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How Tehran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over in Iraq
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Iraqi security and pro-Iranian paramilitary forces are shooting into crowds of protesters in a bid to drive them from the centre of Baghdad and end six weeks of demonstrations that have challenged the political system to an extent not seen since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Police retook three bridges across the Tigris River that lead to the fortified Green Zone on Saturday and are surrounding Tahrir Square, the central focus of the protests.

In al-Rasheed Street, close to the square, police set fire to tents set up by volunteer doctors to treat injured protesters.

At least six people were killed in the latest clashes, four of them by bullets and two by heavy duty tear gas grenades fired directly at the head or bodies of protesters, according to Amnesty International.

It says that 264 people taking part in demonstrations have died since 1 October, though the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights gives a higher figure of 301 dead and 15,000 injured.

The protests – and the merciless government attempt to stamp them out – are the biggest threat to the power of the Iraqi political establishment since Isis was advancing on Baghdad in 2014. In many respects, the danger to the status quo is greater now because Isis was an existential threat to the Shia majority who had no choice but to support their ruling elite, however predatory and incompetent they had proved in office.

The slaughter of so many demonstrators is similar to the tactics used by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013 to crush protests opposing his military coup that had overthrown the elected government.

By way of contrast, there was no such violence response to street demonstrations in Baghdad in 2016 , when protesters invaded the Green Zone, or in Basra in 2018, when the government and party offices were set ablaze.

Over the last month-and-a-half, however, there has been repeated use of snipers firing at random into demonstrations or targeting local protest leaders. The people doing the killing are parts of of the government’s highly fragmented security services and factions of the paramilitary Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) known to be aligned with Iran.

It is the Iranian leadership, and more especially General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds force and supremo of Iranian regional policy, who is orchestrating the campaign to smash the protests by sustained use of violence.

Precisely why General Qasem Soleimani decided to do so is a mystery, since the initial demonstration in Tahrir Square on 1 October was small.

The NGOs organising it had been failing for months to generate momentum.

It was the unprecedented “shoot-to-kill” policy of the authorities that turned these ill-attended rallies into a mass movement not far from a general uprising.

During the first days of the protests, protest organisers told The Independent they were at first baffled by what had happened, inclining at first to believe that the the first day’s violence, when at least 10 people were killed, might be a one-off overreaction that would not be repeated.

But the killing of protesters, counter-productive though it might be, went on.

On the day after the first shootings, bands of young protesters, looking very unintimidated, could be seen milling about the area. The authorities escalated the crisis further by declaring a 24-hour curfew and closing down the internet, a collective punishment of all 7 million people in Baghdad that could only spread support for the demonstrators.

At the same time, paramilitary groups, open in their loyalty to Iran, sent their black-clad militants into television stations publicising the protests to wreck their equipment and studios. They assaulted injured demonstrators in hospitals and abducted and threatened journalists, doctors and anybody else backing the demonstrations.

It is unlikely that this was a pre-arranged plot by the pro-Iranian paramilitaries acting on their own initiative.

Several of their leaders, whose groups were subsequently known to have supplied snipers to shoot at the street protests, were interviewed by The Independent a few days earlier.

Though they later declared that they had long detected a deep-laid conspiracy by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to use the protests to overthrow the political system in Iraq, they did not say so at the time. Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a powerful paramilitary faction, said that “Iran wants a solution [in the US-Iran confrontation] but it cannot say this itself.”

He downplayed the idea that a US-Iran war was on the cards.

Abu Ala al-Walai, the head of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, said in a separate interview that what most concerned him was an Israeli drone attack on a weapons depot at one of his bases on the outskirts of Baghdad.

Nevertheless, the speed and cohesion with which these pro-Iranian Shia paramilitary groups reacted – or overreacted – to the protests suggests a detailed contingency plan.

“The Iranians always have a plan,” notes one Iraqi commentator.

Nor did the paramilitaries act alone: no distinct boundary line divides the PMF from state security institutions. The PMF may number about 85,000, are paid their salaries by the Iraqi government and the chairman of the PMF is Faleh al-Fayyad, the government’s national security adviser.

The Interior Minister always belongs to the Iran-supported Badr Organisation and the ministry’s Emergency Response Division, for instance, is reported to have provided snipers to shoot protesters.

In the weeks since the first peaceful march was met with extreme violence, the intensity of the repression has escalated in Baghdad and across southern Iraq.

In the Shia holy city of Karbala on one day, snipers killed 18 people and survivors were detained by pop-up checkpoints as they fled through the alleyways.

