“A decrease in our investment now may result in the need for the United States to reinvest at many more times the cost down the road,” Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and ranking member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) wrote in letter to Esper last week.
A source close to the Iraqi government told Al-Monitor, “Abdul Mahdi has told Kurdish officials the Kurdistan region is part of the Iraqi federal state, thus they must abide by the Iraqi parliament’s decision to eject US forces from Iraqi soil once the decision is put into practice.“
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, added, “Abdul Mahdi also told the Kurds his government soon will try to reach an agreement with the US on how to implement the Iraqi parliament’s decision. Kurds should cooperate with Baghdad in this regard. No foreign forces are allowed to stay in Iraq under any pretexts.“
The United States has about 5,000 troops in Iraq leading the fight against ISIS. There are also about 800 U.S. troops fighting ISIS in Syria. Meanwhile, about 14,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan helping Afghan forces fight the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism operations against groups such as ISIS.
Outside of combat zones, the United States has also deployed about 14,000 more troops throughout the Middle East since the summer in an effort to deter Iran.
On Thursday Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi phoned Pompeo to urgently request that Washington enact a US troop “withdrawal mechanism” in Iraq. American troops are in Iraq by invitation of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi government had just voted to revoke that invitation.
The State Department responded with a statement titled “The US Continued Partnership with Iraq,” in which it essentially said that the US would not abide by the request of its Iraqi partners because the US military is a “force for good” in the Middle East and that as such it is „our right“ to maintain „appropriate force posture” in the region.
After decades of an enduring cycle of violence, Iraqis are hardened to conflict. But many say they have little vested interest in the latest tit-for-tat between the US and Iran.
The State Department warned that the U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a move that could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy, the officials said.
In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked the United States to send a delegation to Iraq to set up a mechanism for U.S. troop withdrawal from the country, a statement from the prime minister’s office said Friday.
The request followed a vote by the Iraqi parliament to expel thousands of U.S. troops, a direct consequence of a U.S. drone attack that killed senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and nine companions in Baghdad a week ago.
Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported that the alliance took the decision on Tuesday to move its command center from the Iraqi capital Baghdad to Kuwait City.
The Qatar-based and Arabic-language al-Jazeera news network, citing a report published by German DPA news agency, later confirmed the account.
Germany is moving some of its military personnel from Iraq to neighbouring countries over security concerns, the government told lawmakers, days after the killing of a top Iranian military commander in a US drone strike.
About 30 of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq who mainly train Iraqi security forces will be redeployed to Jordan and Kuwait, the government told parliament in a letter on Monday.
Our own sources in Baghdad confirmed that the letter was genuine and that they too had seen it.
One source said their understanding of the US position was that a partial withdrawal or repositioning of some troops to Kuwait was taking place.
“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday afternoon when asked about the vote by Iraq’s parliament to end U.S. troop presence in the country.
A statement on Sunday from Operation Inherent Resolve said the US-led coalition was “fully committed” to protecting its bases in the light of “repeated rocket attacks” from pro-Iranian militias over the past two months.
“This has limited our capacity to conduct training with partners and to support their operations against Daesh [Isis], and we have therefore paused these activities, subject to continuous review,” the coalition said.
In an extraordinary session, the lawmakers voted with majority in favor of passing a law requiring the government to cancel the request for assistance from the international coalition to fight Islamic State (IS) group due to the end of military operations and war in Iraq.
“I oppose the dispatch of SDF troops based on vague legal grounds,” Tamaki said.
Parliamentary resolutions are nonbinding to the government, but Abdul-Mahdi had earlier urged parliament to take urgent measures and end the presence of foreign troops as soon as possible.
“I’m not supporting another war in Iran. We have already lost too many lives in the Middle East,” said Wes Frenell, a protester. “Invested trillions of dollars that can be used domestically to improve the lives of people here. We don’t need to buy bombs to kill people,” he said.
„Maybe they won’t change the government’s mind but it will help organize the working class here in America and make them realize that they should be treated better and when we work together we can make a difference,“ Lee said.
