MESOPOTAMIA NEWS Intel: How many US troops do 2020 Democrats want to keep in the Middle East?

Bryant Harris January 15, 2020 – AL MONITOR – Democratic 2020 US presidential candidates (L-R) billionaire activist Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in the seventh Democratic 2020 presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, US, Jan. 14, 2020.

Democratic presidential hopefuls started Tuesday’s debate by slamming President Donald Trump’s Iran policy and articulating their own vision for the future US force posture in the Middle East.

Former Vice President Joe Biden vowed to “leave troops in the Middle East in terms of patrolling the Gulf,” characterizing the roughly 40,000 US troops currently stationed in the Arab Gulf states as “a small number of troops.” He also called it “a mistake to pull out the small number of troops that are there now to deal with [the Islamic State],” vowing to leave US special forces in place to deal with the terrorist group.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) billionaire activist Tom Steyer, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) participate in the seventh Democratic 2020 presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton – HP1EG1F09ANZZ

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Opinion : HOW TO BE JEWISH ? – Fascism Just Isn’t Fun Enough for Israelis

There’s no problem for Israel to be Jewish and democratic simultaneously, so long as the two terms remain empty of content

Boaz Izraeli Jan 16, 2020 7:35 PM HAARETZ – ISRAEL

Passover, at Lake Kinneret. We can identify a whole gamut of species: incidental Judaism, semi-anarchic Judaism, Judaism of Mizrahi pop music, New Age Judaism, pothead Judaism. Gil Eliahu

Jewish and democratic – that’s ostensibly the source of the problem, of the paradox. You can’t be both a cat and a dog. But the current era, which is a time of miracles and wonders, is raising the possibility that you can be both, that there’s no real contradiction there. To continue to insist that these are two different, conflicting things that don’t go together – a Jewish state and a democratic state – is simply not to go with the flow. Everyone who does do that, however, knows that in the sort of Zen Buddhist void in which Israel is floating, no hard and fast meaning is actually attributed to the terms themselves. All is diffuse, amorphous, inchoate – it’s all fun. People who go with the flow know that this dilemma is a thing of the past and that now the State of Israel and its citizens have no problem being democratic and Jewish in the same breath, or being anything else that they may want to be, for that matter. Each of these terms has undergone a dazzling process of flexibility, while becoming empty of content. No contradiction is conceivable between nothing and zilch.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS EXCLUSIV : SECRET MEETING IN BERLIN

Syria war: Society leaders hold secret peace summit in Berlin – By Damien McGuinness BBC News, Berlin – 16 Jan 2020 –

Some of Syria’s leading figures met in secret this week in Berlin to overcome the sectarian divides that are tearing their country apart. This is shadow diplomacy, away from the glare of publicity and political pressures, to find a path to peace. Sunni tribal chiefs, some of whom have their own militias, sat opposite Alawite dignitaries with close links to the Assad regime.

A Kurdish Yazidi leader was next to a former Syrian ambassador to the UK. A couple of dozen key figures from Syria’s most important families, clans and communities gathered around the table, including Christians, Kurds, Druze, Sunnis and Alawites.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : NUR NOCH LIEBE IM INTERNET ?! – WOHER ABER STAMMT DER HASS ? (FACEBOOK PLANT EIGENES GERICHT)

Der Hass stammt einfach aus dem Netz! so wie der Schriftsteller Fritz Reuter seinen Inspektor Bräsig die Herkunft der Armut erklären lässt: „Die Armut kommt von der Powerthe!“

Facebooks Rederegeln / Ist facebook ein Staat? –  Wie frei darf das soziale Netzwerk über die Kommunikation bestimmen? Von Tobias Gostomzyk UNI DORTMUND

DORTMUND. 16 Jan 2020 – Die Zeichnung eines bekannten Karikaturisten zeigt einen Mann, der einen Vertrag studiert. Dann fragt er den Verkäufer, was das Kleingedruckte bedeuten soll. Dieser antwortet: „Das ist nur der Seriosität wegen.” So einfach ist es mit den Gemeinschaftsstandards von Facebook nicht, die jeder zu akzeptieren hat, der das soziale Netzwerk nutzen möchte.

Denn Facebook ist für die Meinungsbildung Medium und Faktor: Es vermittelt Posts und verleiht so grundsätzlich jedermann eine Stimme. Gleichzeitig filtert es Inhalte wie Hassrede heraus. Wenn Inhalte veröffentlicht werden, entscheiden Facebooks Algorithmen maßgeblich darüber, welche Inhalte sichtbar werden.