Kidnapping, disappearances, intimidation – a whole apparatus of repression – has been put in place and is unlikely to be dismantled.

Pro-Iranian pro-status quo individuals and institutions within the Iraqi political system are becoming more dominant.

Critics of the status quo, like the populist nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose coalition is the largest grouping in parliament, have fallen silent.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called last Friday for the security forces to refrain from using “excessive force”, but there is no sign of this having any impact.

Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Iraqi prime minister for the last year, has come out of the crisis looking ineffectual.

The Iraqi political class as a whole have evidently decided that they must stamp out the protests to preserve their interests.

ORDER IT NOW

The protesters in the streets – the radicalism of whose demands and the their vagueness about how they might be achieved resembles French students during the 1968 events in France – are not able to say what they would put in place of the present corrupt and dysfunctional government. As for those carrying out the repression, they are so steeped in blood that it will be impossible for them to reverse course, not that they show any sign of wanting to do so.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran, Iraq 
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  1. Here is an article that takes a detailed look at Iran’s military capabilities:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/irans-military-strength-2019-edition.html

    Once American servicemen start dying for this rather nebulous cause, it will be the reaction of American voters that will ultimately determine the extent and duration of yet another Middle East military, nation re-engineering “adventure”.

    • Replies: @Realist
  2. El Dato says:

    So is this Shia-on-Shia violence?

    It is the Iranian leadership, and more especially General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Revolutionary Guard’s al-Quds force and supremo of Iranian regional policy, who is orchestrating the campaign to smash the protests by sustained use of violence.

    Precisely why General Qasem Soleimani decided to do so is a mystery, since the initial demonstration in Tahrir Square on 1 October was small.

    So how do we know that this is the case at all?

  3. plantman says:

    Cockburn doesn’t know who is causing the violence anymore than anyone else knows. So why does he assume it is the Iranians?

    This is typical Cockburn, blame the targets of US aggression and fail to provide any context, like this: Who toppled the Sunni-led government (Saddam Hussein) in a wanton act of genocidal violence and completely reduced Iraqi society to ruin??

    Answer–Washington

    Maybe the snipers are another CIA confection like they were on the Maiden Square in Ukraine and numerous other locations where the US has “vital” interests. But. of course, this possibility never occurs to slyboots Cockburn who–like the people he works for– only see Iranians behind every corner and under every bed.

    The troubles in the ME and in Iraq in particular are 100% attributable to US intervention. Cockburn should get over this irritating habit of blaming the victim.

    • Replies: @MEexpert
    , @Curmudgeon
  4. Look up a RT interview with Bashar Al Assad just posted. He (Bashar Asad) tells of Qatar funding the demonstrations initially with $50 and then with $100 a day. Poor factory workers who could not earn that much in a week flocked to these demonstrations.
    Patrick Cockburn is a deep state shill. All during the Syrian war hes been mis-informing and mis-directing. UNZ should kick him out.

    • Agree: bluedog
    • Replies: @byrresheim
  5. The protesters in the streets – the radicalism of whose demands and the their vagueness about how they might be achieved resembles French students during the 1968 events in France – are not able to say what they would put in place of the present corrupt and dysfunctional government.

    Hi Patrick, is it a possibility the protesters get paid daily?????

  6. Though they later declared that they had long detected a deep-laid conspiracy by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to use the protests to overthrow the political system in Iraq, they did not say so at the time.

    Of course Iran’s enemies are behind any new insurgency in Iraq. Or do you believe these protests are organic and home grown? Like the protests that started the war in Syria? Or the protests that started the war in Ukraine?

    • Replies: @Hossein
  7. plantman says:

    I met Cockburn once at a gathering in california. I tried to strike up a conversation with him but he remained strangely remote never looking me directly in the eye. What little he had to say, was unusually evasive and vague. He is certainly the most opaque man I have ever met.

    My wife dismissed him as “a weirdo”. Maybe she’s on to something.

