Biden goes rogue and strikes facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups
ALASKA: The Biden administration unleashed a second attack on Iraq last weekend killing civilians in a town without any military target value. This is the first time since May 2020 that the US has attacked Iraqi territory.
Details are emerging on the overnight US attacks against the border area of Iraq and Syria. One of the strikes, hitting al-Bukamal, the main border crossing city in Syria leading to Iraq, hit a residential area, killing one child, and wounding three civilians. There is no explanation as to why the US thought this residential area was a military target, though US officials maintain that the strikes were valid as “self-defense.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby saying the US
“conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.
The US strikes were meant to target Iraqi Shi’ite militia, Ketaib Hezbollah, under the assumption that the group is an “Iranian-backed militia.” The militia, and other allied Iraqi militias, are now threatening retaliation. This militia did not claim responsibility for attacking US forces.
Shortly following the airstrikes on Sunday, Sayyid al-Shuhada, one of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias targeted, issued a statement vowing “open war” against US forces in Iraq.
The Pentagon’s statement on the US attack claimed the two strikes in Syria hit “weapons storage facilities.” This is clearly not the case since the missiles hit a civilian home in a relatively small city.
“Iraq’s Prime Minister Kadhimi has long sought close ties with the US, but was very public in his criticism of the new US attacks.”
Shortly after the strikes occurred, Maj. Gen. Yehia Rasool, a military spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, called the strikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Glenn Greenwald writing:
Beyond the propagandistic justification is the question of legality, though even to call it a question dignifies it beyond what it merits. There is no conceivable Congressional authorization — none, zero — to Biden’s dropping of bombs in Syria. Obama’s deployment of CIA operatives to Syria and years of the use of force to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad never had any Congressional approval of any kind, nor did Trump’s bombing of Assad’s forces (urged by Hillary Clinton, who wanted more), nor does Biden’s bombing campaign in Syria now. It was and is purely lawless, illegal. And the same is true of bombing Iraq. The 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq, which the House just last week voted to repeal, has long since ceased to provide any legal justification for ongoing U.S. troop presence and bombing campaigns in that country.
According to Al Jazeera, thousands of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) members held a demonstration and symbolic funeral Tuesday, June 28, for members who were killed in the US airstrikes. The demonstrators massed near the “Green Zone” in Baghdad chanting “death to America” and “vengeance for the martyrs.”
Ahmad al-Maqsusi, a commander in the al-Shuhada militia, said during the Baghdad demonstration that
“…it was time for US troops to leave the country. Since the parliament passed a resolution the presence of foreign troops in the country is unlawful.”
Military-Industrial Complex Players
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, briefed Mr. Biden on attack options early last week, after which Mr. Biden approved striking the three targets, according to the New York Times. General Austin’s former colleagues on the Raytheon Board of Directors, as well as his friends on the Boards of General Dynamics and Boeing, would certainly agree with the strategy of the present Defense Secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Significant strides had been made for a pivot toward peaceful co-existence in the Middle East with cooperation from the Gulf states, Israel, and Iraq under then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In fact, on Tuesday, June 28, 2021, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid flew to the United Arab Emirates to inaugurate the first Israeli embassy in the Gulf Arab states.
President Trump planned to remove all US forces from Iraq and Syria
However, the President met resistance from the Pentagon that refused to comply with his order. We still have US forces in Iraq and Syria. Yet now the USA supposedly needs to bomb Iraqis to “defend the US Forces that are still in Iraq”.
Only the weapons manufacturers are benefitting from these decisions.
The current American and Iranian governments seemed determined to ramp up provocations, incendiary speeches, and military actions designed to provoke and escalate tensions in the region again.
Biden being pressured to lift sanctions
On Tuesday, June 28 United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Biden administration to lift sanctions on Iran as stipulated by the 2015 nuclear accord signed between Iran and a number of world powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The IAEA, a global nuclear watchdog reports that Iran has already increased production of uranium in the past six months although the exact amount is still not known.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, parliament speaker Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf, and incoming Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi have said that Iran “seeks sanctions relief without delay.” Is this a sign of consensus at the highest levels that Iran is willing to restore constraints on its nuclear activities to counter the staggering economic losses it has experienced since the sanctions implemented under the Trump administration?
However, Iran has been reticent to move too quickly, lest it appears overeager or desperate to negotiate.
The talks between the United States and Iran have been indirect at Iran’s request.
This has added significant delays. However, Tehran appears to have decided that a drawn-out negotiating process is a small price to pay in order to signal continued frustration with Washington’s withdrawal from the deal in 2019, and to demonstrate that the deal is not a “revolving door.”
Iran’s hardline negotiating demands help move the Biden administration further toward its position, for example, by removing more sanctions. Tehran appears to be in no hurry to re-enter the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Attack and counter attacks
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that Joe Biden is
“Fully prepared to act and act appropriately and deliberately to protect U.S. interests, if Iran-backed militias continued to attack US forces in the region”.
It is not known which (if any) of the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria actually “attacked” US interests which included an oil field site the US calls “Green Village”.
Either the U.S. or Iran capitulates and ceases the attacks and counter-attacks, or Iraq gains enough control and power to deter other nations from using Iraq as their game board. Meanwhile, Israel with its new, loosely created government, is watching all the players intently.
Some observers speculate the strikes indicate the U.S. is preparing for a protracted presence in Iraq. Iran and their new hardline President Ibrahim Raisi, and the ever-present Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, will fiercely guard their borders and influence their closest neighbors.
It is important to note the Biden administration justified the strikes through the president’s constitutional powers – not the congressional authorizations the legislature is now reviewing. (Biden’s Lawless Bombing of Iraq and Syria Only Serves the Weapons Industry Funding Both Parties)
Temperatures continue to rise on all sides.
About the Author:
Joanne Patti Munisteri lives a ‘different’ life that has taken her around the world. She works as a contractor in the fields of education, health, monitoring and evaluation, research, analysis and training. Joanne is a certified Combat Analyst and Social Scientist. She was part of the Human Terrain System (HTS) with the US Army, training at Ft. Leavenworth. Joanne continues to be rostered on the US Department of State Specialist programs. Her non-fiction book, “Traveling Off the X” will be published by Defiance Press in October 2021.
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