Weiter plant das Unternehmen, ein eigenes Gericht einzurichten. Es soll abschließend über die Zulässigkeit von Posts entscheiden. Und außerdem formuliert das Tech-Unternehmen einseitig Gemeinschaftsstandards, aus denen sich rechtsverbindlich Äußerungsstandards ergeben. So soll es für FacebookNutzer beispielsweise unzulässig sein, jemandem mitzuteilen: „Ich hasse dich!”, oder jemanden als „Freak” oder „Feigling” zu bezeichnen.

Jemanden zu hassen ist aber genauso wenig rechtswidrig wie, jemanden zu lieben.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INTEL BY MEIR AMIT INTELLIGENCE & TERRORISM INFORMATION CENTER / ISRAEL – Spotlight on Global Jihad (January 9-15, 2020)

Highlights of the events

  • On January 12, 2020, a ceasefire agreed upon between Turkey and Russia entered into effect in the Idlib region. Even after the ceasefire was declared (January 13 and 14, 2020), military friction continued between the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the Syrian forces. In the ITIC’s assessment, it is highly doubtful whether the ceasefire will survive for long because the fighting forces on the ground have no real interest in maintaining it over time. At a summit in Moscow, held by intelligence officials from Russia, Syria and Turkey, Syrian representative Ali Mamlouk declared that Syria was determined to continue fighting against “terrorism” until the liberation of the entire Idlib region and the application of Syrian sovereignty there.
  • In Iraq, there was a meeting of senior commanders from the Popular Mobilization (the umbrella framework of Shiite militias), which examined the continuation of the campaign against ISIS following the killing of Qassem Soleimani and of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization). At the meeting, it was decided that the extensive security activity against ISIS would continue in close coordination with the Iraqi security forces. In the ITIC’s assessment, this decision may reflect an Iranian decision to continue the campaign of the Iraqi Shiite militias against ISIS, even after Soleimani’s death. However, on the ground, the Shiite militias operating as part of the Popular Mobilization continued their counterterrorism activity against ISIS and the Iraqi security forces.
  • In Niger, ISIS operatives attacked a Niger army base near the border with Mali. The Niger army sustained about 100 fatalities. In Pakistan, a terrorist blew himself up at the Taliban headquarters near Quetta (the capital of Balochistan). According to ISIS’s announcement, 20 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded. In the rest of ISIS’s provinces abroad, including Nigeria and the Sinai Peninsula, routine attacks continued.
Idlib region
Overview

On January 8, 2020, operatives of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham mounted a local attack and took control of four villages about 20 km northeast of Maarat Nu’man. In response, Syrian army forces fired artillery and Russian and Syrian fighter jets carried out a series of airstrikes. On January 12, 2020, a ceasefire agreed upon between Russia and Turkey entered into effect. At that time, the Russian and Syrian airstrikes stopped. However, the following day (January 13, 2020), the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham continued its military activities against Syrian targets (artillery, antitank and sniper fire). In the ITIC’s assessment, it is highly doubtful whether the ceasefire will survive because both the Syrian army and the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham, the two main sides fighting on the ground, have no real interest to maintain it.

Offensive initiative by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham in the Maarat Nu’man area
  • On January 8, 2020, the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the rebel organizations initiated an attack against the Tiger Forces under the command of Col. Suhail Hassan in the rural area northeast of Maarat Nu’man. It was reported that the forces of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham with massive artillery support had taken over four villages in the area of Maarat Nu’man (Khotwa, January 8, 2020).

Control zones in the Maarat Nu'man area (updated to January 8, 2020). Green: the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other rebel organizations; Red: the Syrian army; Turquoise: area taken over by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham on January 8, 2020; Red dotted line: the Aleppo-Damascus highway (M5); circle with the Turkish flag: Turkish supervision post (Khotwa, January 8, 2020)
Control zones in the Maarat Nu’man area (updated to January 8, 2020). Green: the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and other rebel organizations; Red: the Syrian army; Turquoise: area taken over by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham on January 8, 2020; Red dotted line: the Aleppo-Damascus highway (M5); circle with the Turkish flag: Turkish supervision post (Khotwa, January 8, 2020)