  8. Hossein says:

    The revolutionary nationalist demonstartions in Iraq are the start of the demise of persian neo colonialism in the region. Nobody mentions the other fact that across the Shat Alarab water way in AlAhwaz area the native Arabs are also raising their fists against the Persian theocratic tyranny.Vidoes showing them burning Iranian flag and replacing it with the Ahwazi one are circling on the web.
    What is important to notice here is that those militias, financed ,trained and armed by persian authorities will not be a match for millions of Iraqis,Sunni and mostly Shia on the streets that demand the destruction of current Persian controlled regime .Deep down Arab nationalism is way more stronger than the nonsense of Shiism or Sunnism,,
    The persian Mullas are in deep shit. Once the flames of revolutionary Arab nationalism in Ahwaz ,the Achilles heel of persia, are lit then the demise of both Persian regional colonialism and the ruling theocracy will certainly be imminent.

    https://www.dusc.org/en/article/4887

  9. Hossein says:
    @WorkingClass

    They are organic and aimed at unseating a regime controlled by a neo colonial theocracy .

    The Iraqi uprising is nationalist and spear headed by various groups whose aim is to rid the country of sectarianism and the criminal inept Mullas and their terrorist militias.

    Like it or not this the the beginning of the end of the colonial Persian theocracy.

    • Replies: @Realist
  10. A123 says:

    The people of Iraq do not want their country to become a colony of the Iran. They realize that Iran is trying to decay Iraq down to the level of Lebanon where a sock puppet government answers directly to Tehran: (1)

    The Iranian consulate in Karbala, Iraq, was stormed by dozens of protesters on Sunday, who threw Molotov cocktails, climbed over the walls, took down the Iranian flag, and replaced it with the Iraqi flag. Three of the protesters were reportedly killed by security forces during the incident, while five more were killed in Baghdad on Monday.

    Karbala is a city of great significance to Shia Islam, the dominant religion of Iran. It has also been the scene of some of the most violent protests and security responses in the current Iraqi political crisis, in which Iran’s influence over Iraqi politics is a point of contention along with corruption, poverty, and the poor quality of public services.

    The U.S. sanctions are working, albeit slowly. In the past Iran would have the resources to buy & bribe its way out of trouble. Now that Iran is going broke, it no longer can afford its colonial ambitions. The end of Iranian expansionism is at hand.

    The last question to be answered is, “Will the Iranians go peacefully? Or, will they have to be driven out in a fight for freedom against Iranian oppression?” One hopes for the first option, but it is hard to see how the bloodthirsty, sociopath Khameni will allow it. It would be a threat to his authoritarian regime at home.

    PEACE

    _____

    (1) https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2019/11/04/iraq-protesters-storm-iranian-consulate-karbala/

    • Agree: Lot
    • LOL: bluedog
    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Gall
  11. Gall says:

    Right blame Iran despite the fact that there is no evidence that they are directly involved in repressing yet another color coded “revolt” in the region more than likely instigated by Israel and the Zionist controlled factions in the US.

    That said even if this was an “indigenous” revolt as the author says. What business is it to us?

    • Agree: Curmudgeon
  12. Sean says:
    @Hossein

    Iraq was created by the British to keep the Shia down. America has managed to put the Shai back on top.

    • Replies: @Hossein
  13. El Dato says:
    @A123

    Why do you sound like a Qatari radio announcer?

    • Replies: @A123
    , @Gall
  14. El Dato says:
    @Hossein

    Deep down Arab nationalism is way more stronger than the nonsense of Shiism or Sunnism

    Must be really deep deep down then what with everybody shitting on everybody and/or invading Europe.

    You also better not veer off the assigned path otherwise liberatory bomb delivery might occur to “discourage massacres” or something.

    But maybe you are actually secretly writing on behalf of The Only Democracy in the Middle East and Uncle Shmuel? Impossible to ascertain. This world is full of dark mirrors.

    (I wonder why this site shows BBC inanities on YouTube in the right frame? Who watches that??)

  15. A123 says:
    @El Dato

    Why do you sound like a Qatari radio announcer?

    Why do you sound like an Iranian shill?

    — Is it because you actually believe in your bloodthirsty Ayatollah of Death?
    — Or, are you merely an unscrupulous war profiteer out for personal profit?

    Though it is worth noting that the Qatar government is becoming fed up with the intransigence of Iranian offensive combat forces operating in Gaza. (1)

    PEACE 😇
    _______

    (1) https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191105-qatar-to-stop-providing-funds-aid-to-gaza-in-2020/

    • Replies: @Exile
  16. Gall says:
    @A123

    “The U.S. sanctions are working, albeit slowly.” Whatever you’re smoking must be awesome shit.

    If “working” means becoming more self sufficient economically and militarily then yeah they’re “working”. Moving closer into the sphere of Russia and China. “Working” even better than expected.

