MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “AFTER OBAMA FOLLOWS OBAMA!” : FOCUS : Israel worries that Biden will re-adopt Obama’s Iran policy

The most important thing now for Israel’s security agencies is for the Biden administration to dialogue with them and include them over its future Iran policy.

Ben Caspit Dec 4, 2020 – AL MONITOR – Israel’s security agencies and its Muslim Sunni allies in the Middle East can ostensibly be pleased with the situation in Iran after four years of the Trump administration. US sanctions have exacerbated Iran’s economic downturn to the point of near bankruptcy, and its international standing is not what it was, either. Its progress in the military-security arena has also taken some touch knocks.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS ANALYSIS : IRAN VIES FOR MORE INFLUENCE IN IRAQ AT A BUDGET PRICE

by Farzin Nadimi  – PolicyWatch 3405 – December 3, 2020

Tehran aims to earn hard currency for its relatively cheap military hardware, ideally boosting its leverage in Baghdad at a fraction of the cost that the United States has been spending there.

On November 14, a large Iraqi defense delegation began a four-day visit to Tehran as a follow-up to previous exchanges with Iranian officials. The trip was led by Sunni defense minister Juma Saadoun al-Jubouri and included the commanders of each Iraqi military branch. According to Jubouri, its main goal was to “deepen” bilateral military and security cooperation. Three days later, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, reportedly paid a secret visit to Baghdad.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : SLEEPY START BY JON BIDEN – Biden’s Pick for CIA Director Uncertain Amid Concerns from Lawmaker – THE SOUFAN GROUP

4 Dec 2020 – Some Democratic senators have reportedly expressed in private their concerns to Joe Biden’s transition team about the president-elect’s consideration of intelligence veteran Michael Morell to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, citing Morell’s defense of the spy agency’s interrogation tactics after 9/11. Within the past two weeks, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) voiced reservations about Morell, a former acting director of the CIA who had been widely viewed by lawmakers and former officials as a top contender for the job. Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) last week accused Morell of being a “torture apologist” and said Morell’s nomination would be a “nonstarter.”

The Biden team this week reportedly sought additional feedback from other Democratic senators about Morell, including from Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who told the transition that Morell was a qualified candidate and that his defense of the post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program shouldn’t be disqualifying. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chaired the Intelligence Committee when it fought the Obama administration in 2014 to release a partially redacted summary of its report on the CIA’s use of torture, said on Thursday when asked about Morell that she had “to do more work before answering.”

Amid the outreach to democratic lawmakers, the Biden team has reportedly considered other potential nominees, including David Cohen, a former top Treasury Department official who later served as deputy CIA director under President Obama. Cohen, a partner at the WilmerHale law firm, spent much of his government career specializing in sanctions and financial intelligence and efforts at Treasury to counter money laundering, halt terrorist financing, and craft sanctions regimes, including on Russia and North Korea. Wall Street Journal, CNN

 

 

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Top of the Agenda DONALD TRUMPS TRUSTEE – U.S. Director of National Intelligence: China Is the Greatest Security Threat

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said China is the biggest threat to the United States and to freedom and democracy around the world.

Ratcliffe’s broadside comes as the Donald J. Trump administration continues to put pressure on Beijing. The administration yesterday tightened visa rules (WaPo) for members of the Chinese Communist Party and added more companies (Reuters) to a blacklist of firms with alleged ties to China’s military. In his op-ed, Ratcliffe said China is trying to achieve economic, military, and technological dominance by stealing American intellectual property and supplanting U.S. companies—an approach he called “rob, replicate, and replace.” He also warned of China’s growing cyber capabilities and efforts to influence U.S. lawmakers, as well as threats posed by Chinese tech firms such as the telecommunications giant Huawei.

 

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : DIE LEFT LIBERAL HERRSCHAFT WÜNSCHT IHRE TOTALITÄRE ABSICHERUNG

Hass im Netz : Mit Zensur gegen Terror

  • Von Lennardt Loss – –  FAZ 04.12.2020-10:23

Facebook hat gut lachen: Das neue EU-Gesetz könnte große Tech-Firmen begünstigen anstatt sie zu regulieren. – Die EU plant ein Gesetz, um die Verbreitung von extremistischer Propaganda im Netz zu verhindern. Für einige Mitgliedstaaten könnte es jedoch zu einer politischen Waffe werden.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS CHINA 1936  / DER FASCHISMUS VON ROT CHINA

