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Iran to the Iraqis: do not attack US forces unless they refuse to withdraw following a parliamentary decision

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

US president Donald Trump’s statement of his intention to remain in Iraq in order to “be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem” has created a political storm in Mesopotamia among local politicians and groups now determined to put an end to the US presence in the country. Many are upset by Trump’s statement, saying that the “US forces are departing from their initial mission to fight terrorism, the reason for which they are allowed to stay in Iraq”. Iraqi President Barham Saleh commented that the US administration did not ask Iraq’s permission for US troops stationed in the country to “watch Iran”.

Iran to the Iraqis: do not attack US forces unless they refuse to withdraw following a parliamentary decision

US forces have been deployed in Iraq in large numbers since 2014 when ISIS occupied a third of the country. The US establishment under president Obama refrained from rushing to support the Iraqi government, leaving room for Iran to act rapidly and send weapons and military advisors to Baghdad and Erbil. The intentionally slow US reaction pushed the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani to call for the mobilisation of the population, a call that led to

the creation of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), called Hashd al-Shaabi, who managed to stop ISIS’s advance.

Iran to the Iraqis: do not attack US forces unless they refuse to withdraw following a parliamentary decision

Moreover, in response to Iraq’s request, a joint military operational room was formed in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” where Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian high-ranking officers are still present, coordinating military attacks and sharing electronic and other intelligence information about ISIS whereabouts and the movements of its militants, sleeping cells and leaders.

The US also offered to conduct intelligence operations and air strikes against ISIS. Nevertheless, during the period that the ISIS threat diminished the number of the US forces has more than doubled, from 5,200to 11,000, according to sources within the Iraqi government; some Iraqi sources claim the real numbers are much larger, with as many as 34,000 US servicemen spread over 31 bases and locations, along with Iraqi forces. There are no military bases for US forces only.

US forces are officially based at Camp Victory within the perimeter of Baghdad airport, Camp Al-Taji situated 25 km north of Baghdad, Balad Airbase which is 64 km north of Baghdad, Al-Habbaniyah Camp between Ramadi and Fallujah, Qay’yara Airfield 300 km north of Baghdad, Kariz base in Zummar Nineveh, Ayn al-Assad Airbase close to Baghdadi in al-Anbar province, Kirkuk al-Hurriya Airbase, Bashur base in Erbil, Erbil International Airport command and control base, Harir Shaqlawa Kurdistan in Erbil and Atrush Field in Duhok. US forces constructed a new Airbase close to al-Qaem on the Iraqi-Syrian borders and another close to al-Rutbah east of Ramadi and close to the Syrian borders. The US forces have a military presence within the Iraqi security forces in various locations and camps, mainly within the Counter-Terrorism units.

Trump visited one of these bases, Ayn al-Assad, during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The breach of protocol associated with his visit created domestic upheaval, leading many Iraqis to call on the Parliament to expel US forces from Iraq; the three leading Iraqi officials (Speaker, President and Prime Minister) refused to meet him at the US part of the base.  For security reasons the US President was forced to keep secret his visit to a country where he has thousands of forces on the ground. By contrast the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Jawad Zarif, visited Iraq for fivedays meeting local officials in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala.

Iran to the Iraqis: do not attack US forces unless they refuse to withdraw following a parliamentary decision

Iraqi organisations – who fought ISIS for years, and share Iran’s goal of rejecting US hegemony in the region – threatened to attack US forces if they didn’t leave the country immediately. However, sources close to decision makers report that “Iraqi groups are not expected to attack US forces immediately”.

“Iran has asked all their friends in Iraq to refrain from attacking the US forces and instead to arm themselves with patience for the day when US forces refuse to leave if and when the Parliament approves a bill asking them to return home. Should this happen, US forces would be considered an occupation force, giving legitimacy for the Iraqi resistance to attain their goal”, said the source.