  • The Syrian army dispatched reinforcements to the scene of the attack and fired massive artillery at the rural area of Maarat Nu’man (Ibaa, January 10, 2020; Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, January 9, 2020). Syrian and Russian aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes (Edlib Media Center, January 8, 2020).
Ceasefire agreement between Russia and Turkey in the Idlib region

On January 12, 2020, a ceasefire entered into effect in the Idlib region. The ceasefire was agreed upon in the meeting that took place on January 8, 2020, between the Russian and Turkish presidents (Anadolu News Agency; Sputnik News, January 12, 2020). As in previous agreements, it is doubtful whether the current ceasefire agreement, in which Turkey has the greatest interest, will be maintained for a long time. The Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham (the dominant rebel organization) is not party to the agreement and it is highly doubtful whether it has any interest in a ceasefire in view of the achievements of the Syrian forces (which have reduced the area controlled by the rebel organizations). In the ITIC’s assessment, the Syrian army strives to complete the removal of the rebel organizations from the Idlib region, so it also does not have any real interest in maintaining the ceasefire.

  • On the ground, on January 13 and 14, 2020, the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham continued its local military activity, which included artillery fire north of Maarat Nu’man; firing antitank missiles at Syrian army forces west of Aleppo; nighttime sniper fire (by the thermal sniper shooting company) at Iranian-affiliated militiamen; and clashes with the Syrian army east of Maarat Nu’man. On the other hand, the Syrian army fired artillery at Maarat Nu’man, and Syrian and Russian fighter jets carried out airstrikes (January 14, 2020). All these activities indicate that fighting on the ground continues, in spite of the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement.

Thermal sniper shooting company of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham shooting at “Iranian occupation militias” (i.e., militias handled by Iran). The shooting took place west of Aleppo, while militiamen were trying to evacuate the bodies of their operatives (Ibaa, January 13, 2020)
Thermal sniper shooting company of the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham shooting at “Iranian occupation militias” (i.e., militias handled by Iran). The shooting took place west of Aleppo, while militiamen were trying to evacuate the bodies of their operatives (Ibaa, January 13, 2020)

Appeal to residents of the Idlib region to evacuate the area controlled by the rebels
  • On January 12, 2020, the Syrian Army General Headquarters distributed leaflets asking residents of the Idlib region to evacuate the area. As of January 13, 2020, residents of the region were asked to arrive at three humanitarian crossings opened by the Syrian regime (Al-Hobait, about 50 km south of Idlib; Abu ad-Duhur, about 40 km southeast of Idlib; and Al-Hader, about 20 km south of Aleppo). Medical teams and means of transportation will await them at the crossings, and from there they will be transported to safer areas. The Syrian Aid Center in Hmeymim will supervise the three crossings (Khotwa, January 12, 2020).

The Syrian army calls on residents of the Idlib region to evacuate the area controlled by the rebels (Edlib Media Center, January 12, 2020)
The Syrian army calls on residents of the Idlib region to evacuate the area controlled by the rebels (Edlib Media Center, January 12, 2020)

