Category Archives: Iraq

Iran-Backed Militias Continue Attacks on U.S. Outposts in Iraq

U.S. Army helicopter crew members look out of their Chinook helicopter as they fly from the U.S. Embassy to Baghdad International airport

Iran-backed militias continue to wage attacks on American outposts in Iraq, according to senior U.S. officials.

James Jeffrey, the Trump administration’s special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, said the United States continues to experience targeted strikes by Iran-backed militia groups seeking to foment unrest in Iraq.

In the weeks since U.S. forces killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Iran-backed militants have scaled down their attacks but continue to launch strikes at U.S. positions in the war-torn country, Jeffrey told reporters in a briefing.

“In terms of attacks, we’ve seen a few shellings of coalition—or bases where coalition forces are located,” Jeffrey said on Thursday. “Other than several at the American embassy compound a couple of days ago, they have been intermittent, the kind of thing that we have—or all been used to in our years in Iraq. Nothing like the very targeted, precise, 30-plus rocket attacks we were seeing in those 11 incidents that led up to our response last month, so—this month. So—well, last month and this month. But so for the moment, that front is fairly quiet.”

Asked if these attacks have been orchestrated by Iran, Jeffrey told reporters, “We think so.”

The United States, while still engaged in the fight to defeat the ISIS terror group in Iraq, remains primarily focused on protecting American forces in the region from retaliatory strikes by Iran.

“The focus of our forces right now is force protection,” Jeffrey said. “They suffered first 11 quite serious attacks from Iranian-supported militias, who are by and large parts of the Iraqi security system, then the assault on the embassy, then the two Iranian long-range intermediate missile strikes on our forces in Erbil and Ayn al-Asad. So in a situation like that, obviously, the commanders are going to focus, as they have so successfully, on force protection. And as the threat diminishes, they’ll review that.”

In addition to the threat posed by Iran, U.S. officials remain concerned ISIS could bounce back following major territorial defeats in the past year.

“The risk of the resurgence of ISIS is a very big problem,” Jeffrey said. “We have emphasized that ever since the physical caliphate was defeated along the Euphrates in March of last year. We are very concerned about the number of forces there and how they coordinate among each other. The Iraqis are concerned about that. Our SDF partners in northeast Syria are concerned about that. The Turks are concerned about that because they now have forces in the northeast. Everyone is looking into this and watching it closely.”

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Iranian Lawmaker Places $3 Million Bounty on President Trump

An Iranian lawmaker has reportedly placed a $3-million bounty on President Donald Trump’s head for the killing of Quds force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. “On behalf of the people of Kerman province, we will pay a $3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump,” lawmaker Ahmad Hamzeh told the 290-seat Iranian parliament, Reuters reported,…

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Two Iraqi Policemen, Two Protesters Killed as Anti-Government Unrest Resumes

An Iraqi demonstrator walks next to burning tires blocking a road, during ongoing anti-government protests, in Kerbala

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Four Iraqis including two police officers were killed and scores were wounded in Baghdad and other cities on Monday in clashes with security forces, medical and security sources said, as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.

Two protesters succumbed to their wounds in a Baghdad hospital after police fired live rounds of ammunition in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square, security and medical sources said. One protester was shot by a live bullet in the head, while the second was hit by a tear gas canister, the sources added.

Protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, Reuters witnesses said.

“They (security forces) should stop shooting and aiming, who are they and who are we? Both sides are Iraqis. So why are you killing your brothers?” said one woman protester in Baghdad who declined to give her name.

In the Iraqi oil city of Basra, two policemen were struck and killed by a civilian car during the protest, security sources said. The driver was trying to avoid the scene of clashes between protesters and security forces when he drove into the two officers, they said.

Elsewhere in southern Iraq, hundreds of protesters burned tires and blocked main roads in several cities, including Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara. They say Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not fulfilled promises including naming a new government acceptable to Iraqis.

Baghdad police said its forces had reopened all roads that were closed by “violent gatherings”. It said 14 officers were wounded near Tahrir square, including some with head wounds and broken bones.

Traffic was disrupted on a highway linking Baghdad to southern cities, a Reuters witness said. Production in southern oilfields was unaffected by the unrest, oil officials said.

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and as keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.

Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed last week as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a U.S.-Iran conflict following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.

The killing of Qassem Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops, has highlighted the influence of some foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.

