The strikes come one day after the US assessed an Iranian-backed group was responsible for a rocket attack on a base where coalition forces are located, killing two American service members and one British service member. Fox News was first to report on the strike.
The company identified the victim as Mohamud Haji Salad, a site manager for the company who was apparently the only victim of the Monday airstrike.
But the bombing has become one of the most controversial Allied acts of World War Two. Some have questioned the military value of Dresden. Even British Prime Minister Winston Churchill expressed doubts immediately after the attack.
„It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed,“ he wrote in a memo.
Konashenkov denounced what he said was becoming a “typical practice” of Israel’s of using civilian aircraft as a “shield” against Syrian air defenses, apparently referring to a case in 2018, when the Syrian military shot down a Russian spy plane while responding to an Israeli strike over Syrian airspace.
Russia later declared that Israel was responsible for that incident, in which 15 crew members were killed, saying the Israeli Air Force jets used the Russian plane as cover.
The UN Security Council met in New York on Monday to discuss the investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into an alleged chemical attack that was said to have taken place in April 2018 in Douma, Syria. The alleged attack was blamed on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the US, UK, and France responded with an airstrike against Syrian government targets.
There was no immediate Israeli comment. Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes on Syria over the past years but it rarely comments on what it targets.
Israel is widely believed to have been behind airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria that have joined the country’s war fighting alongside the government.
Trump has said in recent days that Soleimani was planning to “blow up” the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and also that he was going after “four embassies.”
But Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper revealed on talk shows Sunday that the idea that Soleimani was about to attack four embassies wasn’t based on intelligence. Instead, he said it was simply something Trump and others “believed” to be the case.
President Trump on Monday said it didn’t matter if Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani posed an imminent threat to the United States because of his “horrible past.”
Trump also asserted that his national security team agreed on the imminent threat posed by Soleimani that led to the decision to kill him.
„The president didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence. What he said was he believed,“ Esper said Sunday on „Face the Nation.“ „I didn’t see one, with regard to four embassies. What I’m saying is that I shared the president’s view that probably — my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.
The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Iran and defying Iraq’s call for a US troop withdrawal. This comes as the stated rationale for the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is being increasingly undermined.
Scott Ritter, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer, analyzes the increased White House coercion efforts and collapsing intelligence claims.
Esper also said the so-called Gang of Eight, the top members of Congress’s intelligence committees, did not believe further intelligence on Iran should be shared with Congress.
Esper told CBS’s Margaret Brennan he spoke to one of the officials who briefed the Gang of Eight and that “his assessment was most if not all the members thought the intelligence was persuasive and that the Gang of Eight did not think it should be released to the broader members of Congress.”
The lives of people in the Middle East and around the globe hang in the balance. The lives of those we represent — among the 140 million poor and low wealth in the United States, 43% of the U.S. population — also hang in the balance as the world teeters on the precipice of a devastating war.
Donald Trump and the U.S. should be held accountable for war crimes for the U.S. strike against Iran, according to the Poor People’s Campaign, which has sent a letter requesting a meeting with the United Nations high commissioner for human rights to address this assertion. Bishop William Barber discusses with Joy Reid saying, ‘We were perilously close the other night to the beginning of a world war.’
But the United States also sent secret messages through Swiss intermediaries urging Iran not to respond so forcefully that Mr. Trump would feel compelled to go even further. After it did respond, firing 16 missiles at bases housing American troops without hurting anyone as a relatively harmless show of force, a message came back through the Swiss saying that would be the end of its reprisal for now. The message, forwarded to Washington within five minutes after it was received, persuaded the president to stand down.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard lays out her views on the Iran crisis especially with her military experience, and her thoughts on the requirements to qualify for the January debate.
Graham told reporters on Wednesday that he thought Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) were „overreacting“ by criticizing comments made during a closed-door Iran briefing.