These Iraqi organisations are keeping a close watch on the US forces’ movement in the country. They consider the US establishment a source of trouble to the country and the region. Last week, Iraqi security Forces Hashd al-Shaabi forced a US patrol to return from their mission, preventing them from entering the city of Mosul on foot. The Iraqi forces consider the US is diverging from its mission to help Iraq fight terrorism when US forces patrol Iraqi cities for their own training purposes.

Hashd al-Shaabi has a grudge against the US forces for having bombarded Iraqi forces on the borders between Iraq and Syria, causing dozens of casualties. US officials offered repeated apologies, accusing Israel of the bombing and promising that such “mistakes” would not be repeated in the future. US officials feared the Hashd reaction and were concerned about their own troops on the ground.

Iran to the Iraqis: do not attack US forces unless they refuse to withdraw following a parliamentary decision

According to Iraqi sources, the Parliament “needs several months to coordinate a large action and the preparation of a bill asking for the withdrawal of the US forces from the country. This campaign is expected to be guided by the Sadrist leader Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr”. The Sadrist groups are feared by the US for their long history of attacks against US forces during the occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2011. Those mainly responsible for attacking and killing US occupation forces were Sadrists leaders who today lead their own groups: Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, Kataeb al-Imam Ali and Harakat al-Nujaba’.

From 2003-11, the US declared themselves an occupation force. Today, these forces are present following an official request from the central government in Baghdad. Thus, their departure should follow on a parliamentary initiative, according to article 61 of the constitution.

Iran to the Iraqis: do not attack US forces unless they refuse to withdraw following a parliamentary decision

The Iraq government would like to avoid an aggressive stand against the US and is not looking to have Washington as an enemy. At the same time, Iraq doesn’t want to be considered submissive and under the wing of the US and its policies. The US aims to pull out its forces from Syria – if Trump’s warmonger advisors allow him to do so – to deploy them in Iraq–a move that should increase the number of US forces in Iraq. This would represent a further provocation to the Iraqis.

Simultaneously, Iraq is cooperating with Iran on all commercial levels, especially with regard to energy. Washington would like to prevent any selling of Iranian oil and would like to make sure Iraq is not helping Iran or becoming hostile to Israel.

It is too late: the three Iraqi leaders (the president,the prime minister, the speaker) are closer to Iran than the US. Nevertheless, these leaders, unlike, for example, a figure such as Nuri al-Maliki,do not have a record of hostility to the US. Nevertheless, Trump is mistaken if he believes Mesopotamia will bow to his wishes and become the platform for an attack on Iran.

Proof-read byC.B.

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  • RusskiiTroll54

    Those soldiers faces look so brainwashed to me

    • Harry Smith

      Even if they are brainwashed it does not make them easy target. In most cases US soldiers are good trained professionals. Anyway, they are just following their orders and have no influence on the USA elites.

      • RusskiiTroll54

        true, thats why i am sorry for them too as humans, they are to serve an evil government not even knowing for most of their bad deeds

        • Harry Smith

          Does they have other choice? Russian soldiers served in the Russian army when Eltsin was president.

          • FlorianGeyer

            I thought the US was the pillar of Democratic Values and that her soldiers who do not wish to murder civilians in foreign wars for oil, could just leave :)

          • Garga

            I’d agree if they were drafted but we know that’s not the case.

            They joined the US army freely and nobody forces them to enlist. It’s a fully professional army with no drafts and conscription, where every single soldier receives a salary more than unskilled worker jobs, so yes, they have a choice.

          • Harry Smith

            OK, let’s say all the good guys have strong decision not to join US army. USA, as their homeland, needs to be protected. It means to allow only jerks to protect the families of the good guys.
            I do not idealize those serviceman, but lets not to demonize all of them. Anyway, they are risking their lives to protect the people in the USA.

          • Tudor Miron

            They are supposed to risk their lives protecting the people of USA. Should we assume that they were protecting people in the USA while in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq etc.? Was it protecting the people of USA? I would think that they were protecting the hegemonism of USA – right to loot the world in favor of US establishment. Did US public receive some benefites from those wars? Yes, they did (even if that was only crumbs) and this is why they actually support this wars (till there are too many bodybags coming back to US land).

