the Insane US War on Iran: a lull, a window of peace, or tactical waiting?

Opinions abound, including ‘inside sources’; a bit of a Round-Up.

‘Iran sent ‘multiple messages’ to US that its attacks were done’, Pamela Brown and Paul LeBlanc, CNN, 12 hours ago

“Iran initiated contact through at least three back channels starting late Tuesday, including through Switzerland and other countries. There were “multiple messages and they were all the same,” a person familiar with the matter said. Iran wanted to convey their retaliatory action had ended — and was waiting to see how the US would respond.” [snip]

“Multiple administration officials previously told CNN there is a growing belief among some Trump administration officials that Iran’s missiles intentionally missed areas populated by Americans when they targeted two Iraqi bases housing US troops early Wednesday local time. However, Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was his belief that Iran was trying to kill American military personnel in the attack.”

And yet: ‘Iranian messages behind attacking US bases in Iraq, and the consequences’, elijahmagnier.com, Jan. 8, 2020

“Just after midnight local time today, Iranian ballistic missiles “Fateh 313” hit two military bases in Iraq that host a significant concentration of US forces, along with other allies. The Iranian direct hit was the retaliation for the US assassination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds brigade Sardar Qassem Soleimani and his companions, killed by a US drone at Baghdad airport last week. The Iranian retaliation carries several strategic messages to the Middle East for this year 2020 and for many years to come. What are these messages? What will come of Iran’s open attack on the most powerful country in the world?

A high-ranking Iranian official contacted the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi after midnight to inform him that Iran had decided to retaliate for the assassination of its General. Iran said it would hit a concentration of US forces in Iraq, without hitting any Iraqi forces.”

[riddle me this if you can:]

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi – according to well-informed sources in Baghdad – answered that “this act may carry devastating results on the Middle East: Iraq refuses to become the theatre for a US-Iran war”. The Iranian official replied: “Those who began this cycle of violence are the US, not Iran; the decision has been taken.”

Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi informed the US forces of the Iranian decision. US declared a state of emergency and alerted all US bases in Iraq and the region in advance of the attack.

Iran bombed the most significant US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where just in the last two days, the US command had gathered the largest number of forces. Many US bases, particularly in Shia controlled areas and around Baghdad, were evacuated in the last days for security reason towards Ayn al-Assad, a base that holds anti-nuclear shelters. Ayn al-Assad is located in the desert of al-Anbar, close to the Iraqi-Syrian borders. This is the same base from which the drones which assassinated Sardar Soleimani and his companions at Baghdad airport took off. Iran also bombed another US base in Erbil, Kurdistan.” [snip]

Iraq has lost its sovereignty in the middle of the Iran-US battle. It can recover the control of its country only when the US forces leave Iraq as the Iraqi parliament has decided it. The decision came as a response to the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was serving as an envoy in a diplomatic capacity. Soleimani was officially invited by the Iraqi government in 2014 when Iraq asked Iran to send 100 Iranian advisors to Iraq to fight ISIS. He had Iraqi immunity and led the Iranian intelligence cell in Baghdad, not far from the US embassy, in coordination with Russian, Syrian and Iraqi officials. He was a diplomat carrying a diplomatic passport and was asked to meet the Prime Minister of Iraq the following day at 08:30 am to receive a message from Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi agreed to play a mediation role between Iran and Saudi Arabia and was the go-between following Iran’s peace initiative to the Arab leaders. Soleimani arrived in Iraq following a request from President Trump to calm down the tension with Iran. It was a multi-task trip.”

“This is far from being the last Iranian hit against US forces in the Middle East. But if President Trump decides to refrain from retaliating, Iran will no longer hit the US forces directly and announce its responsibility. Iran and its allies are not expected to stop harassing the US forces if they stay in Iraq.

Another message was sent to Israel: the newly appointed commander of the IRGC-Quds Brigade Ismail Qaani met with all Palestinian groups in Tehran. According to a well-informed source, Iran promised “unlimited support to all Palestinian groups so that they reach their objective”. Indeed, Iran announced, “Israel is in partnership with the US in the assassination of Sardar Soleimani.

The time when the US can hit without being hit back seems over. Since Pearl Harbour, this is the first time a country claims its responsibility for hitting US targets. This grave and complicated situation can end if there is a total withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. This step, already officially requested by the Iraqi parliament, can spare US servicemen’s lives.

The assassination of Sardar Soleimani closed all roads of this US administration to all possible negotiation with Iran. Russia and China are waiting just behind the door to move in and fill the vacuum.”