„They’re libertarians,“ Graham said. „I think they’re overreacting, quite frankly. Go debate all you want to. I’m going to debate you. Trust me, I’m going to let people know that at this moment in time to play this game with the war powers act … whether you mean to or not, you’re empowering the enemy.“
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, is pushing for the declassification of Trump’s formal notification to Congress over Soleimani’s killing, which has sparked a dangerous escalation between the two longtime foes.
Several sources have told CNN that the notification was brief, contained few operational details and essentially laid out the President’s authorities to carry out the strike.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace updates MPs – returning to the House of Commons after their Christmas break – on the latest in the Middle East, following the assassination of Iran military leader Qassem Suleimani last week. He makes the statement in place of Boris Johnson, who is chairing a meeting of the UK national security council to discuss the crisis.
Mr Corbyn branded the drone strike on the leader of Iran’s feared Quds Force an “assassination” and told the House of Commons that it was widely regarded as illegal.
And he accused the prime minister of hiding away from scrutiny after Mr Johnson sent defence secretary Ben Wallace to answer MPs’ questions on the 3 January killing in Baghdad.
Die Bundesregierung schweigt dazu. Klar Position bezieht sie hingegen zu Maßnahmen Irans. So erklärte etwa Außenminister Heiko Maas nach der Mitteilung der iranischen Regierung, man werde die Beschränkungen des Atomabkommens erst dann wieder in vollem Umfang akzeptieren, wenn alle anderen Vertragsparteien ihre Verpflichtungen einhielten: „Das, was Iran jetzt angekündigt hat, werden wir nicht einfach so achselzuckend hinnehmen können“. „Achselzuckend nimmt die Bundesregierung freilich nicht nur die Ankündigung des US-Präsidenten hin, im Falle eines iranischen Gegenschlags mit der Zerstörung iranischen Kulturguts mutwillig ein Kriegsverbrechen zu begehen. Schon den völkerrechtswidrigen Mord an Soleimani und an weiteren hochrangigen Militärs hatte Berlin nicht als Verbrechen klassifiziert.
In the absence of Mr Johnson, who is on a Caribbean holiday with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, Defence minister Ben Wallace said Washington has a right to respond to earlier attacks from Iran that resulted in an assault on the US embassy in Baghdad.
No evidence that guided the strike has been made public.
“We had several briefers from the United States, from the State and from Pentagon and they briefed and explained to other allies why they took this action against General Soleimani,” Stoltenberg said without going into detail.
The alliance chief was asked several times by reporters about whether the U.S. action had been criticized by other NATO members during the meeting. But he didn’t provide a clear answer,
Two leading Senate Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to declassify the formal notification given to Congress regarding the US drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.
It’s not publicly known what exactly is in the formal notification, though such messages to Congress typically explain legal justification for military action.
The UN-backed government blamed rebel forces loyal to Gen Khalifa Haftar for the attack. The rebels denied involvement.
The classified notification was sent under a 1973 U.S. law called the War Powers Act, which requires the administration to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action or imminent actions.
The Iraqi army told Reuters that airstrikes targeting Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces – an umbrella grouping of Iran-backed Shia militias – struck near Taji, north of Baghdad, killing six people and critically wounded three, an Iraqi army source said late on Friday. A US official denied that the attack was carried out by the Americans.
A new United States air strike targetted an Iraqi militia late on Taji road north of Baghdad on Saturday, Australian time, state TV said. It did not name the militia or provide further details.
Futures for Brent crude, a global benchmark, jumped 2.9% to $68.16 per barrel during Asian trading hours on Friday. US oil futures gained 2.8%, reaching $62.86 per barrel. That puts both on pace right now for their biggest daily gains in about a month, according to Refinitiv data.
Incredible overconfidence and sloppiness.
Fears of a major war in the Middle East exploded Thursday night with the U.S. assassination of arguably the second most powerful man in Iran.
A U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad late Thursday, the Pentagon said, a dramatic escalation of tensions between the two countries that could lead to widespread violence in the region and beyond.
