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Sadr's aide threatens Allawi of facing 'hell' if elite included in Cabinet

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Bennett: US agreed to counter Iran in Iraq while Israel fights it in Syria


Jerusalem and Washington have divided up the fight against Iran, with Israel taking responsibility for countering the Islamic Republic in Syria and the United States in Iraq, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Saturday.

Last Thursday, Bennett returned from a working visit to Washington, in which he met US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior American officials.

Speaking at a campaign event on Saturday, he said the two countries had agreed to work in tandem to block Tehran’s efforts to create a corridor through which it could move men and materiel from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, and out to Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.

“I met with my colleague the American defense minister Mark Esper, and we sorted out the coordination exactly — they’re taking Iraq, and we’re taking Syria,” Bennett said at a synagogue in the Tel Aviv suburb of Givat Shmuel.

A Pentagon spokesperson said he could not comment on the matter, but said, “the United States Department of Defense remains committed to a strong military partnership with Israel, as well as the enduring defeat of [Islamic State] in Iraq.”

In his speech, Bennett confirmed that Israel had conducted strikes against Iran in Syria in the past week, apparently referring to an attack on Iranian-linked sites in the predawn hours of last Thursday morning.

“We have significantly intensified, including this week, with very strong attacks against Iran, against the Iranian presence, against Iranian bases, against Iranian surface-to-air missiles, against Iranian fighters, against Iranian militias in Syria and more and more and more, and look at how we’re turning their strength into weakness,” he said.

Israel has said it will not tolerate permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and has conducted hundreds of airstrikes in the country against Iranian targets in recent years, though generally Israeli officials have refrained from acknowledging specific airstrikes, as Bennett appears to have done.

Israeli intelligence has long warned that Iran was working to establish its land corridor as a tool toward regional hegemony, using it to arm and strengthen the proxy militias under its control.

“It’s like a contiguous puzzle — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. Imagine a water pipe, only the water is rockets and terrorism. If you take out a piece of the pipe, then you’ve broken up the contiguity and it dries up,” Bennett said.

Bennett, the leader of the hardline right-wing religious Yamina party, who was appointed defense minister some three months ago, laid out his proposed strategy to address the threat posed by Tehran, saying his aim was to expel Iranian forces from Syria within a year and to turn Syria into the Islamic Republic’s “Vietnam,” a reference to the disastrous American war in the east Asian country.

“That territory called Syria — we have intelligence superiority and aerial superiority there,” he said. “It’s a bad place for Iran to be.”

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On 2/10/2020 at 12:12 PM, Donziman said:

Pitcher, i always enjoy hearing from you. Although this idea of the US taking charge

of the country has already been tried and failed miserably . Remember Mr Bremmer and

the US pick Prime minister Maliki. We will never understand the mid east culture. Our own

so called democracy is barely working as we speak. We are in no position to teach how a 

country is supposed to be run......imho..

Maliki was endorsed by Obama because they were both Iranian puppets.  Removing the Iranian influence from both governments is a bonus for all of our citizens. 

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35 minutes ago, yogaman said:

Maliki was endorsed by Obama because they were both Iranian puppets.  Removing the Iranian influence from both governments is a bonus for all of our citizens. 


:bravo:   :tiphat:

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11 hours ago, coorslite21 said:

"If Sayyed (Lord) Moqtada hears that Allawi has granted a ministry to any side, specifically the Shiite armed factions, Iraq will turn into hell for him and will topple him in just three days," Kadhem Issawi said.


This only means that if Sadr can't have a place at Allawi's table, he'll make sure no one else does either. He's pretending to honor the agreement between the GOI and protesters while waiting for his opportunity to corrupt future members of the GOI. It's more likely his body will assume room temperature before he gets that opportunity.



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3 hours ago, Pitcher said:

Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias in Soleimani's wake


Shortly after Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, the Tehran-backed Lebanese organization Hezbollah urgently met with Iraqi militia leaders, seeking to unite them in the face of a huge void left by their powerful mentor’s death, two sources with knowledge of the meetings told Reuters.

