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JULY 2020

Elijah J. Magnier: “Iran upstages the US in Iraq”


Written by Elijah J. Magnier – @ejmalrai; Originally appeared at his blog

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is visiting Iraq for three days, leading a large political and business delegation to deepen the relationship between the two countries. Rouhani met with the Iraqi President, Prime Minister, and Speaker of Parliament. The Iranian President visited Karbalaa this afternoon, is spending the night in Najaf and will be visiting on Wednesday the highest religious authority (Marjaiya) in the city the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali al-Sistani, Sayyed Mohamad Saeed al-Hakeem, Sheikh Ishaq al-Fayyad and Sheikh Bashir al-Najafi. Rouhani’s public visit contrasts starkly with Trump’s recent covert visit to Iraq. Moreover, the projected economic and commercial cooperation between Iraq and Iran will not only mitigate US unilateral sanctions but will likely contribute to their failure. The bottom line question now arises: will Trump accept his loss to Iran or will he choose to lose Iraq as well by imposing sanctions on Mesopotamia?

Elijah J. Magnier: "Iran upstages the US in Iraq"

During the last week of 2018, President Trump’s plane turned off its lights to land safely in the US part of Ayn al-Assad base in Anbar province. Trump’s visit was kept secret and the Iraqi Prime Minister was informed on the same morning. Trump refused to land on the Iraqi side of the same base (Iraq and the US share the same military base with US forces holding full sovereignty over their area). For this reason, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, the Speaker Mohamad al-Halbousi and the President Barham Saleh refused to meet Trump, who stuck to his schedule and landed at night.

Trump concluded his visit in three hours and left under darkness of the night. He is reported to have murmured that it was not right that, for security reasons, the US president was forced to visit in secrecy in the middle of the night a country where the US has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in its stability.

On the other hand, Rouhani informed the Iraqi presidency of his visit a week in advance; the visit was publicly announced at the same time. Iraqi officials coordinated the schedule of the Iranian President’s trip with their Iranian counterparts. Rouhani is due to remain in Iraq for three days to conclude important economic-commercial deals, raising the level of commerce between the two countries to 20 billion dollars.

Elijah J. Magnier: "Iran upstages the US in Iraq"

The conclusion:

  1. Iran has prevailed over the US because the Iraqi officials have rejected any unilateral sanctions on Iran, insisting on commercial exchange, including energy supply and selling.
  2. Major General Qassem Soleimani achieved Iran’s goal of developing a friendly relationship with Iraq, where officials are ready to suspend relations with the US if Trump insists on imposing sanctions on any country dealing with Tehran. This achievement (and others) earned Soleimani Iran’s most prestigious medal of honour, “the order of Zulfiqar” awarded by Sayed Ali Khamenei. Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif was the first to congratulate Soleimani, describing him as “the man who made the Middle East a safer place”. It is Soleimani’s second medal; the first was “the order of Fath” received in 1989 from the same Khamenei.
  3. Iran will sell electricity to Iraq and will use dollars and the local currency in its exchange. The Islamic Republic has found new ways to counter the US sanctions by building industry infrastructure and railways, and by establishing large commercial exchanges with Iraq. This will bring more dollars to Iran and will, simultaneously, help the country rely less on US dollars by doing business in the local currency.

Trump’s foreign policy and sanctions around the world are forcing countries to find alternatives to the US monetary system and trade. Although so far with little impact, Europe is introducing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to support trade with Iran as an alternative to the US Swift global financial messaging service. China, Russia, India and many other countries dealing with Iran have agreed to carry on their exchanges mainly but not exclusively in local currency to bypass US sanctions.

Iraq today is divided between a large faction of politicians calling for the total withdrawal of US forces from the country, and another which wants to maintain a reduced US force in charge of training and intelligence exchange. Both factions want to see most US forces leave the country, and can likely reach an agreement on accepting a small specialised force on the ground. The Iraqi government would like to strike a balance and maintain both a fair relationship with the US and excellent ties with Iran.

Trump has two choices. He could choose to cut his relationship with Iraq, which would amount to shooting himself in the foot. The presence of US forces in Iraq is essential to US objectives and hegemony in the Middle East. Moreover, it is unclear for how long US forces will be able to occupy Syria. The alternative would be for Trump to accept the fact that his sanctions against Iran will fail as Iranian-Iraqi energy and commercial deals develop. In this case, the US President would be accepting the failure of his sanctions and his plan to change the Iranian regime “in a few months”.

Whatever he decides, Trump has lost: the US establishment failed in its attempt to damage Iran and either change its ruling system or bring the country to its knees. All Trump has accomplished is to put stress on the Iranian economy, bringing hardship to the population while forcing local officials to find new solutions, with the help of Iraq’s new leadership. The US failure to impose its proxies as rulers of Iraq helped Soleimani win his medal of honour.

Proof-read byC.B.



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  • AJ

    Syria was a US failure, regime changing Iran a failure, Venezuela looking like another failure – I thought Trump was tired of winning.

  • Tommy Jensen

    You guys have seen nothing yet. We Americans are winners and we always win and we will also win in Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan…………LOL.

    • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen
    • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen
    • VeeNarian (Yerevan)

      The Afghan war will be 18 soon. Old enough to vote, drive and go to war, if it was teenager.
      Gee, winning feels so good, eh?