  • On January 13, 2020, it was reported that dozens of civilians left the areas controlled by the rebels and moved through the Al-Hader humanitarian crossing (SANA, January 13, 2020). However, there are still no indications of a large-scale departure of civilians from the areas controlled by the rebel organizations. In the ITIC’s assessment, the appeal to the residents to evacuate the Idlib region was intended to prevent escalation of the refugee problem in the event of a Syrian attack to take over Idlib, the stronghold of the rebel organizations and the Syrian army’s strategic target.
The Syrian representative at the Moscow summit: Syria is determined to liberate the entire Idlib region
  • On January 13, 2020, a Syrian, Russian and Turkish meeting took place in Moscow with the participation of senior intelligence officials. The Syrian side was represented by Maj. Gen. (Liwa) Ali Mamlouk, the head of Syria’s National Security Bureau, while the Turkish side was represented by Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT). The Russian side was represented by several senior intelligence officials (SANA, January 13, 2020). The Syrian News Agency reported that Syrian representative Ali Mamlouk demanded from Turkey “to fully and immediately withdraw” from Syrian territory. As to the Idlib region, according to Mamlouk, Syria is determined to continue fighting against “terrorism” (i.e., the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham and the other rebel organizations) until the liberation of the entire Idlib region and the application of Syrian sovereignty there (SANA, January 13, 2020).
The Euphrates Valley
The area of Al-Mayadeen and Albukamal
  • Prominent ISIS activity this week was an ambush for a Syrian army convoy southwest of Al-Raqqah. In addition, the activation of IEDs and targeted killings continued. Following are ISIS’s main activities (mainly according to the organization’s claims of responsibility):
    • On January 13, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked SDF fighters about 50 km northeast of Deir ez-Zor. One SDF fighter was wounded (Telegram, January 13, 2020).
    • On January 13, 2020, an “agent” of the SDF Intelligence was targeted by gunfire in Al-Hawaij, 4 km northeast of Al-Mayadeen. He was killed (Telegram, January 13, 2020).
    • On January 11, 2020, an IED was activated against a tanker carrying oil for the Syrian regime, on the road leading to the Al-Omar oil field, about 20 km east of Al-Mayadeen. The tanker, belonging to Al-Qaterji, a Syrian MP and commander in the Homeland Defense Forces, went up in flames (Telegram, January 12, 2020).
    • On January 11, 2020, a parked motorcycle was detonated in Hajin, 25 km north of Albukamal, against the deputy chairman of the local council of the SDF forces. The deputy chairman and one of his escorts were wounded (Telegram, January 11, 2020).
    • On January 11, 2020, hand grenades were thrown at the house of a commune chief in the village of Harijiya, about 40 km northeast of Al-Mayadeen. There were no casualties. A vehicle was damaged (Telegram, January 11, 2020).
    • On January 10, 2020, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle on the road leading to the Al-Tank oil field, about 50 km north of Albukamal. Five SDF fighters were killed (Telegram, January 10, 2020).
    • On January 8, 2020, an IED was activated against an SDF armored vehicle in Al-Jaradi, about 20 km southeast of Al-Mayadeen. An SDF commander and his security guards were killed (Telegram, January 8, 2020).
Al-Raqqah area
  • On January 11, 2020, a Syrian army convoy was ambushed near the Al-Rasafah area, about 40 km southwest of Al-Raqqah. Several Syrian soldiers were killed or wounded. ISIS operatives seized weapons and ammunition (Telegram, January 13, 2020).

The ambush area in Al-Rasafah (Google Maps)
The ambush area in Al-Rasafah (Google Maps)

A Syrian army vehicle in flames (Telegram, January 13, 2020)    ISIS operatives shooting at a Syrian army convoy.
Right: ISIS operatives shooting at a Syrian army convoy. Left: A Syrian army vehicle in flames (Telegram, January 13, 2020)
  • On January 14, 2020, an IED was activated against an SDF vehicle west of Al-Raqqah. The passengers were killed or wounded (Telegram, January 14, 2020).
The Iraqi arena
ISIS activity

ISIS continued its activity in Iraq at low intensity. This was probably due to incidents related to the killing of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and the stormy weather. The following are highlights of ISIS’s activity in the various Iraqi provinces this week (according to ISIS’s claims of responsibility).

Al-Anbar Province

  • On January 8, 2020, ISIS operatives attacked an Iraqi army headquarters about 300 km west of Ramadi. The forces exchanged fire. Nine soldiers were killed or wounded (Telegram, January 9, 2020).
  • On January 8, 2020, several mortar shells were fired at Popular Mobilization compounds on the road between Al-Qaim and Akashat, near the Iraqi-Syrian border (Telegram, January 9, 2020). No casualties were reported.
  • On January 13, 2020, an Iraqi army headquarters was attacked near the Al-Walid border crossing, at the border between Iraq and Syria (near the tri-border area of Iraq, Syria and Jordan). According to ISIS report, five soldiers and an officer were killed. According to the Iraqi media, an officer with the rank of captain was killed and three Border Police fighters were wounded (Telegram; Al-Sumaria, January 14, 2020).

Al-Walid crossing, between Iraq and Syria (Google Maps)
Al-Walid crossing, between Iraq and Syria (Google Maps)

Diyala Province

  • On January 8, 2020, a commando compound was targeted by sniper fire about 60 km north of Baqubah. Two commandos were killed (Telegram, January 9, 2020).