    As far as Israel’s Yinon Plan or America’s enslavement to the Zionist cause. That’s not really working that well at all. Especially when America is either forced to or willingly throws off the chains of Zionism now holding her to the Middle East and gets the f-k outta Dodge leaving our “Greatest Ally” (choke, gag, hurl) to fend for itself after creating so many enemies in the region.

  17. Gall says:
    @El Dato

    Actually he reads more like a Hasbera Clown.

  18. Hossein says:
    @Sean

    Nonsense. Iraq was the seat of Abbasid Kalifat and was called Bein Alnahrain, between 2 rivers, and has existed for thousands of years.
    That horse crap has been invented to portray Iraq as an artificial state while zisrael is bestowed bfake recognition and history.

    • Replies: @Sean
  19. Hossein says:
    @El Dato

    More nonsense. Anyone opposing the expansionist and colonialist plans of Persian theocratic regime is labelled Zionist and yet those who resort to such absurd accusation never have the guts to tell the truth about the relationship between the Zionists and the Mullas during Iran- Iraq war and therefter.

    The war against Iraq and people of Iraq was also coordinated and supported by the criminal Persian Mullas too.

    Shouting death to Israel by the Mullas has not made a dent in Israel’s position nor the persian regime that claims to back Palestinie and Palestinians has ever fired one shot towards occupied Palestine.

    The Persian Imperial olans for the regions are on a larger scale that the Zionist one for they use religious sectarianism to tear societies apart ,as the case in Iraq, to reestablish their so called Persian empire.
    In all honesty i see no diffrence between Zionism and Persian neo colonialism for both have the same exact goal and that is to colonize all Arab land . Best example is that the Zionists have been occupying Palestine since 1948 and the Persians have been doing that by occupying the region of Al Ahwaz since 1925.

    https://www.dusc.org/en/article/2840

    • Replies: @Rabbitnexus
  20. From what I know of the respective players including Mr Cockburn, i am inclined to take this reportage with a grain of salt. Though it strives to maintain a businesslike tone and avoid the usual emotive and suggestive language of American geopolitical reporting it is couched from the standard point of view prevalent in Washington which is itself deeply flawed and misinformed when it comes to Iran. Nothing about Cockburn’s reporting before now about the region has struck me as particularly well informed or insightful and this does not change that outlook.

    On balance of probabilities I’ll assume the usual suspects are behind the protests as he admits and the escalation is due to their own puppet snipers placed amongst it all. Any show of unbiased reporting about a chosen enemy is just part of something nefarious afoot targeting the subject as a rule of thumb. Another one, though this is not relevant with Patrick, is that Washington denying something is as good as proof they are guilty.

    • Replies: @Hossein
  21. The events in Bolivia lead me to suspect that the so-called protesters are being paid by yankee spymasters and thus are paid by foreign elements with all that implies; it also implies that they deserve what they get.

  22. @Hossein

    The Mullahs are not a single cohesive body but a changing collection of men elected to the position and they are always even up to the Ayatollah answerable to the people for whom they serve but one purpose which is to safeguard the agreed upon and accepted non debatable aspects of Quranic teachings. (possibility of doubt or debate on any teaching renders it moot for Muslims. Qran 3:7)

    The Ayatollah himself can be removed from office and another worthy successor of His bloodline (Same lineage as Muhammad and all the Biblical prophets including Jesus) placed in his stead if he should transgress in this respect. fatwas such as those issued by both Ayatollahs since the founding of the IRI against the use of Nuclear Weapons and declaring them un-Islamic have to be and are in accordance with direct and clearly understood Quranic verses. Nukes are un-Islamic on many levels in fact. For a Muslim nation to own them is grotesque and totally against the teachings of the exact things all Islamic sects in fact agree upon without argument. Oddly enough it is only Shias who seem to adhere to these things in all things. Never seeking Walis among non Muslims, even though Shias have been Wali to other non-Muslims when required. Witness the protection under Shia ruled states like Syria and Iran of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and many smaller religions and sects. Such minorities would be in real danger and often have been under Sunni rule which is why even when they are a minority themselves, a sizeable population of Shias will usually provide the most popular leadership for all but the more extremist Sunni factions. Precisely those everyone else including moderate and tolerant Sunnis, which is still most of them, fear coming to power. The same Takfiri extremists (Takfirism is as extreme as it gets. A literal death cult) the USA and allies have been training and arming in Syria and Iraq too.