Craig Murray seems to believe we’re in a window of peace his Jan. 8 column:

“There is this morning a chink of light to avoid yet more devastation in the Middle East. Iran’s missile strikes last night were calibrated to satisfy honour while avoiding damage that would trigger automatically the next round. The missiles appear to have been fitted out with very light warhead payloads indeed – their purpose was to look good in the dark going up into the night sky. There is every reason to believe the apparent lack of US casualties was deliberate.

Even more important was the Iraqi statement that “proportionate measures” had been “taken and concluded” and they did not seek “further escalation”.

I agree their response was proportionate and I would say that I regard the Iranian action so far, unlike the assassination of Soleimani by the US, legal in international law.

The entire world should congratulate Iran for its maturity in handling the illegal assassination of its General, who was on a peace mission, travelling as a civilian on a commercial flight, carrying a mediation message the US had been instrumental in instigating. If as seems possible the US actively manipulated the diplomatic process to assassinate someone on a diplomatic mission and traveling on a diplomatic passport, that is a dreadful outrage which will come back to haunt them. Life insurance rates for US diplomats no doubt just went up.” [snip]

“I am a sucker for hope, and the best outcome would be for the US and Iran to start talking directly again, and a deal to be made from this break in the logjam that is wider than, and Trump can portray as better than, “Obama’s” nuclear deal and would enable the lifting of sanctions. I am sure Trump will be tempted by the chance to go for this kind of diplomatic coup under the political cover provided him by Soleimani’s assassination. But the US is now so tied in to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thus tied in to irrational hostility to Iran, that this must be extremely unlikely.”

I’ve been reconsidering Iran’s ‘Proportionate Response’ this morning and have decided it’s less than proportionate, given that Soleimani was only at the Baghdad Airport to broker peace among Iran, Saudi Arabia & Iraq to defuse tensions (a Honey Pot Sting Operation), and that the US murdered 32 Iraqi Security Forces on the Iraq Syria border.  Then consider this excellent Soleimani biographhy and CV in defense of Iran by Andre Damon a and David North at wsws v/ The Propaganda Machine.

Also Jan. 8, 2020: ‘Iran‘s Missile Launch Against Two U.S. Bases in Iraq Calls Trump’s Bluff – Updated’, b at moonofalabama.org

“U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to destroy 52 targets in Iran including cultural sites if Iran would take any revenge, seems to have understood that this attack was intentionally limited to avoid a larger war:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump – 2:45 UTC · Jan 8, 2020
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.

No U.S. air or missile defense against the incoming projectiles was observed.

The message from Iran is thus: “We can attack all your bases and you can do nothing to prevent that.”

Iran’s leader said that the attack was “slap in the face” for the U.S. and that this military reaction to the U.S. crime is not the only one that will happen:

Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the nation live on TV in a meeting with a large group of people from Qom, in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the January 9, 1978 uprising in Qom against the Pahlavi regime.

The live address also took place hours after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks in early hours of Wednesday to retaliate the US assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander, Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What is important in addition to retaliation is that military operations do not suffice. It is important to end the US corrupting presence in the region,” the Leader stressed.

“Americans are insisting on bringing corruption and destruction into our dear Iran. Talks of sitting down at the negotiating table is a preface to interventions, which must end. Regional nations do not accept the US presence and its meddling measures,” he added.

The US enmity toward Iran is not temporary; it’s inherent. It is a ‘gross mistake’ to think if we took a step back and comprised, the US would stop its enmity,” he stressed.

Update (in part)
“Trump confirmed that there were no U.S. casualties. The situation is thereby de-escalating as the U.S. will now stand down. Trump called the damage on the base “minimal” even while several airplane/drone hangers were obviously hit and completely destroyed with everything they contained. Iran must have had very good intelligence about the site. Trump also lauded an early warning system that, he said, prevented casualties. The Swiss embassy in Tehran will have a good laugh at that comment.”

‘No lives lost’: Trump holds fire on ‘big missiles,’ talks peace after Iran’s strikes on US bases in Iraq’, 8 Jan, 2020, RT.com

“Speaking from the White House, Trump backed away from threatening further strikes against Iran, describing Tehran’s stand-down as “a good thing for all parties concerned.

Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast…The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it.

Trump did, however, vow to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, in addition to the thousand or so imposed since the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) in 2018. “These powerful sanctions will remain,” he said, “until Iran changes its behavior.”

Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism,” Trump continued.Time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the JCPOA.”

Self-explanatory: ‘‘Harsher revenge’: Revolutionary Guards commander vows it’s not over after Iranian missile strikes on US forces in Iraq’, 9 Jan. 2020, RT.com

Of course we’re wondering if Trump’s Pentagon will be withdrawing the 6 B52 nuclear bombers from Diego Garcia and the massive numbers of troops in the area: rangers, paratroopers, etc..

But I agree with Bill Van Auken and David North: ‘Trump bides his time, but the preparations for war against Iran will continue’, 9 January 2020, wsws.org

Casus belli pretexts will be epic!

