Iraq wants to expel US troops

US troops were allowed into Iraq four years ago in an agreement to help fight against the ‘Islamic State’. The Iraqi government now wants to expel the troops after the US airstrike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani – but remarkably, under the agreement they are required to give one year notice.

There are fears that there will be a resurgence of ISIS if the US leaves Iraq, and that Iran will increase it’s influence in Iraq.

More of an immediate concern is that both the US and Iran have threatened each other of further aggression over the ‘act of war’ committed by the US.

Stuff (AAP): Iraq’s Parliament calls for expulsion of US troops

Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of US troops from the country Sunday (Monday NZT) in reaction to the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general, raising the prospect of a withdrawal that could allow a resurgence by Islamic State extremists.

Lawmakers approved a resolution asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The bill is subject to approval by the Iraqi government. Even then, cancelling the US-Iraq agreement requires giving the Americans a one-year notice for withdrawal.

Amid Iran’s threats of vengeance, the US-led military coalition in Iraq announced Sunday it is putting the fight against Islamic State militants on hold to focus on protecting its troops and bases.

A pullout of the estimated 5200 US troops could cripple the fight against Isis and allow it to make a comeback. It could also enable Iran to deepen its influence in Iraq.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Fox News that the parliamentary vote is “a bit concerning”.

“The Iranian government is trying to basically take over Iraq’s political system. Iran is bribing Iraqi politicians. To the Iraqi people, do not allow your politicians to turn Iraq into a proxy of Iran,” he said.

“The killing of Soleimani was a political assassination,” outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi told Parliament, adding that the Iranian general was scheduled to meet him the next morning about relations with Saudi Arabia.

The US has been supporting Saudi Arabia and provided them with arms. It is a complex situation in the Middle East.

 

  • President Trump Says 52 Targets Already Lined Up If Iran Retaliates AP News

    President Donald Trump issued a stark warning to Iran on Saturday, threatening to hit dozens of targets in the Islamic Republic “very fast and very hard” if it retaliates for the targeted killing of the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

    The series of tweets came as the White House sent to Congress a formal notification under the War Powers Act of the drone strike on Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a senior administration official said. U.S. law required notification within 48 hours of the introduction of American forces into an armed conflict or a situation that could lead to war.

  • Iran Official: ‘The Response for a Military Action Is Military Action USA Today

    Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said Saturday “the response for a military action is military action,” as fears grew that a U.S. airstrike that killed the head of Tehran’s elite Quds force and mastermind of its security and intelligence strategy will draw Washington and the Middle East region into a broader military conflict.

    Iran has already vowed an unspecified harsh retaliation for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani near the Iraqi capital’s international airport on Thursday. President Donald Trump said he ordered the strike to prevent a conflict with Iran because Soleimani was plotting attacks that endangered American troops and officials.

    No evidence was provided.

  • No, Attacking Iran Won’t Help Trump Get Reelected Jonathan Chait, NY Magazine

    Beginning in 2011, and continuing through the next year, Donald Trump began obsessively predicting that President Obama would start a war with Iran in order to be reelected. Trump stated it publicly, on at least a half-dozen occasions, explicitly positing that attacking Iran would help Obama win reelection.

    Trump’s allies have framed the issue as being about Qasem Soleimani’s moral culpability, or Iran’s responsibility for escalating the conflict. And it is certainly true that Iran is a nasty, aggressive, murderous regime. But none of this refutes the fact that Trump’s Iran policy is failing on its own terms. Having violated a diplomatic agreement on the premise that doing so would not lead to war, they are now blaming Iran for the war they insisted would never happen.

  • The Soleimani Strike Defied the U.S. Constitution Oona Hathaway, The Atlantic

    The drone strike that killed Major General Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, raises many legal issues, but one of the most significant—at least to the American constitutional order—is that President Donald Trump ordered the strike without so much as informing Democratic leadership in Congress, disregarding Congress’s essential role in initiating war. If Congress fails to respond effectively, the constitutional order will be broken beyond repair, and the president will be left with the unmitigated power to take the country to war on his own—anywhere, anytime, for any reason.

  • Iran, Not the U.S., Is in a Dilemma Victor Davis Hanson, National Review
    For all the current furor over the death of Qasem Soleimani, it is Iran, not the U.S. and the Trump administration, that is in a dilemma. Given the death and destruction wrought by Soleimani, and his agendas to come, he will not be missed.