(Reporting by Iraq staff; Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Janet Lawrence, William Maclean)

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Exclusive — Mike Pence Explains ‘Trump Doctrine’: ‘He Leads from a Standpoint of Strength’

Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that through a variety of actions as U.S. commander-in-chief and leader of the free world, President Donald Trump has demonstrated that he “leads from a standpoint of strength.”

Pentagon: 11 U.S. Troops Flown out of Iraq with Concussion Symptoms After Iranian Attack

The Pentagon’s Central Command confirmed late Thursday that 11 American troops showed symptoms of concussions strong enough to be flown out of Iraq following an Iranian ballistic missile attack that President Donald Trump claimed left no casualties. Iranian state media claimed the regime’s attack killed 80 Americans.

Did Trudeau Just Say He Expects the US To Pay Families Who Lost Loved Ones to Iran’s Plane Attack?

It’s difficult to imagine the death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the subsequent shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 ever being blamed on the president of the United States if the president of the United States wasn’t Donald Trump. Picture the situation in isolation, without any particulars: The United States makes a…

The post Did Trudeau Just Say He Expects the US To Pay Families Who Lost Loved Ones to Iran’s Plane Attack? appeared first on The Western Journal.

Iran Threatens ‘The American Soldier’ Today, ‘The European Soldier’ Tomorrow

NEW DELHI (AP) – Iran’s top diplomat acknowledged Wednesday that Iranians “were lied to” for days following the Islamic Republic accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing 176 people, as the country’s president warned that European soldiers in the Mideast “could be in danger” after three nations challenged Tehran over breaking limits of its nuclear deal.

Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar Help Promote Iranian Propaganda by Blaming Trump for Downed Passenger Jet

When Democrats really want to smear President Donald Trump, “The View” is the place to do it. The ABC daytime gabfest, starring a cast of virulently anti-Trump celebrities, has established itself as one of the most outspoken outposts of criticism for the administration on the media landscape — no mean feat in a landscape loaded…

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Lebanese Hezbollah Chief Demands Revenge for Qasem Soleimani

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, on Sunday called for attacks against American forces to avenge the death of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who he described as a friend to Shiite forces in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen as well as Lebanon.

Dem Sen. Murphy: Iraq’s Ambassador Described ‘What Seems to Be a Process’ to ‘Expel all American Forces from Iraq’

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) stated that during a phone conversation earlier that day with Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, the ambassador described what sounded like “a process being set in place to

Biden Adviser Blames Bush for Obama Troop Withdrawal, Rise of ISIS

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Campaigns In Las Vegas

A foreign policy adviser to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on Monday blamed former president George W. Bush for the Obama administration’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, which resulted in the rise of the Islamic State.

Tony Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, touted the former vice president’s role in overseeing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq as a success. CNN anchor Brianna Keilar challenged his argument, saying the withdrawal was responsible for the rise of ISIS. Blinken then attempted to blame the Bush administration for the decision to leave Iraq.

“Listen, I think it was a success in the sense that Iraq wanted its sovereignty back. That was the deal that President Bush had struck with Iraq. We made good on that commitment,” Blinken said. “Biden was the guy who worked to bring together a coalition of more than 65 countries to deal with ISIS. And we did it very successfully.”

“But the rise of ISIS is not seen as just Iraq’s fault. That is something that is widely perceived to have been a huge American misstep, but you’re touting it as a success,” Keilar said.

Blinken doubled down on blaming Bush for making an agreement to get all the troops out of Iraq and absolved Obama and Biden of the decision.

“Listen, as someone who was part of that effort, I can tell you, we worked it very, very, very hard. I was there a lot, the vice president was deeply engaged,” Blinken said. “We needed to make good on the commitments that President Bush had made and we continued to bring Americans home.”

The CNN anchor also asked Blinken whether Biden was misrepresenting his record on Iraq by saying he opposed the war despite voting to authorize military force.

“First of all, when Joe Biden and many other senators voted for the authorization to use military force, that was a vote for tough diplomacy, not to go to war,” Blinken said. He added that once troops were committed to battle it was important to Biden to support U.S. troops.

“I guess I don’t understand, then how is that not—how is he not misrepresenting his view, if he’s saying, basically, ‘It was from the beginning. It was from the start.’ Because it wasn’t,” Keilar said.

“From the start, he made clear his opposition of the way we went to war and the way it was being conducted,” Blinken said.

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