    There is no such thing as Persian neo-colonialism. Iran is not expansionist in any sense. Shias look after Shias and other Muslims too who request it. What you see as expansionism is just traditional Shia communities who were sidelined and scapegoated by British and now US imperialists because Shia Islam does not bow to anything or anyone. We follow the one God and His teachings as they are written and we remain independent always as it is commanded. Shias make very poor subjects of Empire as a rule. Even their own that have been in the past. However in resistance the best comes out and nobody can stand against us as Hezbollah and Yemenis are teaching their foes. Iran is at the centre of this because unlike Sunnis we don’t have thousands of self appointed Imams and scholars we have one head of the Ummah as it was in the time of the Prophet. He resides in Iran and all Shias look to Iran for leadership and example. Worry about anyone who looks to Saudi Arabia as a example or that apostate abomination of Wahhabism to see where the inspiration for terrorism comes from. They just need the nod from Uncle Sam their master and they can be set upon any recalcitrant ally or enemy who refuses the orders from Washington

    You write like a hasbarat. An Iran hating propagandist flogging irrelevant and mostly centuries out of touch history without context and trying to palm it off as a modern analysis. Total codswallop straight from the lying mouth of the Zippers squatting and scheming down there on the stolen strip of land they foolishly imagine is theirs to keep if they just kill enough people and corrupt enough other foreign leaders. never going to happen. Iran is an ancient country and nation in the midst of a sea of artificial Empire derived ill conceived fake states. They are the natural leaders and organising base amongst the Arab rabble and when the hardliners propped up by the West go down along with their Zionist cousins, Iran will indeed be the dominant power but not for any expansionist reason, simply by virtue of their superior adherence to Islam which is something even many Sunnis have to begrudgingly admit is true. Iran has many enemies among the corrupt and elitist swine who rule over the rest of us with brutality or lies same thing. They have many more friends among the informed resistance to Empire. The allies of Empire are the head choppers who have been squarely aimed at Shias from the get go. It is the organising power and commitment of Shia Muslims which is just the true face of Islam really but which scares the Empire.

    Corruption exists everywhere and nowhere more prevalent in the Middle East. As such Iran is plagued by a hell of a lot of corruption. The rich and powerful and corrupt in Iran happen also to be the ones who support detente and cooperation under any terms with the USA. Of course they do. The corrupt stand to gain most and lose least by such a move and always have. Short of a pogrom what can Iran do? These anti-revolutionary traitors remain unmolested and able to ply their wickedness and give the Empire of doom a foot in the door. The vast majority of average Iranians just want a better deal from life that the US ‘led’ West is allowing them with its disgusting and cowardly sanctions.

    • Replies: @Miro23
  23. @Hossein

    Deep down Arab nationalism is way more stronger than the nonsense of Shiism or Sunnism …

    Is that a fact? Well, somebody forgot to inform Syria and Lebanon then.

  24. Exile says:
    @A123

    This is the same spiel we heard about Syria, Libya & Iraq. Bloodthirsty tyrants, anyone asking questions is a paid shill for Tyrant X, etc…

    It’s not working, Shlomo. Get a new scriptwriter for these shills & work a new angle. At least pretend to respect our cattle-brains more than this.

    • Agree: WHAT
    • Replies: @A123
  25. Anyone with a half a brain knew that that Shia majority in Iraq would befriend Shia majority Iran once the Baathists were deposed. What did Cheney and Rumsfeld expect??? Give me a break. In any event – there would be violence whether Iran was involved or not. Most cou tries wont allow what has been going on in Paris and Hong Kong.

  26. Realist says:
    @Sally Snyder

    Once American servicemen start dying for this rather nebulous cause, it will be the reaction of American voters that will ultimately determine the extent and duration of yet another Middle East military, nation re-engineering “adventure”.

    You have a lot more faith in the intelligence of Americans than I do. American servicemen/women have been needlessly dying in useless wars for decades. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and many smaller ones…with little concern by Americans.

  27. Hossein says:
    @Rabbitnexus

    There are no “usual” suspects behind the unrest In Iraq. The uprising is organic and mostly leaderless but certainly in very near future it will turn into well organized revolution , Intifada, against the persian expansionism and theocratic tyranny .

    Your lies are lousy and can easily be detected for you are nothing but a mouthpiece for a power that is using the disaters of war,brought on by the west upon Iraq, to further torment and torture an already wounded country by sectarianism and militia terrorism.

    In your nonsensical “analysys” you fail miserably to mention the real reasons for incursion into Iraq and not once you had the decency to mention the 350 murdered so far and the thousands of mostly young men and women. You are a racist Persian anti Arab who is dreaming of reviving your so called glory days of Korush and kashaiar shah on the ruins of Arab lands. Ain,t gonna happen.