Boykott der Winterspiele? : Zwischen Olympia-Gold und Grausamkeit

Besucher flanieren in Chongli. Hier sollen 2022 Wettkämpfe der Olympischen Winterspiele ausgetragen werden. Während die Uiguren in Zwangsarbeit schuften, sollen 2022 in Peking die Olympischen Winterspiele stattfinden. Doch nun bringen einflussreiche Politiker einen Boykott ins Gespräch.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS KURDISTAN – IRAQ : DOWNGOING BROKEN KURDISTAN

Police forces crack down on Sulaimani protestors with tear gas, arrests

23 hours ago Dilan Sirwan – 4. Dec 2020 – RUDAW – Also in Kurdistan

PUK co-chair calls on Sulaimani protesters to be ‘patient’ until Kadhimi meeting

First woman mayor appointed in Duhok province

UNHCR gives KRG $5 million for camp services: official

Teachers protest in Sulaimani over unpaid salaries

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Teachers protesting their months-delayed wages in the Kurdistan Region’s eastern city of Sulaimani were hit with tear gas and arrests by police on Thursday, according to sources.
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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INTEL BY MEIR AMIT CENTER / ISRAEL – Spotlight on Global Jihad (November 26- December 2, 2020)

The moment the container compound was hit

Main events of the past week
  • In the Idlib region, incidents continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations, mainly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
  • In recent months, the desert region in eastern Syria has become the epicenter of ISIS’s activity in the Syria Province. The Syrian army and the forces supporting it fail to provide an effective response to ISIS’s intensive guerrilla activity. Last week, ISIS’s activity was characterized by ambushes, planting mines, and activating IEDs against vehicles and convoys of the Syrian army and the forces supporting it. The Syrian army conducted searches for ISIS squads with Syrian and Russian air support. ISIS reported dozens of dead and wounded among the Syrian forces.
  • In Iraq, ISIS’s intense activity in the various provinces continued, in the form of activating IEDs, sniper and light arms fire, firing mortar shells, targeted killings, and firing Katyusha rockets. One noteworthy attack this week was the firing of rockets at the refinery near the city of Baiji. One of the rockets caused a fire. Local workers gained control of the fire and the incident ended without casualties.
  • ISIS’s other provinces in Africa and Asia continued their routine activity. Noteworthy examples:
    • Northern Sinai: ISIS operatives carried out attacks against the Egyptian security forces in northern Sinai. An Egyptian army officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel was seriously wounded in the Bir al-Abd region.
    • Nigeria: ISIS’s intensive activity against the Nigerian army and local civilians continues in Borno State, in the northeast of the country. This week, the British media reported that ISIS-affiliated operatives had murdered at least 110 farmers in a village near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. ISIS did not claim responsibility for the attack.
    • Chad: ISIS operatives planted an IED against a Chadian army ship in the northern part of Lake Chad. This was the second attack of its kind, recently carried out in Lake Chad. ISIS reported dozens of dead.
    • Indonesia: East Asia Province operatives attacked local Christian residents, murdering four men and setting fire to homes and a house of worship.
The Syrian arena
The Idlib region

In the Idlib region, exchanges of artillery fire continued between the Syrian army and the rebel organizations. Southwest of Idlib, there were local clashes between HTS and the Syrian army. According to an HTS report, three soldiers, including an officer, were killed in the clashes (Ibaa, December 1, 2020). Local sources reported about Russian airstrikes southwest of Idlib (November 26 and 29, 2020)

ISIS’s activity in Syria[1]
The region of Deir ez-Zor and Al-Mayadeen
  • On November 26, 2020, an SDF roadblock was targeted by machine gun fire about 8 km southeast of Al-Mayadeen. Two SDF fighters were wounded.
  • On November 24, 2020, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle about 10 km north of Deir ez-Zor, on the east bank of the Euphrates River. Three SDF fighters were wounded.
The desert region in eastern Syria

In the past week, there has been an increase in the intensity of ISIS activity in the desert region of eastern Syria, mainly in the form of planting mines, ambushes, and activating IEDs against Syrian army vehicles and convoys.