The meetings were meant to coordinate the political efforts of Iraq’s often-fractious militias, which lost not only Soleimani but also Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a unifying Iraqi paramilitary commander, in the Jan. 3 attack at Baghdad airport, the sources said.

While offering few details, two additional sources in a pro-Iran regional alliance confirmed that Hezbollah, which is sanctioned as a terrorist group by the United States, has stepped in to help fill the void left bySoleimani in guiding the militias. 

All sources in this article spoke on condition of anonymity to address sensitive political activities rarely addressed in public. Officials with the governments ofIraq and Iran did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the militia groups.

The discussions shed light on how Iran and its allied groups are trying to cement control in the unstable Middle East, especially in the wake of the devastating U.S. attack on a revered Iranian military leader.

The Tehran-backed militias are critical to Iran’s efforts to maintain control over Iraq, where the U.S. still maintains some 5,000 troops. The country has experienced years of civil war since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein and more recently, the government - and the militias - have faced growing protests against Iran’s influence in the country. Iran helped found some Iraqi militia groups.

In the months ahead of his death, Soleimani had waded ever deeper into the Iraq crisis, holding meetings with the Iraqi militias in Baghdad as Tehran sought to defend its allies and interests in its power struggle with the United States, one of the two Iraqi sources said.

Hezbollah’s involvement marks an expansion of its role in the region. The Shi’ite group, founded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982, has been at the heart of Iran’s regional strategy for years, helping Soleimani to train paramilitary groups in both Iraq and Syria.

One pro-Iran regional official said Hezbollah’s guidance of the militias would continue until the new leadership in the Quds Force – a unit of the Revolutionary Guards led by Soleimani since 1998 – gets a handle on the political crisis in Iraq.

The meetings between Hezbollah and Iraqi militia leaders began in January, just days after Soleimani’s assassination, the two Iraqi sources said. Reuters couldn’t confirm the number of meetings or where they took place. One source said they were in Beirut and the other said they were either in Lebanon or Iran.

Sheikh Mohammad al-Kawtharani, the Hezbollah representative in Iraq who worked closely with Soleimani for years to guide the Iraqi militias, hosted the meetings, the Iraqi sources said.

Kawtharani picked up where Soleimani left off, the Iraqi sources said. The sources said Kawtharani berated the groups, as Soleimani had done in one of his final meetings with them, for failing to come up with a unified plan to contain popular protests against the Baghdad government and the paramilitaries that dominate it. 

The government and militia groups have killed hundreds of protesters but not managed to contain the rebellion.

Kawatharani also urged a united front in picking a new Iraqi prime minister, the Iraqi sources said. Since then, former Iraqi communications minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi has been named - a development welcomed by Iran and accepted by the militia-linked parties it backs but opposed by protesters.


Dang there is that buzzing I hear again.  It's getting closer and closer and hey solamie must have heard it just before he didn't any longer.  The Reapers are a coming so that they can meet the grim reaper in person.



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I just find it so entertaining to watch Sadr try to do anything these days. Now that the curtain has been pulled back to disclose the Great Oz is just another Iranian puppet. The demonstrators don’t even like him anymore, specially since his little Iranian minions pulled back to stop demonstrating with the real hero’s of this story!  The question of the century is of course Parliament, how will Allawi navigate it with all the little Iranians still there???.    🤔

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Iraq’s Protest Movement Is an Existential Challenge for the Political Elite


Anti-government protesters in Iraq have spent more than four months calling for political and economic reforms and venting their anger at the failure of successive governments to provide better living standards and economic opportunities. 


Security forces, caught off-guard by the strength and resilience of the youth-driven protest movement, have responded with a campaign of repression that has killed more than 600 people and wounded tens of thousands more across the country. But the crackdown has only intensified the crisis, as Iraqis continue to take to the streets demanding justice for slain demonstrators and reforms of the political system.

The government has been largely ineffective in the face of the unrest. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has led a caretaker government since announcing that he would resign in late November, as the country’s leading political factions—the pro-Iran Bina coalition and the Sairoon bloc, which is headed by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr—took two months to settle on a compromise candidate to replace him: Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, a former communications minister. But immediately after President Barham Salih announced Allawi’s nomination earlier this month, protesters denounced Allawi as part of the same political establishment that they have been railing against. Like Abdul Mahdi before him, Allawi was chosen after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the leaders of the largest blocs in Iraq’s parliament.