Amid rising tensions with Iran, the Navy is scrapping an exercise with Morocco as it redirects amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit to the Middle East, a defense official confirmed to USNI News on Friday.
Despite the heightened tension in the region, Maas said he wanted to continue Germany’s deployment of around 120 troops in Iraq under the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve.
Mr. Sanders’s speech on Friday also indicated how he might use foreign policy to separate himself from other senators who are running for president: He pointed out that he has voted against all of Mr. Trump’s military budgets, a distinction that Ms. Warren and Ms. Klobuchar cannot claim.
The killing of General Suleimani, intended as a shot against Iran, could accelerate an Iranian objective: pushing the United States military out of Iraq.
We must end our involvement in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. We must bring our troops home from Afghanistan.
The United States has already dispatched about 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East since May.
Turkey’s parliament passed a motion that authorizes the government to send Turkish troops to Libya for a one-year deployment at their emergency session on Jan. 2.
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.
Despite pressure from Syria and Russia, Akar confirmed once again that Turkey will not abandon its military positions inside Idlib and will be sticking to its commitments underlined by the Sochi deal.
All these developments come before a scheduled meeting between Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Jan. 8 in Istanbul for the inauguration of the TurkStream pipeline. For many in Ankara, escalation in Idlib is not totally irrelevant to the developments in Libya where Turkey and Russia support the opposite camps.
Last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe briefed visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tokyo’s plan to send naval forces to the Gulf.
Interior Minister of the UN-backed government of Libya Fathi Bashagha on Thursday revealed that a Turkish-Tunisian-Algerian alliance was formed to support the Libyan government.
„Since there is an invitation (from Libya) right now, we will accept it,“ Erdogan told members of his AK Party. „We will present the motion to send troops [to Libya] as soon as parliament resumes.“
„God willing, we will pass it in parliament on January 8-9 and thus respond to an invitation“ from the Tripoli-based GNA, he said.
France and Qatar signed an agreement allowing France to deploy and station military forces within Qatar.
The Netherlands said on November 25 that it would join Denmark and France in the European naval mission, reported the NLTimes. The Netherlands said it would deploy a navy ship to the Persian Gulf for six months but said it would play an “observing” role. Belgium, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden are also expected to join the European coalition, the Tehran Times reported.
Iranian military spokesman General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint maneuvers, which are aimed at promoting regional security, will extend as far as the Sea of Oman. The drill is seen as a response to recent U.S. maneuvers with its regional ally Saudi Arabia, in which China also participated.
Ankara ready to defend government in Tripoli in latest policy to inflame tensions with US, EU, Greece and Middle East countries
The Trump administration intends to announce the drawdown of about 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as early next week, according to three current and former U.S. officials. The withdrawal will leave between 8,000 and 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the officials said.
From July 2009 to March 2010, I served as one of the U.S. Air Force’s designees for a nation-building mission, and I witnessed the disconnect between what happened on the ground and the messages the public heard about it. As my team’s information operations officer, I played a direct role in crafting those messages. I employed “strategic communication” during events like the 2009 Afghan presidential election and directed embedded reporters to only the sunniest stories, keeping them away from disgruntled troops who might not stick to tidy talking points. But my job wasn’t only to mislead the American public: Our information campaign extended to the Afghan people and to higher-ups within the American military itself.
“The Afghan forces are better than we thought they were,” Marine Gen. John Allen told Congress in 2012. “The Afghan national security forces are winning,” Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson told reporters in 2014.
But in a trove of confidential government interviews obtained by The Washington Post, U.S., NATO and Afghan officials described their efforts to create an Afghan proxy force as a long-running calamity. With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would remain private, they depicted the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated, poorly trained, corrupt and riddled with deserters and infiltrators.
By March 2007, the number of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan had climbed to 50,000. Despite the increase, McNeill said nobody in charge was able to articulate a clear mission and strategy.