    Also take a look at your racist treatment of Ahwazi Arabs whose land, yes it is theirs and not yours, that are treated like 3rd class citizens and the environmental terrorism used by your rotten regime to change ethnic demographics. Sounds familiar? Resembles Gaza and the jewish settler policies . Right? of course you deny that. The building of dams and opening them last year flooding Arab towns and villages in order to force the Arabs out is a great example of official persian racism that is targeting Ahwazi Arabs. Of course the resistance and the resilience of those great people not only backfired it actually galvnaized Arab Ahwazi nationalism rubbing your Mullas nose into dirt .
    Your “supreme ” commander Soleimani did not even dare to venture into Ahwaz fearing the peaceful demonstartors.

    The days of persian neo colonial and Imperial ambitions and goals against the Arabs are coming to an end and Sistani and Al Sadr, both Persian spies and agents of Mullas, will have to pack up and return to their shit holes in their own Persian promised land of Qom.

    • Replies: @SDC
  28. Realist says:

    The Iraqi ‘protesters’ are rioting to take over the government, just as in HK…they are destroying property and cost many millions.

    Cockburn just remember when Whites protest in America to rid this country of White hating shitlibs and the Deep State…they are just demonstaters.

  29. Realist says:
    @Hossein

    Like it or not this the the beginning of the end of the colonial Persian theocracy.

    What the hell does that mean…colonial? Do you mean like the CIA/American lead hegemonic overthrow of the elected leader of Iran in 1953???

  30. Sean says:
    @Hossein

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Bell

    The remedy is, over time, that which has been found in Italy. Pope and mujtahid end by being regarded merely as silly old men; but we haven’t reached that stage here yet. But if you’re going to have anything like really representative institutions – always remember that the Turks hadn’t; there wasn’t a single Shi’ah deputy – you would have a majority of Shi’ahs. For that reason as ‘Abdul Majid wisely said, you can never have 3 completely autonomous provinces. Sunni Mosul must be retained as a part of the Mesopotamian state in order to adjust the balance. But to my mind it’s one of the main arguments for giving Mesopotamia responsible govt. We as outsiders can’t differentiate between Sunni and Shi’ah, but leave it to them and they’ll get over the difficulty by some kind of hanky panky, just as the Turks did, and for the present it’s the only way of getting over it.

    The remedy is, over time, that which has been found in Italy. Pope and mujtahid end by being regarded merely as silly old men; but we haven’t reached that stage here yet. But if you’re going to have anything like really representative institutions – always remember that the Turks hadn’t; there wasn’t a single Shi’ah deputy – you would have a majority of Shi’ahs. For that reason as ‘Abdul Majid wisely said, you can never have 3 completely autonomous provinces. Sunni Mosul must be retained as a part of the Mesopotamian state in order to adjust the balance. But to my mind it’s one of the main arguments for giving Mesopotamia responsible govt. We as outsiders can’t differentiate between Sunni and Shi’ah, but leave it to them and they’ll get over the difficulty by some kind of hanky panky, just as the Turks did, and for the present it’s the only way of getting over it.

    I don’t for a moment doubt that the final authority must be in the hands of the Sunnis, in spite of their numerical inferiority; otherwise you will have a mujtahid-run, theocratic state, which is the very devil..—Gertrude Bell, letter to her father, Oct. 3, 1920.

    Of course there has been civilization there for several thousand years but the modern state of Iraq was created with an eye of restricting the influence of Shia clerics , and this was done by installing the Sunni minority as overlords. The Gulf family dictatorships were installed to separate the Arab population from the oil wealth (Saddam triad to reverse this). Anyway, the existence of a Shia dominated Iran–Iraq territorial contiguity from the Jordan to the border of Afghanistan is a nightmare for western strategists. It is alway the same: when you attack a potentially strong, but a weak and divided people (as the Germans were for most of their history) you unite them. Then watch out! American action against Iraq (needed so the US forces could withdraw from Saudi and quench popular unrest) has acted as a conglomerateur for the Sunnis.

    Iran threatening the Saud regime through their proxies in Yemen and drone attacks is why the US is becoming hysterical about Iran, because it reverses the withdrawal from Saudi Arabia by US forces that was the prize secured by the overthrow of Saddam.

