel. The report expected that such pressures from three fronts, possibly more, would force Syria to give concessions in the struggle with Israel. And the report asserts that it was of utmost importance to convince Saddam to play along this scenario, because it would have divided the Arab line and distracted attention from the American-Israeli role in this scheme.

Therefore, the United States worked to achieve a substantial consensus among its client Arab states to support Saddam in such a move. Israeli policy at the time welcomed the idea of creating tensions along Syria’s borders with Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, because Israel saw Syria as it biggest problem and not Saddam.

Three decades earlier, a colonial alliance was formed during the Cold War, the so-called Baghdad Pact, which included Turkey, the Shah’s Iran, and British-controlled Iraq, with support from the Gulf States. The alliance was geared against Jamal Abdul Nasser, and aimed at stopping the Nationalist wave sweeping Arab countries, and to also halt Egypt’s support for liberation movements in Africa and Asia. But the 1958 revolution in Iraq ended this alliance, and this was followed by Syria and Egypt merging into the United Arab Republic, which Iraq intended to join, but this tripartite unity never materialized.

It is noteworthy that Turkey was always an enemy of Arab Nationalism, especially in Syria and Iraq, and this tendency is still there until today, because Turkey never forgave the Arabs’ for their role in the collapse of the Ottoman empire, and never accepted the loss of its Arab colonies.

Reading through history, it also shows the naivety of Saudi and Gulf rulers in dealing with their issues, and their superficial reading of events.

If we go back to Nasser’s speeches in 1962 and 1963, in which he gave ample rebuttal against Arab reactionaries, especially its inability to stand up for Palestine, because they get their weapons from the same supplier as Israel, and therefore they were forced to stand alongside Israel and host American military bases.

The Gulf States, were in a real and established alliance with Israel, which was secret at first, before it became an open alliance today.

Juxtaposing this history with recent events, one can’t help but notice a clear pattern. Today, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are once more joining the US and Israel in an alliance to prolong the six-year-old ongoing war against Syria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and the Arab Nations, in order to destroy their infrastructures, economies, armies, institutions, civilizational heritage, and cultural identity.

Under American pressure, Arab rulers either participate in secret or stand idly by during the Arab Spring War. Erdogan’s Ottoman Turkey is building a close alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, with American and Israeli support, in order to prolong the war against Syria under the pretense of isolating and weakening Iraq [Iran?].

But the real American-Israeli objective is destroying all Arabs, including those who walk the American line and finance American wars.

We can conclude that the tools used against Arabs since the 1950s remain the same. These tools are Arab States loyal to America and Israel, whether in secret or in public, and at every historical juncture, new schemes are contrived to destroy Arab civilization and drain Arab resources in order to weaken all Arabs, both resistors and collaborators. And even though the Arab reaction against the Baghdad Pact was good in theory, and led to a closer union between Syria and Egypt, the right mechanisms, however, were never put in place in order to ensure the viability and continuity of this union.

Arabs always lose time, they’ve been suffering for the past seventy years from reactionary forces’ loyalty to the Nation’s enemies, conspiring with them, hosting their military bases, and financing their wars against Arabs. Nonetheless, no opposing Arab movement that would construct an alternative to the Zionist-Turkish reactionary project has ever emerged. How many times do events have to prove that the West and Israel are implementing their schemes through operatives such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the so-called oppositions?

Today, what is needed, is to establish a strong Arab alliance on solid foundations and modern mechanisms, which at times we have to learn from our enemies.

Today, Erdogan, Israel, and the US deplete Gulf money in order to finance the terrorist war against Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Egypt, in the same way the West and its Arab clients encouraged Saddam to continue the war against Iran, in what was then called “dual containment,” with the hope of weakening both Iraq and Iran.

The end result, however, was the destruction and later occupation of Iraq, while Iran became a nuclear [energy] power. Arabs, therefore, must stand side-by-side and prepare for a long war, the schemes of which might be revealed three decades from now, possibly more!

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