Salah al-Din Province

  • On January 8, 2020, an IED was activated against an Iraqi army foot patrol about 70 km south of Kirkuk. Two soldiers were killed. An officer and two soldiers were wounded (Telegram, January 10, 2020).
  • On January 8, 2020, hand grenades were thrown at an Iraqi army watchtower about 30 km southwest of Baqubah. One soldier was wounded (Telegram, January 10, 2020).
  • On January 11, 2020, a Popular Mobilization force, in cooperation with Iraqi Federal Police, mopped up a number of areas including forests, fruit gardens, rivers and canals south of Samarra (about 100 km northwest of Baghdad)
    (al-hashed.net, January 11, 2020).
Counterterrorist activities by the Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization

The Popular Mobilization: The extensive security activity against ISIS will continue

On January 13, 2020, commanders of the Popular Mobilization (the umbrella framework of Shiite militias) held a meeting at the headquarters of the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization (i.e., Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed along with Qassem Soleimani). At the meeting, they examined the security and military priorities of the Popular Mobilization forces. At the meeting, it was decided that the extensive security activity would continue and that “quality” operations would be carried out against ISIS operatives. It was also decided to continue to fortify the defense positions and to defend the borders against infiltration [by ISIS operatives] (al-hashed.net, January 13, 2020).

  • The decision by the Popular Mobilization commanders emphasized the need to intensify the coordination with the Iraqi security forces. Support for the decisions of the Iraqi Parliament and Prime Minister on the removal of foreign forces from Iraq was also expressed (al-hashed.net, January 11, 2020). However, on the ground, the militias operating in the framework of the Popular Mobilization continued their counterterrorism activity against ISIS.

Meeting on security and military priorities held by the Popular Mobilization commanders at the headquarters of the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization. On the chair in the middle there is a photo of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in the US attack on January 3, 2020 (al-hashed.net, January 13, 2020).
Meeting on security and military priorities held by the Popular Mobilization commanders at the headquarters of the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization. On the chair in the middle there is a photo of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in the US attack on January 3, 2020 (al-hashed.net, January 13, 2020).

Nineveh Province

  • The Iraqi army carried out a security operation called Promising Peace, during which they spent two days combing an area about 30 km north of Baghdad. They located a hiding place of ISIS operatives containing IEDs, weapons and ammunition (@SecMedCell Facebook page of the Iraqi government, January 10, 2020).
  • Other incidents are as follows:
    • On January 12, 2020, Popular Mobilization forces exposed a hiding place containing an ISIS workshop for manufacturing weapons about 90 km southwest of Mosul. They found over 100 IEDs, explosive belts, weapons, and a large quantity of military equipment. This hiding place served as the main headquarters for carrying out attacks in sectors in the southern and western Nineveh Province (al-hashed.net, January 12, 2020).
    • On January 11, 2020, Iraqi Federal Police intelligence teams detained two ISIS operatives in Baghdad (Iraqi News Agency, January 11, 2020).
    • On January 14, 2020, a force of the Al-Anbar Operations Directorate combed the area of the Rutba District, about 280 km west of Ramadi (west of the Al-Anbar Province). Three ISIS operatives were detained. Another force apprehended an ISIS operative making his way from Ramadi to the Rutba Desert (Iraqi News Agency, January 14, 2020)

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ERDOGAN’S & PUTIN’S MERCENARIES – Washington Demands Immediate Exit of Mercenaries From Libya

Thursday, 16 January, 2020 – 12:45  ASHARQ AL AWSAT  – The US has welcomed diplomatic efforts to end violence in Libya, wrote the press officer at the US State Department Spokesman’s Office in a letter to Asharq Al-Awsat.

Aaron Testa said Washington supports Libyans’ demand to build a secure future without any foreign intervention. He pointed out that the US administration “positively appreciates the Libyan leaders who understand the need for a ceasefire, followed by a political process suggested by Libyan parties and not imposed from abroad.”

Testa stressed the need to withdraw all foreign forces that have fueled the conflict in the country, urging all Libyan parties to seize this opportunity to address the political, economic and security issues that divide them.He affirmed his country’s support for Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The officer also called on countries that claim to support stability in Libya to withdraw their forces immediately, including Russian mercenaries and the Syrian fighters they support and whose intervention has greatly deteriorated the humanitarian situation there.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Two Thousand Syrian Fighters Sent to Libya

16 Jan 2020  Turkey is facilitating the deployment of two thousand Syrian fighters to support the internationally backed government in Libya’s civil war, according to a Guardian report. The fighters have reportedly signed six-month contracts and been promised Turkish nationality.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/exclusive-2000-syrian-troops-deployed-to-libya-to-support-regime?utm_source=dailybrief&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyBrief2020jan16&utm_term=DailyNewsBrief