Sites of incidents in the past week in the desert region in eastern Syria. The planes represent Russian airstrikes (Google Maps)
Sites of incidents in the past week in the desert region in eastern Syria. The planes represent Russian airstrikes (Google Maps)
The desert region west of the Euphrates Valley
  • On November 29, 2020, forces supporting the Syrian army hit a mine in the Jabal Bishri region, about 80 km west of Deir ez-Zor. Three soldiers were killed (Deir ez-Zor 24 Twitter account, November 29, 2020).
  • On November 25, 2020, HTS reported that, according to local sources, the Homeland Defense Forces and the Palestinian Quds Brigade searched for ISIS squads in two areas: in an area about 15 km south of Deir ez-Zor and an area deep in the desert west of Al-Mayadeen (Ibaa, November 25, 2020).
The desert region northeast of Hama
  • On November 29, 2020a force of the Syrian army and the forces supporting it hit a mine in the desert area east of Hama. Two officers and three soldiers were wounded (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 29, 2020).
  • On November 25, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked positions of forces supporting the Syrian army southwest of Palmyra. A total of 11 fighters were killed and four others were wounded (OrientNews Twitter account, November 26, 2020).
Russian airstrikes
  • On November 25, 2020Russian fighter jets carried out more than 30 airstrikes in the desert region between Rasafah (about 40 km southwest of Al-Raqqah) and Ithriya (about 95 km northeast of Hama). The airstrikes apparently targeted ISIS positions (Al-Badia 24 Twitter account, November 25, 2020).
Al-Sukhnah airstrikes
  • On November 30, 2020, Syrian army units operated against ISIS deep in the desert, on the Ithriya road (about 95 km northeast of Hama). The operatives of an ISIS squad were killed. In addition, several vehicles were destroyed (Syrian army@Tiger_forces Twitter account, November 30, 2020).
  • On November 29, 2020, an IED was activated against a vehicle of the Syrian army or the forces supporting it northwest of Al-Sukhnah (about 60 km northeast of Palmyra). The passengers were killed or wounded.
  • No November 29, 2020, an IED was activated against a Syrian army vehicle west of Al-Sukhnah (about 60 km northeast of Palmyra). The passengers were killed or wounded.
  • On November 29, 2020, ISIS operatives set up an ambush north of Al-Sukhnah (about 60 km northeast of Palmyra). About 15 Syrian soldiers and fighters of the forces supporting the Syrian army were killed or wounded (Al-Badia 24 Twitter account, November 29, 2020).
  • On November 27, 2020, several IEDs were activated against a Syrian army convoy west of Al-Sukhnah, (about 60 km northeast of Palmyra). According to ISIS, 20 soldiers were killed. In addition, two tanks and a vehicle were destroyed.
The desert region in the Aleppo-Hama-Al-Raqqah triangle
  • On November 29, 2020, there were clashes between the Syrian army and the forces supporting it, and ISIS operatives on roads in the desert region of Aleppo-Hama-Al-Raqqah. Ten Syrian soldiers and 16 ISIS operatives were killed. In addition, Russian and Syrian fighter jets carried out several airstrikes against ISIS operatives deployed in the region (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, November 29, 2020).
The Iraqi arena
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)
Provinces of Iraq (Wikipedia)

ISIS attacks in the various provinces[2]