“I tried to get someone to define for me what winning meant, even before I went over, and nobody could. Nobody would give me a good definition of what it meant,” he told government interviewers.
A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.
The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.
Senior U.S. officials knowingly lied to the public about their progress throughout the 18-year war in Afghanistan, consistently painting a rosier picture of the state of the war than they knew to be true, according to a cache of documents obtained by the Washington Post.
In private interviews conducted by a watchdog that span the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations – which the Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request — U.S. officials frequently acknowledged a lack of understanding, strategy and progress in a war they regularly described publicly as being on the cusp of success.
The Pentagon’s deployment of new radar, air defense and other military assets to the Gulf nation was discussed during talks Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held with Saudi officials this week.
Milley, in his first visit to this key U.S. ally since becoming President Trump’s chief military adviser this fall, met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other leaders during his visit.
According to Harel, Israel is afraid that the US will desert the Iran issue while America is worried Israel may carry out a unilateral attack against Tehran, forcing Washington into a war.
Harel warned that it is impossible to separate the internal Israeli chaos from the Iran issue; in particular with regards to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment and his failure to form a government.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley also discussed the need for deterrence regarding Iran. Milley spoke with military and civilian leaders in Israel, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq on this four-day trip.
„I wouldn’t discount anything from Iran,” he said. “When a nation behaves that irresponsibly, you have to be very cautious when you evaluate what they might do in the future.”
McKenzie noted that Iran increased its military spending from its recent low in 2014 to $27.3 billion, or six percent of GDP, in 2018.
The general’s trip comes as part of a series of visits by several high ranking military chiefs including the head of the US Air Force Gen. David Goldfien, USAFE (United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa) Commander Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian and the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
On Sunday, leaders, foreign ministers and defense officials from around the world gathered in Bahrain to attend the Manama Dialogue organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies. At the meeting, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said France intends to fill the void created by a “deliberate, gradual U.S. disengagement” from the Middle East.
Jerusalem Post Middle East analyst Seth Frantzman called Parly’s speech a “shot across the bow of U.S. policy” and a “signal” that France is seeking “a deeper role” in Middle East security.
Italy and Turkey host between 60 and 70 bombs each, but “the bombs that most worry American officials are stored in vaults at İncirlik air base” in the southern Turkish province of Adana, The Economist said.
In his first trip to the site of America’s longest war, Trump arrived at Bagram Air Field shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time Thursday and spent 3½ hours on the ground, serving turkey, thanking the troops and sitting down with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani before leaving just after midnight.
ERBIL, Iraq—Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Iraq on Saturday for an unannounced visit with U.S. troops days before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and he met with the leader of Kurdistan but didn’t visit Baghdad.
(5.11.2019) Präsident Trump hat seit März 2018 mehrfach seine Absicht bekundet, US-Truppen aus Syrien abzuziehen. Jedes Mal haben Politiker sowohl der demokratischen als auch der republikanischen Parteien, unterstützt von den von Konzernen kontrollierten Medien auf der Grundlage der imperialen Interessen der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika den Rückzugsplan vehement angefochten. Diese Leute begründeten ihre Ablehnung des Rückzugs auch mit ihren angeblichen Sorgen um die syrischen Kurden. Leider haben sie weitaus weniger Sorge um das Wohlergehen der Iraker, Libyer, Jemeniten, Afghanen und Palästinenser und vieler anderer Bevölkerungsgruppen gezeigt, die unter anderem aufgrund von Maßnahmen der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika schrecklich leiden.
The language in Gabbard’s bill would make it tough for any member of Congress to argue against it.
Gabbard is the only Democratic hopeful to place foreign policy—specifically ending the absurd wars she was a part of herself—at the top of her campaign agenda. Love her or hate her, that is profound in post-9/11 America. She’s been an outspoken opponent of the U.S.-backed Saudi genocide in Yemen, repeatedly calls out the lie of an Iraq War that shattered the Middle East, and is almost alone in criticizing Obama’s repeatedly counterproductive actions that armed and fueled anti-American Islamists in Syria. These are vital truths in an age of obfuscation and foreign policy apathy.