    Tehran has misjudged the U.S. administration’s doctrine of strategic realism rather than vice versa. The theocracy apparently calculated that prior U.S. patience and restraint in the face of its aggression was proof of an unwillingness or inability to respond. More likely, the administration was earlier prepping for a possible more dramatic, deadly, and politically justifiable response when and if Iran soon overreached.

It seems rather simplistic and naive to think that the current situation doesn’t pose problems if not a dilemma for the US. Iran will have known that ongoing provocations would eventually result in a reaction from the US, and that was more likely in the US election year.

 

Trump via Twitter:

Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters.

He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.

Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!

I think the only certainty in this situation is that this isn’t the end of USA versus Iran, nor the problems in the Middle East.

Leave a comment

91 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  6th January 2020

    For Trump at least this has knocked the impeachment proceedings off the front page.

    Reply
    • That may have been an aim.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  6th January 2020

        Perhaps he colluded with Iran to have them attack the embassy as well. That will be a good replacement for the Russians!

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  6th January 2020

          The embassy was attacked because the US with Trumps approval struck at about 4 Iranian militia camps , 2 in Syria , 2 in Iraq.
          That came about because “1 US contractor” was killed by militias in a rocket attack on a US base ( these sorts of things are regular occurrences)

          So it was Trump who suddenly decided 1 US contractor death was a ‘trigger’

          However the total US soldiers killed in Iraq in 2019 was 6 .

          Reply
        • Do you remember that in 1988, the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian passenger jet (Iran Air flight 655) killing 290 civilians.

          Some members of the USS Vincennes crew that shot the plane down were later awarded medals, and the United States has never formally apologized for the event.

          America has a long history of over-reaction – call it “terrorism” if you wish – in the Middle East.

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  6th January 2020

            “Do you remember that in 1988, the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian passenger jet (Iran Air flight 655) killing 290 civilians.

            Some members of the USS Vincennes crew that shot the plane down were later awarded medals, and the United States has never formally apologized for the event.”

            While this was a total clusterfuck and the captain should have lost his command, you should perhaps remember the Vincennes was in combat with Iranian surface forces at the time. The situation was created by the Iranians.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  6th January 2020

              that’s b/s PD.

            • Pink David

               /  7th January 2020

              Apart from the simple fact it is not. It’s a matter of record. The Iranians started that conflict, that was their choice.

              The USS Vincennes was in the gulf specially to protect neutral tankers from Iranian attacks.

            • Duker

               /  7th January 2020

              “Vincennes was in combat with Iranian surface forces at the time. ”

              The claim that a Vincennes helicopter which followed Iranian gunboats into territorial waters, came under fire was merely that ‘a claim’. Even so the boats were entitled to fire at a military helicopter inside their own waters
              Vincennes moved into territorial water itself and when the claim came they were being ‘harassed by gunboats’ and were given permission to open fire with deck gun on the boats ( the superior officers werent told of their location).
              Thats when they shot down the airliner as well, all while inside Irans territorial waters – long denied by US and only confirmed by Admiral Crowe many years later.
              When they re-ran the radar tapes from the Aegis system, they couldnt find any ‘diving plane’ as The CO claimed.

            • Pink David

               /  7th January 2020

              Like I said, he should have lost his command. He went chasing with an air defense cruiser, when he had a frigate in position to do so, and a frigate is better suited to that job while the Vincennes stayed on over watch. The Vincennes was designed to protect battle groups, not do gun boat patrols.

              Vincennes had also been ordered to return to that over watch station.

              “When they re-ran the radar tapes from the Aegis system, they couldnt find any ‘diving plane’ as The CO claimed.”

              The Captain, and his bridge crew, were target fixated and cognitively tunneled. They had a very poor idea what was actually going on and made a lot of bad decision.

    • Corky

       /  6th January 2020

      What about his election chances?

      Reply
      • Art Croft

         /  6th January 2020

        If the US has to put troops back on the ground in Iraq and they start coming home in body bags, Trump is toast.