      • verner

        sure and moronistan (aka usa) s trying the best it can to get out of afghanistan without it being too obvious it’s a defeat, a loss, similar to the one in vietnam in 1975. and that’s why they try to buy a peace, or what seemingly is a peace, with the talibans but the talibans know they have the morons over the barreland can demand whatever.the morons, like fatso and bedbugcrazy bolton like to pretend its a discussion but, rest assured it is not, it’s a defeat about to be signed and the morons will be on the way home to mum and apple pie and the essential question is how to get the stash of weapons back home and what to do about those gullible nato compradres back to whereever they came from.

    • grumpy_carpenter

      “You guys have seen nothing yet. We Americans are winners and we always win”

      Of course every American is a winner. This is the end product of being brought up in a culture where there are no losers, everybody gets a trophy and the most important part of every game is a healthy snack.

      Of course you’re winners in Afghanistan …. and every other foreign country you’re occupying for that matter …. even though you’ve been there 18 years at the cost of $trillions of taxpayer dollars and the Taliban control half the country despite not even having an air force or heavy weapons. ( funny how all the aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth aircraft in the world can’t buy you a win over tribesmen with grade 4 education wearing bed sheets and sandals) Every American soldier, every American officer and every American politician involved in this fiasco are winners …. they all get medals and call each other hero just like when they were kids.

      Yes sir even when you lose you’re winners …. stay classy USA.

      • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

        Well said!

      • Elisabeth Jenders

        See it this way:

        The US are second place in the winning chart, the others are second on the loser side.

        Still, the US are always first as far as killing, destruction, destabilization and burning of taxpayer dollars go.

      • Tommy Jensen

        Your idea of winning is the illusion of the sheeple. Wall Street dont look at winning over tribesmen in sandals. They look at the black bottomline over 10-30 years………..LOL.

        • grumpy_carpenter

          That doesn’t bring victory ….. that’s just a scam to bilk US taxpayer out of $$$ and put it into the pocket of the elites.

          If US corporations had to fund the wars it takes to control these market and resources out of their own pocket they’d go broke in a single quarter. The US taxpayer subsidizes US corporations in these little adventures …. and don’t kid yourself the US military and security apparatus is a profit centre for US corporations.

          The taxpayer foots the bill for the adventure but if there is any money to be made it goes directly to the corporations …. if the taxpayer were allowed to make a buck off this it would be socialism after all and we can’t have that.

          You are fed a story that the USA military is invincible by a “free press” that’s owned by the same people that control the MIC. The real story that’s never reported in the USA is quite different.

          The brilliant 1998 US led NATO air campaign against Serbia turned out to be not so brilliant after all https://www.irishtimes.com/news/report-claims-nato-lost-war-in-kosovo-1.270581 US missile strikes against Syria are rendered ineffective by Russian air defences so the US ability to render standoff strikes …. the one thing the US military is supposed to do better than anyone …. is proving to be an illusion that only works on third world militaries. Russia was able to take control of Syrian airspace as well as turn the tables on the insurgency in Syria with a force of 25 – 40 aircraft and a battalion of air defences. They aren’t afraid of the USA’s ability to strike because they’ve seen the USA fight for 20 years and they’ve studied the Kosovo campaign and every US war since.

          The US military couldn’t hold ground against an insurgency in Vietnam and now the same situation is arising in Afghanistan. In 2002 the US declared they “don’t negotiate with terrorists” today, 18 years later the USA is in full negotiations with the Taliban. If we follow the Vietnam timeline were about 2 years away from a helicopter

        • grumpy_carpenter

          You like to end your post with a …. LOL.

          In a face to face conversation that would come off as nervous laughter. It really does make it seem that you aren’t entirely confident in what you are saying. Please don’t worry, no need to be nervous, no one is judging you …. only your argument.

    • AJ

      No Tommy the US public are the big losers – the regime change wars have cost 4.7 trillion since 9/11. How is that winning lol

      • verner

        4.7 trillion bucks and nothing whatsoever to show for it – well yes, the crumbling infrastructure back home tells its own story, and the decreasing longevity and the increasing opioid fatalities. sure as a klucking bell hilarious and all thanks to guys like hussein obama, fatso and bedbugcrazy bolton, rumsfeldt bush junior und zu weiter.

    • Allan Greedspoon

      Call the men in white coats . . Jensen has escaped the nuthouse yet again!

    • John

      lol indeed. Thanks for the joke Tommy. :)

  • Ahmad

    “It is Soleimani’s second medal; the first was “the order of Fath” received in 1989 from the same Khamenei.”

    Incorrect. General Soleimani has received 3 (grade 1, 2 & 3) Fath medals.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    “where the US has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in its stability.“

    US invested billions of $ for iraq stability? Copy and paste with out reading… sometimes can be a bitch.

  • Monte George

    Trump promised we would be tired of winning. Another promise kept! We must be tired of winning, because we don’t do it anymore (since WWII pacific theater).

  • Jens Holm

    A lot of words of nothing. Electronics ?? Hard to see any of that cant be bought cheeper and better anywere else.

  • John

    Harpooned indeed. It’s over, just the screaming left to proceed. Things won’t change over night but, this is a very big development. The article pegged it’s importance, in my opinion.

  • Quenten Bruce

    Maybe in the near distant future, the advent of alternative global payment systems will enable the winners of the global hearts and minds, the high moral grounded countries to press international de-dollarisation. How long do we have to wait now?