Later, security sources told local media a strike hit two vehicles, killing Mohammed Redha, a senior member of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units — an umbrella group that includes Iran-backed Shiite militias with close ties to Iran and other militias that have fought the Islamic State group since 2014.
Iraqi security forces have regained control of the area around the US Embassy in Baghdad after the compound was rocked by a second day of mass protests.
Earlier Wednesday security personnel fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of protesters — some of whom were seen trying to climb the building’s walls — eyewitnesses told CNN.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the Tuesday attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad „state-sponsored terror“ in an interview with CBS News. But he emphasized that the embassy is „safe“ and that the U.S. „never contemplated“ evacuating the facility.
„This is state-sponsored terror, this is Iranian-backed terrorism that took place,“ Pompeo told CBS News‘ Major Garrett in his first broadcast interview since the attack.
Five thousand U.S. troops are already stationed in Iraq assisting the country’s security forces. U.S. forces in the region number around 60,000 troops.
„At the direction of the Commander in Chief @POTUS, I have authorized the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the @82ndABNDiv to the @CENTCOM area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq,“ Esper tweeted.
Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor reacts to U.S. airstrikes on Iran-backed militia.
The angry demonstrations at the American embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday are just the latest installment in a deepening confrontation between the US and Iran for influence in Iraq.
It’s a struggle that dates back to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the emergence of a Shia-dominated state in Iraq. But in light of the Trump administration’s campaign of maximum economic pressure against Iran, it has reached a new and potentially dangerous pitch.
“We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the embassy,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Tuesday.
President Trump made a brief stop at his golf course in West Palm Beach, Fla., in the morning, leaving after less than an hour.
Trump defended the decision to target the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah with airstrikes over the weekend, saying that attacks by the militia had led to the death of an American contractor.
„Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible,“ Trump tweeted. „In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!“
US embassy staff and the US ambassador in Baghdad have been evacuated, according to two Iraqi Foreign Ministry Officials, as hundreds of Iraqi protesters swam the embassy compound.
The protesters raised flags of the powerful paramilitary group of Hashd Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), which Kataeb Hezbollah is part of, and several people climbed over the wall of the embassy and chanted „death to America“ and „no, no America“, witnesses said.
Tuesday’s attempted embassy storming took place after mourners held funerals for the fighters killed in a Baghdad neighbourhood, after which they marched on to the heavily fortified Green Zone and kept walking till they reached the embassy.
PM Abdel Mahdi strongly refused the attack. US didn’t care.
Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu called the United States‘ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to congratulate him on the successful attack on Iran and its proxies in Iraq.
The U.S. government of Donald Trump just carried out airstrikes in three countries. And literally everybody is sitting on his / her ass and shuts his / her mouth hole.
Thereby some remarks:
Libya has been facing ongoing instability since the fall of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Thousands have been killed in fighting between factions of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, based in the east, and the internationally-recognized government in the capital, Tripoli, located in the west.
“Surgical” U.S. air strikes destabilize villages, drive displacement and fuel al-Shabab recruitment.
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Four al Shabaab militants were killed on Sunday in three U.S. air strikes in two locations in Somalia, the U.S. military said on Monday.
Sunday’s strikes in Iraq were close to the Al-Qaim district, close to the border with Syria, according to Reuters news agency.
Iraqi security and militia sources told Reuters news agency at least 18 militia fighters were killed and more than 50 wounded following three strikes in the country.
The Pentagon carried out airstrikes against a militia responsible for a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base near Kirkuk that left an American defense contractor dead. In a statement, the Pentagon said it had carried out strikes on the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hizbollah group.
he global chemical weapons watchdog is facing renewed questions after fresh details emerged about how it suppressed the findings of its own inspectors who raised serious doubts about an alleged poison gas attack in Syria.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a senior official at the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demanded the ‘removal of all traces’ of a document which undermined claims that gas cylinders had been dropped from the air – a key element of the ‘evidence’ that the Syrian regime was responsible.
„Once we have been forced to reach this situation, we will not hesitate to employ the full force of the IDF, even in the urban sphere where the enemy has chosen to act,” he said.