        Reply
    • David

       /  6th January 2020

      Hardly, impeachment has seen record financial contributions and an uptick in his popularity.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  6th January 2020

        Dems combined have raised more than Trump , its something top 2 Dems for 1 Trump as far as fund raising totals . Then there is Bloomberg who is spending his own money 3x faster than Trump is raising it

        Reply
  2. ArtCroft

     /  6th January 2020

    If the US has to send in troops on the ground and they start returning in body bags, Trump is toast.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  6th January 2020

      Sorry. computer probs today.

      Reply
      • David

         /  6th January 2020

        Trump is doing the exact opposite by taking out strategically key and top people in a way that is terrifying for them he is more likely to change behaviour. Iran last year pushed and pushed, think oil tankers the attack on the Auadi oil fields etc etc and now they have learnt a valuable lesson.

        Reply
        • “taking out strategically key and top people”

          “and now they have learnt a valuable lesson”

          But they may see it more in their interests to leave Trump as the top US person.

          Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th January 2020

      I don’t think they have any plans to put huge numbers of troops on the ground in either Iraq or Iran. Their whole defence strategy seems to be based on economic warfare, stealth & stand-off precision attacks on leaders & decision-makers, command & control systems, & vital infrastructure. Then wait for peace feelers. That’s if they have a plan. This seems to have caught the Pentagon & State Department on the hop. They presented Trump with a menu of options & he picked one they weren’t seriously expecting.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  6th January 2020

        “They presented Trump with a menu of options & he picked one they weren’t seriously expecting.”

        They are clearly morons if that is true. You never put an option on the table you don’t want or are not prepared for.

        I very much doubt this is actually the truth.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  6th January 2020

          this General and other prominent Iranians including scientists have been U.S and Mossad targets for years.

          Its not a new initiative.

          Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  6th January 2020

    Had to re-post this quote “Every week of Trump’s presidency is Christmas for Putin”.

    Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  6th January 2020

    While many Iraqis celebrated parliament’s move, others were not pleased with the resolution.

    Sarkawt Shams, a member of the Kurdish Future bloc in parliament said Abdel Mahdi had deflected responsibility by asking parliament to vote on US presence, adding that many Iraqis were supportive of the motion.

    “How can such a sensitive issue be issue be passed onto parliament with half of the country, including Kurds and Sunnis, not wanting this,” Shams told Al Jazeera.

    Many Sunni and and Kurdish parliamentarians boycotted Sunday’s session.

    “US troops have been in Iraq at the request of the government. Even though the US has breached this deal, the issue should be resolved through government negotiations, not through parliament,” he said.

    Ali Muqtadad, a 24-year-old university student told Al Jazeera: “We don’t want US troops to leave Iraq. That will only leave a security vacuum and will allow Iran to have increased influence in Iraq which is much more dangerous than US presence.

    According to Renad Mansour, head of the Iraq Initiative at Chatham House, the resolution to expel US troops in Iraq was a “politicisation of the response” to the killing of Soleimani and Muhandis.

    “Before the strike the Iraqi public wasn’t vocally anti-American, but pro-Iranian groups have for years tried to expel US troops.

    “This attack has revived anti-Americanism among some Iraqis and given those pro-Iran elements a louder voice in trying to pursue something they were trying to do.”

    -Al Jazeera

    It’s a non-binding vote by predominantly Shiite MPs which is not supported by Kurdish & Sunni MPs, most of whom boycotted the session, to an interim Government with limited legislative powers which has not even been able to pass its own budget, according to Al Jazeera reporting.

    They say the US military (unsurprisingly) says has stopped all anti-IS activity & Iraqi security force training to focus solely on defending its bases in Iraq, which the Iraqi security forces look unlikely to be able (or trusted) to do.

    They also report that Pompeo has been appearing on all the main Talk Shows justifying the assassination decision and that he has said they will target Iranian decision-makers if there is any retaliation.

    I don’t see how the US can work through a political & diplomatic solution to the question of whether they should remain in Iraq & wouldn’t be too surprised if they decide to just pull out of there, before it descends into another chaotic ME failed state civil war.

    Iran has announced it has now abandoned all uranium enrichment limits on its nuclear programme but this can be reversed & that it remains open to negotiation with European signatories for lifting of sanctions (that will allow it to trade its oil). These guys are either living in an alternate reality where they think that’s possible – or they are desperately signalling behind their hands to the US that they want to negotiate.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  6th January 2020

      Kim will be thinking “I really need that ICBM so I can hit the continental USA and I need it now”.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th January 2020

        Or he will thinking: Fark!