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BEST IDEA : Counter Iran with an independent Kurdistan !

by Diliman Abdulkader and Tiffany J. Howard   | January 16, 2020 12:00 AM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The death of Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani placed the entire Middle East, if not the world, on edge. Iran’s recently growing stronghold only demonstrates that it is time for the United States to support an option that will counter Iranian power and chaos: an independent Kurdistan. In the past, the U.S. relied on its allies to help balance power in the Middle East. Israel remains a strong American ally but needs our help to deter Iran’s blatant power grabs. Previously, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon acted as buffers between Iran and Israel. But Iran has actively sought control in each of these three countries in order to create a land bridge between itself and Israel. Today, Iran controls Lebanon’s Hezbollah and props up Syria’s brutal dictator, Bashar Assad, using him as a puppet.

Despite America’s history and presence in Iraq, Iran’s influence there, too, is undeniable. Iran was behind the recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Iran orchestrated the Iraqi parliament’s vote to expel U.S. troops. And Iran is responsible for the attacks on American service members in Iraq at the al Asad air base and in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS SURPRISE : DON TRUMP FOR KNESSET?  

Donald Trump & the Lubavticher Rebbe are running for Knesset?

Few ‘Anglo candidates’ are in realistic slots to make it into the 23rd Knesset.

By GIL HOFFMAN   JANUARY 16, 2020 15:01 – JERUSALEM POST – US President Donald Trump is busy with his own re-election campaign in America, but a political party in Israel submitted his name as a Knesset candidate in the March 2 election.

The Red and White Party, headed by businessman and activist Ami Feinstein, placed Trump eighth on his list of candidates and the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, ninth on the list. Feinstein submitted the list on Wednesday to the head of the Central Elections Committee, Supreme Court Judge Neil Hendel.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Special Dispatch No. 8497 Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani Counters Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Call For Anti-U.S. March, Warns Against ‘Those Seeking To Exploit Protests To Achieve Certain Goals’

 

Following Muqtada Al-Sadr’s call for a one-million-man march to end the presence of the U.S. military in Iraq, a website funded by Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani’s Al-Kafeel International Network released a statement from the Grand Ayatollah made in December 2019 reminding Iraqis that there are some parties that wish to exploit them in order to serve the agendas of others. The following report will examine Al-Sistani’s recent warning, instructions from Al-Sadr to his supporters, and related reactions.

The Al-Sistani Response To Al-Sadr

On January 15, 2020, a website associated with Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, warned against the call of Muqtada Al-Sadr, whom Iraqi protestors see as Iran’s new favorite Shi’ite cleric in Iraq, for a massive demonstration to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

The official website of Al-A’taba Al-Abassyia, which covers activities related to Imam Abbas’ shrine in Karbala, Iraq, and is sponsored by Al-Sistani’s Al-Kafeel International Network, re-published a statement that the Ayatollah made on December 6, 2019, in which he strongly warned “against those who seek to exploit the protests that call for reforms in order to achieve certain goals that will hurt the utmost interests of the Iraqi people, and are not in line with their true values.”

“We are here republishing the Highest Authority’s sermon from December 6, 2019, as a warning,” the website explains. The website also tweeted the statement using a hashtag that translates to “Tahrir Square,” the key location for the anti-government protesters in Baghdad.

Over the past three months, Al-Sistani has been critical of Iran’s use of Iraq as a proxy battleground for their war against the U.S., as well as the involvement of Iran-backed Iraqi militias in the killing of protesters. Al-Sistani also condemned the recent American and Iranian attacks in Iraq, saying they represent “flagrant violations of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

sd8497.jpg
Al-Sistani’s warning (Source: Alkafeel.net)

Al-Sadr Issues Instructions For Supporters

On his side, Muqtada Al-Sadr’s online spokesman, who goes under the name Saleh Mohammad Al-Iraqi, tweeted instructions for Al-Sadr’s supporters regarding the mass demonstration that Al-Sadr and commanders of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) called for on January 14.

sd8497a.jpg
Al-Sadr’s Instructions (Source: Twitter.com)

“We will demonstrate to denounce the occupation and its violations of Iraq’s sovereignty. To live in a safe Iraq with our peaceful neighbors and friends,” it says.

The statement stresses that those who will take part in the demonstration should only raise the Iraqi flag, and should, preferably, wear white shrouds, a sign that reflects “their readiness to sacrifice their lives for the love of their homeland.”

Read The Full Report

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