That does not sit well with young Iraqis who make up much of the protest movement, and who have largely been left out of the political process. Nearly 60 percent of Iraq’s population is under 25 years old—too young to remember the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s regime. After Saddam’s overthrow in the U.S. invasion in 2003, this generation has grown up in the shadow of poor governance, corruption and weak democratic institutions that exist mainly to serve the interests of elites. They are worn out by years of mismanagement and continuous violence.

Their protests are a challenge to the elites framed not around sectarian identities but concrete political and economic issues. They are demanding an overhaul of the economy, better delivery of basic services, an end to corruption, and changes to the constitution and electoral system that make it easier for regular people to participate politically. Iraqis throughout the country are united in a rejection of the “isms” that have sequentially ravaged the nation for over a century: colonialism, monarchism, republicanism, communism, nationalism, Baathism, authoritarianism and sectarianism. With youth unemployment at 36 percent and the population growing by around 1 million per year, Iraq’s demographics are a ticking bomb. There is nothing close to an acceptable social contract on offer for Iraqis, which has ledprotesters to calculate that things will not improve without pressure, and they are willing to risk their lives to force change.

Despite being rejected by protesters, Allawi has nevertheless tried to distinguish himself from other Iraqi leaders through public statements in support of holding early elections and a commitment to meeting demonstrators’ demands for reforms. He has until March 2 to form a credible government that can win a vote of confidence from the parties that make up Iraq’s fractious parliament, while trying to remain relatively independent. But even if he is successful, he may not have enough political power to follow through on his promises and win back the trust of a skeptical population. Regular elections must be held by April 2022 but are likely to be called sooner, so Allawi will not have time to enact any far-reaching reforms.

Realistically, he can only hope to make progress on two issues. The first is protecting protesters and achieving a measure of justice for those who have died in clashes with security forces and other armed groups that operate with impunity. By restoring a sense of security on the streets and guaranteeing the freedom of assembly and expression, Allawi could give demonstrators space to take stock of their position and organize themselves so that they can engage in dialogue or outline a practical roadmap for reforms.

The second is delivering on early elections, which will require parliament’s cooperation to agree on a date and a vote to dissolve itself—likely a difficult task. Even if a date can be set, there is no guarantee that turnout would be higher than the alarmingly low rate of 44.5 percent in the last general election, in 2018. But recent changes to election laws, despite being widely panned by protesters, should make the process fairer and encourage new faces to participate. To ensure that demonstrators have a voice in the elections, the new government could help facilitate the creation of a new party composed of protest supporters and ensure that elections are conducted fairly.

The deeper reforms that demonstrators are calling for, however, will be beyond Allawi’s reach. The best he can hope for is to manage expectations until new elections can be held. Already, he is struggling to form a Cabinet of his own choosing, and there are rumors that he may not even be confirmed as prime minister.

That puts the protesters in a difficult position. Even if Allawi’s government is able to protect them in the short run and help give them a greater voice in elections, Iraq’s political system is fundamentally resistant to the kinds of substantial reforms they are calling for. The most influential parties and interests—including Bina coalition members like Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Badr Organization, which have seats in parliament as well as armed wings in the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces, and their rivals in the Sadrist Sairoon bloc—can call on vast networks of patronage and financial power. They also retain major influence in the state bureaucracy and over government ministers, and some enjoy substantial backing from foreign powers like Iran, making it unlikely that they will willingly give up power.

Even so, the events of the past few months have shaken the political elite. The resilience of protests, even in the face of killings and crackdowns, and the government’s loss of popularity have shown that the tide is turning against the status quo. Sooner or later, the rulers of Iraq will need to come to terms with the fact that they are not as popular or as acceptable as they once were. Every year that passes by without improvement in the daily life of the average Iraqi means an ever-greater loss of trust.

Iraq’s political elites are approaching the point of no return, after which the only possible result is the collapse of the system. For protesters, this means there is room to seek incremental reforms, if they are willing to compromise. The next two years may represent the last, best chance for those changes.



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