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  6th January 2020

          The Iranians won’t want to negotiate with the US they know the Conservative/Israeli/Saudi alliance need a bad guy and Iran is it. They are tying to keep the EU firmly neutral but leaning Iranian.

          Reply
      • Duker

         /  6th January 2020

        North Koreas furthermost distance reached was 600miles, and that one broke up on re-entry.
        A weapon payload means less distance travelled
        Experts who know the details say the claims about ‘projections they can reach US – 8000km, are exaggerated, but click bait stories work when they are exaggerated

        Reply
    • David

       /  6th January 2020

      Thanks Gezza, interesting background and thoughts

      Reply
    • Interesting comments Gezza. Thanks for the effort.

      Prime Minister Adil Abdulmahdi, former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and other high-ranking Iraqi politicians attended the funeral ceremonies for Iranian Soleimani and Iraqi al-Muhandis.

      So if anyone was wondering where the Iraqi political elite stands with regard to siding with Trump or with Iran, that’s a pretty dramatic answer.

      As for the masses, over 100,000 Iraqis have filled Baghdad’s streets to protest the assassinations, which would make it among the biggest demonstrations in Iraq since 1958. Amid the crowd, there were not only Iraqi flags but also Iranian ones. Iraqis are extremely nationalistic, so it’s a very unusual signal of solidarity with Iran.

      Reply
  5. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th January 2020

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/118597877/winston-peters-calls-for-calm-following-the-death-of-major-general-qasem-soleimani

      I think that’s about as much as can be expected by way of a response from NZ. We are irrelevant to this situation. Trump is unconcerned about whatever any other countries think.

      He is concerned about himself & the USA; & he believes the US can take on any country & win. Other countries can either support him or be ignored. At least, that has been his overall approach to foreign policy to date.

      He’s impetuous but he’s gambling that the other guy will blink first because the US can do far more damage & destruction to Iran than Iran can to the US. The problem is he’s dealing with religious fanatics who may seriously think Allah will help them win, in a region full of potentially suicidal religious fanatics who welcome martyrdom, both Sunni & Shiia, not all of whom are necessarily under anyone’s control.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  6th January 2020

        And who says the battle field must remain in the East? A call to arms against Israel and the West will have Muslim nut jobs hitting our streets to extract revenge. We could be talking major damage here. Don’t forget new Jihad recruits who will be shown how The Great Satan kills innocent Iranian generals.

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  6th January 2020

        Iran can do a lot of damage to the ‘friends’ of the U.S in the M.E and they know…it.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  6th January 2020

          Trump probably wouldn’t care; they are not the US. Israel is backing Trump. Israel will likely have a role in any attack on Iran, or dealing with any Hesbollah attacks. Their military high command is most likely already linked in to the Pentagon.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  6th January 2020

            Fire will rain in Tel Aviv and Riyahd ….for sure.

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  7th January 2020

              “Fire will rain in Tel Aviv and Riyahd ….for sure.”

              How much of a wager do you want to make on that?

            • Blazer

               /  7th January 2020

              take it to the bank…action/reaction…make the Iraqui war look like playschool.

    • David

       /  6th January 2020

      Felix who ? Imminent threat and the obligation to consult Congress both done. Felix should get back to conveyancing.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  7th January 2020

        ‘Felix’ won big payouts for Hager from the cops who apparently didnt know that the law was changed 10 years ago giving protections to journalist ‘sources’

        Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  6th January 2020

    Reply
  7. David

     /  6th January 2020

    When Obama took out terrorists it made the world safer apparently because his announcements were more urbane and sophisticated but when Trump says it in his blunt fashion and promises more to come if nutters dont change their behaviour we are at the beginning of WW3.
    Still waiting on the retaliation and chaos from Baghdadi being taken out, removal of troops from Kurdish territory, the blow back from bombing Assad after he used chemical weapons, Russian adventurism in its near states…on and on the media and commentariat have worked themselves into a frenzy and frankly look ridiculous.
    Trump continues to scare the bejeezus out of bad people who wearily look to the skies and no doubt are thinking a quiet life in a secluded cave/compound and keep ones head down until there is a regime change in the US might be the plan.
    I will put money on Iran not directly responding in any meaningful way against any US asset or person…because who wants to give that order. This is a regime that murdered 1500 of its citizens last year who were part of a nationwide protest against them.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  6th January 2020

      And Obama made treaties that kept the world safer. Treaties that all experts acknowledge Iran kept.