Israel’s aim is to deter potential enemies, he said. The “ultimate goal is to instill in our enemies the feeling of despair and doubt in their ability to achieve their aggressive aims.”
Lt.-Gen. Kochavi acknowledges in public for the first time that Israel has struck Iranian targets in Iraq.
27 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more internal documents from the OPCW regarding the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.
One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation:
“Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”.
The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident.
This is getting really, really, really weird.
WikiLeaks has published yet another set of leaked internal documents from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adding even more material to the mountain of evidence that we’ve been lied to about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year which resulted in airstrikes upon that nation from the US, UK and France.
This new WikiLeaks drop includes an email from the OPCW Chief of Cabinet Sebastien Braha (who is reportedly so detested by organisation inspectors that they code named him “Voldemort”) throwing a fit over the Ian Henderson Engineering Assessment which found that the Douma incident was likely a staged event. Braha is seen ordering OPCW staff to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever” from the organisation’s secure registry.
Near-simultaneous attacks believed to have been carried out by drones hit three government-run oil and gas installations in central Syria, state TV and the Oil Ministry said Saturday.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted the Homs oil refinery — one of only two in the country — as well as two natural gas facilities in different parts of Homs province.
14 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.
Amongst these is a memorandum written in protest by one of the scientists sent on a fact finding mission (FFM) to investigate the attack. It is dated 14 March 2019 and is addressed to Fernando Arias, Director General of the organisation. This was exactly two weeks after the organisation published its final report on the Douma investigation.
WikiLeaks is also releasing the original preliminary report for the first time along with the redacted version (that was released by the OPCW) for comparison. Additionally, we are publishing a detailed comparison of the original interim report with the redacted interim report and the final report along with relevant comments from a member of the original fact finding mission. These documents should help clarify the series of changes that the report went through, which skewed the facts and introduced bias according to statements made by the members of the FFM.
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu at the latter’s initiative.
Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the range of current issues on the bilateral agenda, including in the context of the President of Russia’s visit to Israel scheduled for January 2020.
In addition, Russian-Israeli cooperation on Syria was discussed.
23/04/2013 & 24/04/2013 | http://dirtywars.org/ | Jeremy Scahill, author of the new book, „Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,“ charts the expanding covert wars operated by the CIA and JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command. The book is based on years of reporting on U.S. secret operations in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Obama administration’s assassination of two U.S. citizens in 2011, Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old Denver-born son Abdulrahman, is a central part of Scahill’s book. While the Obama administration has defended the killing of Anwar, it has never publicly explained why Abdulrahman was targeted in a separate drone strike two weeks later.
In addition to the attack on the air defense storage, the Israeli Air Force also targeted a number of sites belonging to the Syrian military in the nearby Beit Saber area of southern Damascus.
A source from the Syrian military said that the Israeli Air Force launched 18 air-to-surface missiles towards southern and southwestern Damascus, with at least 11 managing to hit their intended targets.
A Sky News investigation has found evidence that suggests Russian warplanes systematically bombed civilian targets in Syria.
A senior commander with the Gaza-based terror organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was killed overnight Thursday in an IDF strike, leaving dead eight members of the same family.
A spokesperson for the Israeli military said that Rasmi Abu Malhous, apparently the head of Islamic Jihad’s rocket unit, was killed in a targeted attack on his home in Deir al-Balah, located the central Gaza Strip.
The prime minister’s assault kills minority government option and undercuts Joint List efforts to ally with the Jewish center-left
Until now, it seemed the entire political system was fumbling all the way to another election, and that perhaps this was our new system of government – elections and yet more elections, devoid of either victory or significance. But on Tuesday, Israelis woke up to a historic moment. A “crisis government” led by Netanyahu, with the participation of Benny Gantz and his Kahol Lavan party, now seems like the most probable outcome.