          • Gregory Casey

            Harry Smith: How are US Forces stationed in Iraq risking their lives “to protect the people in the USA” ?
            How far is the US from Iraq?
            How does one get to the US from Iraq in order to attack the lovely People of the US?
            The notion peddled by the Defence Industry and Defence Forces Establishment in Washington otherwise collectively known as the NeoCons + NeoLiberals that US needs to spend $1.25 Trillion on US Defense Forces every years (2018 prices) including costs of Veterans, Medical Costs and Defense + Armaments + Aviation Industries, in order to PROTECT the People of the US is the single greatest lie ever peddled to and swallowed by a supine People. Fact is, if America stayed at home and minded its own business, Americans would never come under any threat …….. except, perhaps through carrying around the weight of all their extra Cash in their own pockets rather than in the well-padded pockets of the Political-Military-Defence-Establishment Industry known as Congress.

          • Harry Smith

            The answer will be very cynic. But there is no other way to explain my point of view.

            USA has a very serious inside issue. I do not remember the exact numbers, but it was about 80 mln of Americans living in the poverty. They have food stamps, welfare, Obama care and many others rudiments of socialism. As socialism can never be self-sufficient unless it’s Stalin’s Gulag system, it must have an external source of resources. For the USA these sources are the invasions in resource-rich regions and US dollar as reserve currency. Without these sources USA economy is going to fall. Iraq is the straight example of invasions.

            As for dollar, it has no real value. It is not related to the certain amount of gold. It’s only value is that most of the World population considers USA be a world leader. So USA, like a school bully, must periodically demonstrate that there is no other boss at the playground.

            So, literally, any American serviceman, subconsciously, has to choose:
            1. His children will die of starvation or will be killed by a gang of starving people or by an invasion army because of all bad things his predecessors did.
            2. Innocent people in other counties will die.
            A very bad widow of choices. I wish never be in front of this window.

          • Tudor Miron

            Having a traitor for a president doesn’t cancel the need to defend your country. During Eltsins time they (on behald of US advisers) were doing everything to destroy the armed forces that they didn’t succeed.

          • Harry Smith

            You got it right. The homeland needs to be protected even if head of the state is not so good.

        • Andreas Mikkelsen

          Most people follow “the strong ones”, even if it means doing horrible things. Look at the Milgram experiment for instance.

          Being strong, and call out the wrongs, will create better followers.

    • FlorianGeyer

      They don’t look very intelligent, that’s for sure :)

  • Tommy Jensen

    All the guys on the photos are jerks. All of them.

    • Garga

      You, sexist you!
      What about the gals? Some of them can punch well above their weight in jerk-ness!

      Does “gender equality” means nothing to you?

      • Tommy Jensen

        The first lady is ok, she has style. I dont wanna hurt the other as I dont know her.
        But generally you are right. There maybe more gal jerks generally.

  • Sinbad2

    The best way to get rid of the Americans is to do it covertly.
    As soon as an American sets foot off base, follow him, and kill him quietly, steal everything he has, including his clothes and cut off his balls. The media won’t print the story, but the other guys on base will know what happened.
    An occasional mortar round, roadside bomb etc.
    They should ask the Vietnamese for advice, they kept US troops living in fear, and turned them against their officers.
    It takes time but it works.

    • Patriotic_White_American

      Lmao

      • Brother Thomas

        Hang on to your balls while you laugh.

  • KhazarHunter

    Iran’s pussyness on display once again.

    • Tudor Miron

      What is your name, brave man?

  • Barba_Papa

    I’m still amazed at the complete ignorance of US politicians about Iraq during the leadup to the Iraq invasion. Where they THAT clueless to think that a country which had a majority Shia population would NOT become very friendly with Shia Iran? It’s not rocket science, I predicted this on various forums prior to the Iraq invasion already.