      Reply
    • “When Obama took out terrorists…” is a false equivalence.

      The thing that hasn’t fully penetrated for people is that Soleimani was part of the state and held an important position in the Iranian government.

      But there’s another thing that hasn’t fully penetrated, if at all. The other person that U.S. officials celebrated killing in that same strike held a senior position in another state’s government: Iraq.

      What’s more, the members of the Iranian-backed militia group that the U.S. killed a few days earlier—an action that triggered the storming of the U.S. embassy—were also part of the Iraqi military forces.

      As such, the United States has not only launched an armed attack on Iran, but in effect it has also attacked the Republic of Iraq—twice in five days.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  6th January 2020

        “The thing that hasn’t fully penetrated for people is that Soleimani was part of the state and held an important position in the Iranian government.”

        Your right. Obama only assassinated people who didn’t matter. That was much more moral.

        “As such, the United States has not only launched an armed attack on Iran, but in effect it has also attacked the Republic of Iraq”

        Who were working in concert with Iranian forces against the US.

        Reply
        • I don’t know how you get off putting words in other people’s mouths with your petty tribalism over national interest – but I didn’t raise the question of relative morality. Obama’s policies in the Middle East were just as corrupt and just as ineffective as Trump’s are. And that is true of every Western country that has tried to impose itself on the region.

          The point that I made and you ignore is that to there is a world of difference between the social position of a terrorist and the social position of a senior leader who represents a government.

          We see the two as the same, embodied in Soleimani and al-Muhandis, but the people of Iran and Iraq don’t. What they see are attacks on revered people in their sovereign nations. And right now that’s uniting “them” against “us” and escalating tensions. How is that a good thing?

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  6th January 2020

            “The point that I made and you ignore is that to there is a world of difference between the social position of a terrorist and the social position of a senior leader who represents a government.”

            I didn’t ignore it. The importance of it is that being a ‘government representative’ is not any protection from a direct strike. I cheer that.

            “And right now that’s uniting “them” against “us” and escalating tensions.”

            That is not what is happening. Time will be the judge, but I believe this has been a masterstroke. The reaction to this one has been very subdued. Just a bit of protest and a few flag burned. Compare to the reaction to, say, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

            Reply
    • Blazer

       /  6th January 2020

      love this term…’bad people’….keep forgetting why exactly the U.S is involved in the ME….any ideas?

      Reply
  8. Gezza

     /  6th January 2020

    Six Katyusha rockets fell in Baghdad, including three inside the capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone housing government buildings and foreign missions, the Iraqi military said.

    The three other rockets fell in the nearby Jadriya area, the military’s statement said on Sunday.

    Police sources said six people were wounded in the attacks.

    Witnesses told AFP news agency two rockets hit near the US embassy in Iraq’s capital hours after the ambassador was summoned over the US attack that killed Qassem Soleimani on Friday.

    Sunday’s attack was the second night in a row that the Green Zone was hit and the 14th time over the last two months that US installations have been targeted.

    A third rocket simultaneously hit a family home outside the Green Zone, wounding four, medical sources told AFP.

    More to follow
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/rockets-target-baghdad-green-zone-successive-night-200105205154964.html

    The biggest problem is likely to be radical anti-US militias or individuals who aren’t under anyone’s control. If this report is accurate, these rockets don’t seem to be very accurate & it’s only a matter of time before they hit the US Embassy. It’s looking distinctly possible Trump will actually order an attack on Iran & worry about Congress afterwards.

    Reply
  9. “In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him — which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq — on the menu they presented to President Trump.

    They didn’t think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.

    After initially rejecting the Suleimani option on Dec. 28 and authorizing airstrikes on an Iranian-backed Shiite militia group instead, a few days later Mr. Trump watched, fuming, as television reports showed Iranian-backed attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad, according to Defense Department and administration officials.

    By late Thursday, the president had gone for the extreme option. Top Pentagon officials were stunned.”

    This is shockingly, cynically irresponsible, regardless of who is president: “Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.”