    Having an infidel army protecting the self styled ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Places ‘ Saud family dictatorship is causes devout (like Bin Laden)people in Saudi Arabia to feel contempt for their rulers, and is thus unsustainable It was the cause of the American decision to invade Iraq. I think America is closer to deciding to seriously attack Iran than is generally realised. Saudi Arabia and the security of its current regieme is vital to the US. Quite possibly the development of CO2 fracking by highly capitalised US energy corporations will make Saudi Arabia even more important in the future

  31. A123 says:
    @Exile

    Don’t you ever get tired of lying for your Ayatollah?

    I speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about your Prophet Khameni. That is why you fear me so much.

    If you want to end your fear, accept the truth and step into the light. Jesus can forgive even your lengthy list of sins.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @SDC
  32. nsa says:

    The Iranians show the Chinese how to properly use their Hong Kong proxies to “negotiate” with traitorous rioters……..

  33. SDC says:
    @A123

    Don’t say his name, you dirty jew.

    • Troll: A123
    • Replies: @A123
    , @Curmudgeon
  34. SDC says:
    @Hossein

    “The Iranians have survived for thousands of years without us, yet we cannot survive even one day without them.” — some arab

    Strange how Ahvazis never seem to revolt despite thousands of dollars in smuggled CIA jew gold in it for them if they do, even balochis don’t revolt and they apparently have it the worst. You saudi shills dont know the first thing about iran, shiism, or islam in general given you are, all of you, crypto jews.

  35. A123 says:
    @SDC

    Don’t say his name, you dirty jew.

    Whose name? God (The Father), Jesus (The Son), or the Holy Spirit? I am as Christian as Mike Pence. Why do you assert that I am Jewish?

    I do not know why you have such a hard time with reality. It must be all that head banging to your diety, the Ayatollah Khameni, and his Cult of Personality. Concussion related brain damage is cumulative, but you may be able to improve with medical assistance.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @SDC
  36. SDC says:
    @A123

    Neither you nor Mike Pence are Christian.

    • Replies: @A123
  37. A123 says:
    @SDC

    Neither you nor Mike Pence are Christian.

    Given that you are a devout follower of the Anti-Christ Khameni. Your denial confirms that VP Pence and I are both Christians in good standing.

    THANKS 😃

    • Replies: @anon
  38. anon[117] • Disclaimer says:
    @A123

    Iran should speak to Nuland or Bolton how to get some Israeli snipers or those who are good at shooting at the back of the fleeing children or at the double amputees .

    • Replies: @A123
  39. Miro23 says:
    @Rabbitnexus

    Corruption exists everywhere and nowhere more prevalent in the Middle East. As such Iran is plagued by a hell of a lot of corruption. The rich and powerful and corrupt in Iran happen also to be the ones who support detente and cooperation under any terms with the USA. Of course they do. The corrupt stand to gain most and lose least by such a move and always have. Short of a pogrom what can Iran do? These anti-revolutionary traitors remain unmolested and able to ply their wickedness and give the Empire of doom a foot in the door. The vast majority of average Iranians just want a better deal from life that the US ‘led’ West is allowing them with its disgusting and cowardly sanctions.

    This is the story across the world, from Venezuela, Honduras, to the rest of S.America, the EU, E. Europe, Russia.

    The USA reaching out to rich, powerful and corrupt locals in the name of neoliberalsim and globalization – to sell out their people in favour of Guiadó like US puppets.

  40. @El Dato

    “Invading Europe”

    Only that didn’t happen since Suleiman the Magnificent marched on Vienna in, what, the 17th century?

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  41. MEexpert says:
    @plantman

    Maybe the snipers are another CIA confection like they were on the Maiden Square

    There is no maybe about it. The protests and demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon are both organized and backed by Washington/CIA. Target: Iran backed militias in Iraq and Hezbullah in Lebanon. Ukeraine model of color revolution is being applied in Iraq and Lebanon.

    Ours is a government like Mafia. You don’t like the government, use snipers to start protests and demonstrations. Go to a country and steal their wealth (oil), or make them buy our weapons in return we offer our protection. The mafioso boss “Don” Trump was well tained in New York.

  42. anonymous[222] • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    Is Bacevich too old for a Bar Mitzvah?

  43. anonymous[242] • Disclaimer says:

    The only thing which comes to mind when I read such news;

    A genocidal pox on the evil whitrash, who have been responsible for such satanism and barbarism this world has ever known.

    Sigh!

  44. A123 says:
    @anon

    Iran already has plenty of of experience butchering children. Remember the Sbarro bombing of children? How about the attack on innocents at the Olympics?