Diyala Province
  • On November 29, 2020, Iraqi soldiers were targeted by sniper fire on the outskirts of Al-Azim, about 60 km north of Baqubah. One soldier was killed and five others were wounded, including two officers. According to ISIS, one of the wounded is a lieutenant colonel named Mussab al-Shamri, an Iraqi army fawj commander.
  • On November 26, 2020, two Iraqi soldiers were targeted by sniper fire about 60 km north of Baqubah. One was killed and the other was wounded.
  • On November 23, 2020, two Iraqi soldiers were targeted by sniper fire about 60 km north of Baqubah. One was killed and the other was wounded.
Salah al-Din Province
  • On November 29, 2020two Katyusha rockets were fired at the refinery in the Al-Siniya area, near the city of Baiji. An Iraqi security source confirmed that one rocket hit the Al-Siniya refinery and caused a fire in one of the oil pipelines. The same source added that the control valves were shut off and that the fire was contained after oil tanks and crude oil pipelines had caught fire. No casualties were reported during the incident (Al-Sumaria, November 29, 2020).
 Fire breaking out as a result of an ISIS rocket hitting a crude oil pipeline (photo taken by security cameras at the site – Shafaq news, November 30, 2020)   The moment the container compound was hit
The moment the container compound was hit. Left: Fire breaking out as a result of an ISIS rocket hitting a crude oil pipeline (photo taken by security cameras at the site – Shafaq news, November 30, 2020)
  • On November 24, 2020, policemen were targeted by machine gun fire about 65 km north of Baghdad. Two were killed and another was wounded.
  • On November 24, 2020, several mortar shells were fired at the houses of two Iraqi police officers about 70 km north of Baghdad. According to ISIS, accurate hits were observed.
  • On November 23, 2020, a Tribal Mobilization fighter was shot and killed north of Baiji.
Kirkuk Province
  • On November 29, 2020, an Iraqi police compound was targeted by sniper fire about 60 km southwest of Kirkuk. One policeman was wounded.
  • On November 28, 2020, an Iraqi police headquarters was targeted by machine gun fire, RPG rockets and mortar shells about 10 km southwest of Kirkuk. Several policemen were killed or wounded.
  • On November 26, 2020, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army vehicle about 30 km south of Kirkuk. Two soldiers were killed and two others, one of them an officer, were wounded.
  • On November 25, 2020, an Iraqi police headquarters was targeted by mortar shells about 30 km south of Kirkuk. According to ISIS, accurate hits were observed.
  • On November 24, 2020, a Katyusha rocket was fired at an Iraqi army headquarters about 80 km southwest of Kirkuk. According to ISIS, the headquarters sustained damage.
Al-Anbar Province
  • On November 28, 2020, ISIS operatives broke into a house where there were several Iraqi soldiers and a local mukhtar, in a village west of Ramadi (about 90 km west of Baghdad). Five soldiers and the mukhtar were killed. Weapons and ammunition were seized. Afterwards, there was an exchange of fire between ISIS and a force which arrived at the scene for assistance. Three soldiers were wounded.
Counterterrorism activities by the Iraqi security forces
Kirkuk Province
  • On November 29, 2020, teams of the intelligence agency subordinate to the Iraqi Interior Ministry apprehended two wanted ISIS operatives. The two admitted under interrogation that they had supplied ISIS squads with intelligence including names, positions, and movements of the Iraqi security services (Al-Sumaria, November 29, 2020).
  • On November 28, 2020, Iraqi police arrested two wanted ISIS operatives about 30 km south of Kirkuk. The two admitted under interrogation that they had given logistical assistance and communications devices to an ISIS squad which had operated southwest of Daqouq (Al-Sumaria, November 28, 2020).
Al-Anbar Province
  • On November 29, 2020, teams of the Iraqi Military Intelligence, operating with the assistance of drones, located an arms depot in the Al-Sham Desert, in the Al-Anbar Province. The depot contained 35 canisters of C4 plastic explosive and 31 tripwires for the activation of IEDs (Facebook page of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, November 29, 2020).
Nineveh Province
  • On November 28, 2020, an Iraqi army force located an ISIS weapons depot about 60 km west of Mosul. The depot contained IEDs and tripwires (Facebook page of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, November 28, 2020).
The city of Baghdad
  • On November 27, 2020, teams of the Directorate of the Baghdad Intelligence and Security, operating in collaboration with the Iraqi police, arrested a wanted ISIS operative in a neighborhood southwest of central Baghdad (Facebook page of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, November 27, 2020)

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BYE BYE JOE BIDEN  – Der Iran verabschiedet ein Gesetz zum Verbot internationaler Inspektoren an Nuklearstandorten

3 Dec 2020 – MESOP – Das iranische Parlament verabschiedet ein Gesetz, das den USA bis Februar die Aufhebung der Sanktionen vorsieht, um die ankommende Biden-Regierung unter Druck zu setzen.

Das iranische Parlament hat am Mittwoch ein Gesetz verabschiedet, das darauf abzielt, den gewählten Präsidenten Joe Biden unter Druck zu setzen, fast sofort nach seinem Amtsantritt wieder in das iranische Atomabkommen einzutreten.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BIDEN’S INTEL CHOICES ARE OLD OBAMA CHAPS !

 

Biden Plans to Keep Wray as FBI Director, Cohen is Top Choice for CIA  – THE SOUFAN CENTER . 3 Dec 2020

President-elect Joe Biden reportedly has no plans to remove Christopher Wray, the FBI director installed by President Trump, if he is still in the job when the new administration comes in. While FBI directors, who are Senate-confirmed, generally serve full 10-year terms, Trump acted against norms when he fired FBI Director James Comey amid the ongoing federal investigation into Russian election interference.

 

Trump and his allies have reportedly become increasingly frustrated that Wray would not meet the president’s calls for the launch of a formal investigation to examine the business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter Biden, and at his resistance to firing officials tied to the 2016 Russia probe that Trump has alleged acted improperly. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to say on Wednesday whether President Trump had confidence in Wray. “He’s made no assessment, at least in my presence, about that,” she told reporters. Some House Democrats have previously indicated that they are open to the idea of Wray staying in his post when Biden takes office, and they have urged Trump not to fire additional officials before his departure in January.

Another key position on Biden’s national security team, director of the CIA, is also expected to be filled soon, with David Cohen, a former deputy CIA director, reportedly emerging as the leading choice. Cohen, who succeeded Biden’s director of national intelligence pick Avril Haines at the CIA, worked closely with her during the Obama administration. Biden has reportedly not made a final decision on Cohen, and his selection depends in part on the mix of people he wants to lead the Pentagon and other agencies. No formal announcement is expected on his pick for the CIA until at least next week. New York Times, The Hill

www.mesop.de

 

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