    But it is even more indefensible given Trump’s recent pardoning of war criminals and vilifying the military investigations into their war crimes.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  6th January 2020

      “Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.”

      Trumpy is a ‘can-do, will-do,’ President, CMI. That Pentagon Officials don’t known their Commander In Chief’s temperament is something I find astounding.

      Incidentally, I think this assassination was the right thing to do.No one ever won a battle by trying to reason with a bully.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  6th January 2020

        Can do , will do ?
        As usual you ignore all the flip flops he does.
        Remember when he cancelled the US air strikes after he approved them when the $90 mill drone was shot down.

        Remember the government shutdown last year which Trump eventually folded
        Rememember the flip flops over North Korea , he was threatning fire and destruction there too.
        Remember the China Trade deals that are supposed to happen , and havent yet , the tariffs threatened , some of which were applied and others which were pulled back.

        Its definitely NOT a can do will do.

        Reply
      • I’ll go with Pete Buttigieg’s response:

        “let’s be clear – Qassem Suleimani was a bad figure. He has American blood on his hands. None of us should shed a tear for his death. But just because he deserved it doesn’t mean it was the right strategic move. This is about consequences.”

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  6th January 2020

        ahem…the U.S is regarded as the biggest BULLY in the world!

        Reply
    • Pink David

       /  6th January 2020

      “By late Thursday, the president had gone for the extreme option. Top Pentagon officials were stunned.””

      I wonder who these ‘top officials’ are. They are clearly people with no military experience.

      “Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable.”

      That’s a rather amateurish attempt at manipulation. ‘Pentagon officials’, whoever they are, are, clearly, not selected from the biggest brains.

      Given the success of the attack, I very much doubt this was the option the military wasn’t ready for. I strongly suspect this was them delivering on option to meet Trump’s policy.

      “But it is even more indefensible given Trump’s recent pardoning of war criminals and vilifying the military investigations into their war crimes.”

      You really are not understanding this at all are you.

      Reply
    • David

       /  6th January 2020

      NY Times, anonymous sources, give me a break. Doubt they talked to anyone beyond someone who has a cousin who,s wife used to work in the cafeteria and heard from one of her friends who does the cleaning that they arnt sure what went on but guess that orange man bad…in fact it might not be the Pentagon they worked in it might have been the department that looks after fish and game.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  6th January 2020

        Try again …the ‘anonymous source is Jared Kushner’ if you care to think about someone who has been there from Day 1.
        hes probably been tight with the Sulzbergers long before he married into Trump family and then became a secret source
        AG Sulzberger publisher is 39 , Kushner is 38 and long time supporter of Democrats before his father in law became President

        Reply
        • David

           /  6th January 2020

          So you believe a Mr Kushner and a Mr Sulzberger would be of a mind to quietly undermine the taking out of a terrorist who personally oversees the mass arming of Hezbollah by leaking to a newspaper with a history of antisemitism. Interesting.

          Reply
          • Duke

             /  7th January 2020

            He wasnt a terrorist to take on military forces…by definition.
            Blow up a US Marine barracks – not terrorism
            Bomb an Iranian base- not terrorism

            You are making stuff up , Sulzbergers are jewish faith and ancestry too. Not undermining at all, just telling it like it is …thats what newspapers do

            Previous Sulzbergers who were ‘reform judaism’ were outspoken anti – zionists, as a lot of Israelis are
            https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-sulzberger-family-a-complicated-jewish-legacy-at-the-new-york-times/

            Iranian issues doesnt mean Jews must follow Netanyahus policy at all.

            Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th January 2020

      Are you seriously offering NYT as an unbiased reporter of WH decision-making?

      Reply
  10. lurcher1948

     /  6th January 2020

    Stock up with tinned food, water and cash money and all means of survival,as orange man Potus 45 donald trump is waging war by twitter….amagine your children dying because trumps approaching dementia and/ or strokes or a heart attack and wants to gain brownie points with the Christian evangelicals and god

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  6th January 2020

      I thought it was the Iranians wanted to get brownie points with God? They are a theocracy after all.

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  6th January 2020

      It will be a surgical strike, Lurchy. Iran will be obliterated. I personally think Israel should join in if talk turns to action. This, for Israel, would be a good time to get rid of a hate-filled neighbour.