    Killing children is a pillar of of belief in the Satanist faith of the Blood Prophet.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @anon
    , @MEexpert
  45. anon[222] • Disclaimer says:
    @A123

    Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is an internationally-recognized human rights crime—but those being impacted are harshly punished for for not only acts of resistance, but even mere advocacy for their rights.

    Americans should add to Israel’s / zionist Jewry’s human rights crimes the psychological warfare Jews are carrying on against children in US public schools.

    • Replies: @A123
  46. A123 says:
    @anon

    Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is an internationally-recognized human rights crime—

    Anon222,

    Do not be deceived by the U.N. The United Nations is a war criminal organization. For example they:

    — Provide arms to terrorists
    — Allow U.N. facilities to be used as weapons depots
    — Supply ambulances to be used as troop transports

    And this is only a sampling of their international law violations.
    __

    No one who is rational & objective takes the U.N. seriously as an instrument of ‘international’ law. Essentially all other highly biased and discriminatory ‘international’ bodies follow in the pattern set them.

    If you want to improve human rights and international law in one easy step. Disband the U.N. and its absurd & corrupt NGO contemporaries. They defile human rights every day they continue to exist.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @MEexpert
    , @anon
  47. @plantman

    Answer–Washington

    That is partially correct. The complete answer is Israel’s lackey’s in Washington and London.

  48. @SDC

    dirty jew

    Long, long ago, in another time and mind space, I was informed that, in your statement, dirty is redundant.

  49. The snipers? Dollar to a doughnut they are Israeli paid or just plain old Israeli provocateurs.

  50. Yet more examples of Mideast tribes running around offing each other for no obvious reason… tsk, tsk, what a surprise.

    • Replies: @Herald
  51. MEexpert says:
    @A123

    Iran already has plenty of of experience butchering children. Remember the Sbarro bombing of children?

    You are a total moran. Iran had nothing to do with Sbarro. You also forget the carpet and sometime targetted bombing by Israel in West Bank and in Gaza.

    How about the attack on innocents at the Olympics?

    Ditto here. There again palestians were accused of attacking Israeli athletes. Israel has been killing innocent Palestinian children. Palestinian leaders, Hezbullah leaders and Iranian scientists. These are well documented facts. Israel just killed Islamic Jihad leader.

    Not long ago you were a Jew defending Israel. Now you are claiming to be a christian. What will you be next.

    Killing children is a pillar of of belief in the Satanist faith of the Blood Prophet.

    Your attempt at being a Muslim just failed.

  52. MEexpert says:
    @A123

    Do not be deceived by the U.N. The United Nations is a war criminal organization. For example they:
    — Provide arms to terrorists
    — Allow U.N. facilities to be used as weapons depots
    — Supply ambulances to be used as troop transports

    Just replace UN with Israel or the US and you will have it right.

    And this is only a sampling of their international law violations.

    You are so correct.

  53. A123 says:

    You are so correct

    I am glad you agree that the U.N. is the problem.

    Now will you stick with the truth? Or find some way to recant?

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @MEexpert
  54. And the rest of the world should crush these color revolutions too.

  55. @Rev. Spooner

    Nobody should get kicked out.

    But I agree that these articles are a disappointment.

    Still, they contain useful information and as long as commenting is allowed, no harm can be done.

    There is weighty, if not good reason why most comment sections are now closed. I am glad that this is one of the last baytions of free discussion.

  56. @Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist

    They stayed a lot longer in Hungary and what is now Ex-Jugoslavia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria.

  57. anon[222] • Disclaimer says:
    @A123

    And this is only a sampling of their international law violations.

    Agree — only a sample.
    UN’s most egregious act was the contrive approbation of Israel as a state.

    If you want to improve human rights and international law in one easy step. Disband the U.N.

    Agree — and in that “one easy step” disband the terror state Israel.

    BUT —

    the main idea of the video was not the UN but the irrefutable evidence that Israel commits human rights abuses / crimes against Palestinians, even children.
    That’s an international law concept, not confined to UN.

    What have you to say to the evidence of Israel’s commission of human rights crimes against Palestinian children?

  58. MEexpert says:
    @A123

    I am glad you agree that the U.N. is the problem.

    You have English comprehension problem as well. I said, replace UN with Israel and all your statements are then correct. Truth is that Israel is guilty of all those crimes.

  59. Herald says:
    @Monotonous Languor

    Yes of course, so obvious as to be almost unbelievable.

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