Nearly two decades after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, polls show that a majority of all veterans have grown disenchanted with the continuing wars, even if the national security elite in both parties continue to press for an American military presence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The view is in stark contrast to widespread support for the wars across the military and veterans community — and the general population — when President George W. Bush first sent American troops to Afghanistan and then Iraq.
“It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. We will fight where it is to our benefit, and only fight to win.” Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Likely U.S. Voters agree with Trump’s statement, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey. Just 20% disagree, while 22% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Even 55% of Democrats agree with the statement, although it is important to note that Rasmussen Reports did not identify Trump as the source of the quotation in its question.
SANA’s reporter in Hasaka said that army units advanced from the direction of Tal Tamr in the northern countryside of Hasaka towards the Turkish border, and deployed in the villages of Um Harmlah, Bab al-Kheir, Um Eshbeh, al-Asdiayah in the southeastern countryside of Ras al-Ayn, reducing the distance towards the Turkish border to few kilometers.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has accepted the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey last week and agreed to completely withdraw its Kurdish-led force from the Syria-Turkey border, the SDF said Sunday.
Trump ist ein Trottel, wenn er auf Graham hört.
First, Syria doesn’t even rank among the world’s top 60 oil producers, pumping out only about 0.05 percent as much petroleum as Iraq—just half as much as Cuba, which isn’t known as an oil power.
Second, its oil fields aren’t America’s to protect. They are owned by the Syrian government, with some venture capital provided by China, Russia, and India. No American oil companies are keen to step into the fray.
The eastern oil fields in Deir al-Zour province, where most of Syria’s relatively small and low-quality reserves are located, were once the primary source of income for the militants, who sold the oil to the Syrian government, Turkey and, reportedly, even to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
In a speech at the White House on Wednesday he added: “We’ve secured the oil, and, therefore, a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil.
“And we’re going to be protecting it, and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”
„We have done them a great service,“ Trump said of U.S. efforts to end fighting between Turkey, a NATO ally, and the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who have been a key partner in the U.S.-led campaign to defeat IS.
„This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else,“ he said. „Now we’re getting out. … Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.“
“How many Americans must die in the Middle East in the midst of these ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts?” he said. “I am committed to pursuing a different course, one that leads to victory for America.”
Only 37 percent of voters support Trump’s decision regarding Syria, the poll shows, less than the 43 percent who oppose it. But a sizable number, 20 percent, say they don’t have an opinion about Trump’s decision.
1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.
2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.
3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.
“America will always be grateful for our Kurdish allies and the Syria defense forces who fought shoulder to shoulder and bravely with us in this fight,” Pence told the crowd.
“Now that our military and our allies have achieved our objectives against ISIS, President Trump is keeping his word to the American people and our troops are starting to come home,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he still wants to get all U.S. troops out of Syria, but Israel and Jordan have asked him to keep some in Syria.
A small number of U.S. troops would stay „in a little different section to secure the oil,“ as well as in „a totally different section of Syria near Jordan and close to Israel,“ Trump said on Monday.
The U.S. has about 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan as part of the American-led coalition. U.S. forces are training and advising Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism operations against extremists. President Donald Trump had ordered a troop withdrawal in conjunction with the peace talks that would have left about 8,600 American forces in the country.
The more recent set of causes for our Kurdish misadventure began in 2011, when President Obama ordered President Bashar Assad of Syria to “step aside.” Beyond the arrogance that leads American presidents to think they can and should decide who may rule other countries lay the utter impossibility of achieving that goal.
Obwohl die Entscheidung der Kurden, Assad um Verzeihung zu bitten und sich ihm beim Wiederaufbau eines weltlichen Staates anzuschließen, seit Jahren überfällig ist, ist sie willkommen und klug.
Background: The Bahrain maritime security meeting is a follow-up to the U.S.-led anti-Iran conference held in Warsaw in February. Around 60 countries attended that conference and have participated in ongoing meetings since.