      Now, if China and Russia intervene, then yes, pack your chutney and crackers, put RED down and pack a spare pair of choppers ( not chompers). Don’t forget your colloidal Sliver. No antibiotics in the field.

      Reply
  11. Gezza

     /  6th January 2020

    President Donald Trump threatened Sunday to slap sanctions on Iraq after its parliament passed a resolution calling for the government to expel foreign troops from the country.

    Tensions in the Middle East spiraled last week after Trump called for a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.

    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.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/06/trump-threatens-to-slap-sanctions-on-iraq-like-theyve-never-seen-before.html

    This is getting crazier & more dangerous by the hour.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  6th January 2020

      Baghdad airport/base was built in Saddams time and before. Anything the Yanks ‘built’ was because the wrecked it during the war.
      Hes truly madder than mad like when he floated the idea of buying Greenland

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th January 2020

      Why is it crazier than pretending Iraq is a valuable US ally? If they want to side with Iran treat them like Iran. No need whatever to let them have their cake and eat it.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th January 2020

        What’s crazy is Trump saying they won’t leave unless the Iraqis pay them for the air base. They don’t even have a functioning government, Alan. I dunno how realistic it is to try & sit it out in a country with a factional, religiously & ethnically split, simmering & resentful population, perhaps the majority of which now doesn’t want Americans there.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  6th January 2020

          True, chances of getting paid for that are not great, especially as the US is now an exporter rather than importer of oil. Still it doesn’t hurt to throw a few knobbly bargaining chips on the table.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  6th January 2020

            Possibly one of the biggest worries for senior Iraqi politicians will be who is most likely to assassinate them now for whichever way they turn.

            Reply
          • duperez

             /  6th January 2020

            They’ll probably get paid for the airbase the week after Mexico pays for the wall. 🙃

            Reply
          • Blazer

             /  6th January 2020

            U.S has been exporting oil for decades.

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  6th January 2020

              The US has become a net energy exporter again, the produce more than they consume. That is a massive shift in the last decade.

              Given any treat of middle east war usually sends the oil price skyrocketing, it’s interesting this time it has barely blipped.

            • Duker

               /  7th January 2020

              Some are confused by the phrase ‘net energy’
              It doesnt mean crude oil only , which The US still imports , while it exports oil as well. While ‘oil products’ is now net exporter, doesnt mean oil products still come in too.
              They export electricity, coal, natural gas as part of the word ‘energy’;
              Coal is 116 mill tones per year and Electricity goes to Canada and Mexico and of course they import electricity from Canada too – its different supply demand in different areas. Same with natural gas

  12. duperez

     /  6th January 2020

    The Iranians could attack the POTUS using very sophisticated strategies which he would see as extremely significant and damaging.

    Like using todays NY Times photo and saying how many more are at the funeral procession than there were at a certain inauguration in January 2017.

    Reply
  13. Gezza

     /  7th January 2020

    NATO stands with US after Soleimani assassination and warns Iran
    Head of military alliance says new conflict would be in ‘no one’s interest’ as US-Iran tensions peak.

    All members of the Atlantic alliance stood behind the United States in the Middle East after it briefed NATO on its drone attack that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

    Speaking after a rare NATO meeting on Iran and Iraq in which the United States briefed its allies about last Friday’s drone attack, Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation of tensions, echoing the statements of some European leaders.

    “We are united in condemning Iran’s support of a variety of different terrorist groups,” Stoltenberg said. “At the meeting today, allies called for restraint and de-escalation. A new conflict would be in no one’s interest. So, Iran must refrain from further violence and provocations.”

    Despite anger last year among European NATO allies over US strategy in the Middle East under President Donald Trump, two diplomats present confirmed that the two-hour meeting at NATO headquarters went smoothly.

    They said that no envoy challenged US State Department and Department of Defense officials, who briefed via video conference, over the merits of Friday’s drone raid.

    There was also no discussion or criticism of Trump’s list of targets, that include cultural sites, if Iran were to retaliate with attacks on Americans or US assets, the diplomats said.

    While there was concern that the killing of Iran’s second-most powerful man could trigger a conflagration in the Middle East, France, Germany and others said they wanted the Iraq mission to continue.