We’ve gotten used to the racist aroma that wafts from the written and oral statements of Israel’s prime minister about the Arab minority. The same goes for the naked cynicism of the man who is willing to kiss the feet of racist messianic politicians, Kahanists, xenophobes and persecutors of children, just so they’ll support his government. But it wouldn’t be too much to expect for him to calm down his campaign, knowing that in a few short hours, hundreds of missiles would rain down on people in the Gaza border communities and points north.
Since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the neighboring country.
In Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces targeted Baha Abu al-Ata, the militant commander Israel considered responsible for several previous rocket launches, on grounds that his next attack was imminent. In a televised appearance, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Abu al-Ata the “chief terrorist in Gaza” and emphasized the care taken to prevent other injuries in the strike.
Clash in safe zone between Turkish forces and YPG/PKK terrorists is out of the question, and disinformation, Turkish president said on Oct. 18
“The same people that got us into the Middle East Quicksand, 8 Trillion Dollars and many thousands of lives (and millions of lives when you count the other side), are now fighting to keep us there. Don’t listen to people that haven’t got a clue. They have proven to be inept!”
The tweet represents one of the most significant indictments that a US president has ever issued against the foreign policy that his own country has pursued in the Middle East for several decades.
Why Mr. Trump suddenly latched onto the estimate at this point rather than when casualties were discussed at the earlier meeting remains a mystery to many officials. Some assumed he was influenced by Mr. Carlson or other allies that his re-election would be jeopardized and was looking for cover.
But when the decision came, Mr. Pence, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton were all out of the White House, and the president did not call them for input. Instead, he told the Pentagon to call off the attack.
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – The United States wants to build a coalition of European and Arab partners to deter Iran after an attack on Saudi Arabia that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described on Wednesday as „an act of war“ against the world’s top oil exporter.
From drone strikes to psyops, Israel’s widening campaign to weaken Iranian ally escalates tensions
What’s particularly worrying about this story is that the ambulance shouldn’t have been there. As part of Northern Command’s preparations, for the past several days soldiers have been using back roads that aren’t vulnerable to flat-trajectory weapons from Lebanon.
Yet for reasons still unknown, the ambulance crew, under the command of a doctor, didn’t take the safer route. Perhaps the crew made a navigational error, or perhaps it wasn’t familiar with the orders in detail. But whatever the reason, the doctor and his crew were driving on a road that was vulnerable to Hezbollah fire.
Israel’s military went on a propaganda offensive against Iran and Hezbollah using social media to drastically increase tensions with neighboring Lebanon hours after Benjamin Netanyahu warned the nation’s enemies, in Arabic, to „watch it.“
The Israeli prime minister was on the campaign trail ahead of elections scheduled for September 17. But the barrage of agitprop by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) represented a dramatic shift towards a warning of outright war.
„This aggressive pretentiousness has no purpose other than political gain, and I do not retract my words,“ he added, saying that „it is not coincidental that he made his statement by the side of Moshe Feiglin. I accuse him of possibly drawing us into war for political gain.“
„It’s unquestionably pure politics and Prime Minister Netanyahu does it unstoppably.
On August 27, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Lebanese Republic Saad Hariri at the initiative of the Lebanese side.
Moscow, in return, “reaffirmed its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and stability of Lebanon,” in a statement carried by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
In Israel there is no opposition; this disturbing realization is becoming clearer.
Lebanese politicians across the spectrum condemned the attacks and accused Israel of pushing the country toward conflict.
“What happened is tantamount to a declaration of war that allows us to resort to our right to defend our sovereignty, independence and territorial security,” President Michel Aoun of Lebanon told a top United Nations official on Monday, according to a statement released by the president’s office.
Multiple Israeli drones were reported to have flown over Lebanese airspace Monday, hours after Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned that his party would bring down Israeli unmanned aircraft entering Lebanese skies.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed on Monday the „Israeli assault on the southern suburbs of Beirut“ with the country’s United Nations Special Coordinator, Aoun’s office said. The president said that the drone strikes amount to a „declaration of war.“