The state of play: According to the State Department, the Bahrain meeting on Oct. 21-22 will focus on maintaining maritime and aviation security in the Middle East and promote steps to interdict and prevent shipments of illicit weapons of mass destruction.
History is littered with instances of one-time allies abandoned by Washington to their fate — the Bay of Pigs invasion; the fall of South Vietnam; numerous internal uprisings, like Hungary in 1956, that were fanned by the United States only to be smothered when aid, implicit or explicit, was withheld. The United States has abandoned the Kurds — a stateless people who live in parts of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Iran — on numerous occasions in just the past half century. The most infamous of these betrayals came when Saddam Hussein attacked them with poison gas in 1988, and the Reagan administration protected the Iraqi government from congressional sanctions.
The violence that is being inflicted upon the Kurdish people of Syria is tragic. The role played by the Kurdish bourgeois nationalist leadership, however, has been shortsighted and criminal. Once again, they hitched their wagon to imperialism, hoping to gain its support for the carving out of an ethnic Kurdish state. The results were entirely predictable. As Henry Kissinger infamously stated after betraying the Kurds following a 1975 deal brokered between the Shah of Iran and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.”
In its most despicable passage, the New York Times editorial places Trump’s action within the context of a US history that is “littered with instances of one-time allies abandoned to their fate—the Bay of Pigs invasion; the fall of South Vietnam …”
For the Times to cast the Bay of Pigs or the fall of Saigon as an example of Washington’s “betrayals” testifies to the drastic rightward shift in the ex-liberal media.
The mood both in Washington and in the Middle East is that the ceasefire is not the real deal. It expires on Tuesday, October 22, the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Sochi to discuss the future of Syria. It seems pretty clear: that’s when the world will find out that the real deal will be for the future of this volatile region.
A senior Syrian Kurdish official has said his forces will pull back from a border area in accordance with a US-brokered deal after Turkey allows the evacuation of its remaining fighters and civilians from a besieged town in northeast Syria.
Turkey shelled Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria in violation of its cease-fire, Kurdish forces said, preventing evacuations from the border town at the center of a fight testing the viability of a pact negotiated with the U.S.
“They have invited young men and some women in so that they can act out their greatest perversion. It’s not about an ideology. It’s not about the caliphate,” McRaven said at a national security conference in Austin, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Friday.
“I believe that they bring people in because they realize they can kill, they can rape with impunity, they can torture, they can do these barbaric things in the name of Islam.”
Gunfire and artillery could be heard in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain, the scene of the heaviest fighting for the last few days, by journalists just across the border in Turkey Friday morning and afternoon. But the town stood silent by Friday evening.
“I have contacted the Defense Ministry. They have told me that the withdrawal has begun. Our security forces in the area will remain there,” he told reporters after Friday prayers on Oct. 18.
While Netanyahu parades in front of the public his close friendship with Trump — his Twitter background is a cropped photo of him at the White House shaking hands with the American president — a lack of recent displays of support have onlookers speculating about tension between the two leaders.
Then-candidate Trump said often that the Iraq War was a mistake, and that we were in too many places for too long. Fast-forward to 2019, and the president is now moving forward to stop the “endless wars.” I stand with him.
The idea that our president would make this decision from this perspective is refreshing and long-awaited. Virtually every president in my lifetime has ended up in a new conflict or extending and expanding the old ones.
In particular, in the past 18 years, from Iraq to Libya to Syria, past presidents went into one bad misadventure after another.
“There is a chance that Assad and Erdoğan — if Assad will guarantee his side of the border — that there could be a retreat of Turkey back within its borders and you actually could maybe set up something where the Kurds actually get some provincial or semi-autonomous control,” he told Hill.TV.
“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.
The letter tried to persuade Erdogan to reverse a decision to invade Syria that Erdogan told Trump about in an Oct 6 phone call.
„Let’s work out a good deal!“ Trump said. „You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy – and I will.“