    “It would send the wrong signal if we withdraw”, one NATO diplomat said.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/nato-stands-soleimani-assassination-warns-iran-200106173245219.html

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th January 2020

      Its the US who are trying to stuff Trumps actual words back in his mouth
      “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, though, insisted Sunday on Fox News, “As for these critiques, President Trump didn’t say he’d go after a cultural site. Read what he said very closely.” hmmm but he did say …
      “, some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

      “The Geneva Conventions ( Protocol I) say, “Making the clearly-recognized historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples … the object of attack” is a war crime. And the U.S. War Crimes Act makes officials who commit this war crime by targeting Iranian cultural sites liable for war crimes themselves. ”
      https://www.dailykos.com/

      Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions hasnt been ratified by US or Iran however
      Art 53. Protection of cultural objects and of places of worship
      Without prejudice to the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 14 May 1954, and of other relevant international instruments, it is prohibited:
      (a) to commit any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples;
      (b) to use such objects in support of the military effort;
      (c) to make such objects the object of reprisals.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  7th January 2020

        Al Jazeera tv not long ago reported as breaking news that the Gen Seely US Military has informed the Iraqi Defense Ministry by letter that the US is repositioning its forces & preparing to move out of Iraq, out of respect for Iraqi sovereignty. This development is getting picked up by numerous other outlets.

        Dunno if its true or fake news yet.

        https://thedefensepost.com/2020/01/06/isis-us-coalition-leave-iraq-cjtfoir/

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  7th January 2020

          Well, progress eh? The USA is out to ‘respect the sovereignty of other countries.’

          Is saying you’re going to respect the sovereignty of other countries the same as ensuring that everything you do respects the sovereignty of other countries?

          Dunno if it’s true or fake news yet? If the TAB ran a book on it what would be the odds on which?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  7th January 2020

            An unsigned letter, for something as critically important as this? Authenticity confirmed by unnamed Iraqi military sources? The odds are high it’s a fake, I would think.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  7th January 2020

            Story in link above:
            “This story was updated on January 6, 2020 at 2117 to reflect comments from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.”

            Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th January 2020

          Now AlJazeera is reporting that the US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has just told reporters the US has no intention of withdrawing from Iraq.

          The original reports seemed to be mostly citing reuters or a WaPo journo who posted a copy of the (unsigned) letter on Twitter. And they were citing Iraqi sources as having confirmed it was genuine.

          Confusion reigns.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  7th January 2020

            But US secretary of defense Mark Esper says “there’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq.”

            “”We are re-positioning forces throughout the region number one. Beyond that with regard to the letter which I’ve read once.

            “I can’t tell you the veracity of that letter and I can tell you what I’ve read. That letter is inconsistent of where we are right now.”

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/118626130/usled-coalition-reposition-iraq-troops-in-onward-movement-hints-withdrawal

            If it’s not a fake it’s a pretty major screw up in US military internal comms. One I find difficult to believe they’d make.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  7th January 2020

              Aljaz tvupdate: Pentagon officials say the unsigned letter was a poorly-worded draft that was never meant to go out & was intended for troop movement coordination purposes, which somehow made its way to Iraqi officials & media. Mark Esper has stated that withdrawal of their forces from Iraq is NOT US official policy.

            • Blazer

               /  7th January 2020

              it’ll be those pesky…’junior staffers’again.

              Over paid incompetents that they…are.

            • Duker

               /  7th January 2020

              Esper has had to say that bombing of Cultural sites isnt official policy either.
              Apparently the US is in complete confusion and run by morons, as stuff you couldnt make up is spouted up the way up to the White House itself

  14. Duker

     /  7th January 2020

    Reply
  15. duperez

     /  7th January 2020

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  7th January 2020

      You have it bad, don’t you, Dupez. Personally I’d let the fat lady fall of the stage before I started having some fun..

      Reply
  16. Zedd

     /  8th January 2020

    This whole issue, just confirms that MrT does live on ‘Fantasy Island’
    More of his rhetorical B/S about ‘MAGA’ & the usual nonsense about USA is the best, most amazing, tremendous, fantastic, spectacular etc. etc. at everything & anyone who opposes HIS agenda, (world domination ?) is either a Terrorist or a threat to ‘their interests’ & should be Terminated

    Perhaps he should be reminded; even the biggest schoolyard bully can get a bloody nose, if those who suffer the bullying, gang up on him ! :/

    Oh dear.. how sad… 😦

    Reply

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