I'll add a couple things in comments that we've been discussing at the Café over the past few days.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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At least I hope he crushes Biden in November

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Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

Eagles92's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

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@Eagles92
It was enjoyable setting up my Will and preparing a document for my wife about how to claim her widow's benefits and inherit the rollover IRA, but planners gotta plan. I enjoy making plans, even for my death. I suppose I would be happy planning the fallout shelter in Dr. Strangelove, but just as an intellectual exercise. Designers gotta design.
I always planned. When I was in grade school, my mother gave me a dollar a week allowance. I planned out how I was going to spend it. (Two comic books, one movie admission, one box of popcorn...) Apparently that was weird. Just seems natural to me. i have 2020's budget set up and ready to execute. It's FUN. Why don't you all think it's fun?

Besides, I'm not really going to die. Ever.

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Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

both seem to be under threat from their galloping dementia, so that'll be a contest of epic proportions!

we all had the privilege of watching both reagan's and GHW bush's brains melt away before our eyes, and it's apparently become the New Normal. ah...democracy!

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wendy davis's picture

Craig Murray, Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani, January 4

"In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine – that here “Imminent” – the word used so carefully by Pompeo – does not need to have its normal meanings of either “soon” or “about to happen”. An attack may be deemed “imminent”, according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike – and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes – because of “intelligence” you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.”

Craig’s link (h/t greyson smythe) to the Bethlehem Doctrine caused john steppling’s Tweet to ‘Israelis: Soleimani Intercept Sparked Drone Strike; US Reinforces Region’, January 03, 2020, breakingdefense.com to be even more of psyop/disinformation 'story':

TEL AVIV: Five days ago, an undisclosed intelligence agency intercepted a telephone call made by the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in which he was heard ordering his proxies in Iraq to attack the US embassy in Baghdad, as well as other Israeli and American targets, with the aim of taking hostages, Israeli sources say.

It’s unclear whether this was a lapse in tradecraft on the part of the usually savvy Soleimani or whether the notorious Iranian military leader’s phone calls were being routinely intercepted. Nor is it clear whether it was the US or another foe of Iran that made the intercept. Regardless, the intelligence seems to have led directly to Soleimani’s killing yesterday, which has thrown the Mideast into uproar.", and so on....)

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CB's picture

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

and brief enough i could watch! so many good points, but one big one left out: in a major war on iran, it would (and is now) uniting all shi'a nations, and would of course bring in china and russia and both nations' most excellent military hardware.

'pre-emptive war'; both now and under dubya.

but by golly, at least nancy peolosi rammed a version of her 'only a 30-day war' (thus nukes for the hurry-up factor) through the house just now. it turned into this:

"The bill was sponsored by former CIA analyst and Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Michigan), and calls on Trump to "to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran," unless Congress formally declares war on the Islamic Republic. The bill was written in the aftermath of the American assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed at Baghdad airport on Friday in a drone strike.

Despite its passage, the bill lacks the teeth to actually curb Trump’s warmaking powers, should he decide to take military action against Iran. As a ‘Concurrent Resolution,’ it does not need Trump’s signature, will not go on to the Republican-controlled Senate for approval, and will not become law. Instead it simply expresses the position of the House."

the vote was 223-194, 15 not voting

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wendy davis's picture

now iran's being blamed for crashing the ukrainaian flight out of the airport near tehran. talk about a false flag! it'll be exactly like flight MH 17 over ukraine: russia did it!

'Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has called on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to share the intelligence he has claimed to have from “multiple sources” that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, state media report.'

IIRC, b at moa said photos showed there was no evidence of holes going in thru the plane's metal from the outside.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg
relevant titles, but i'm pedaling as fast as i possibly can, snoop, while balancing RL obligations at home and in email. i don't seem to have as much online time as many of you do.

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wendy davis's picture

time will tell. ‘Pentagon Accuses Iran Of Shooting Down A Ukrainian Plane But Its Evidence Is Flimsy’, moa.org jan.9

“The Pentagon is accusing Iran's air defense of shooting down the Ukraninan plane that crashed yesterday near Tehran. The Pentagon says that it was an accidental incident. But the evidence on which the claim is based is flimsy.
We reported yesterday on flight PS752:...etc.

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wendy davis's picture

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was brought to my attention by snoopydawg.
h/t snoop.

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wendy davis's picture

@on the cusp

but with no link, so murray's was an education for me.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

https://caucus99percent.com/comment/459255#comment-459255

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

i should have specified on 'my last war on iran diary'.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@on the cusp

because that's what it is and what will result from it.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

wendy davis's picture

and no closing song will hit the mark. instead, these two quotes:

‘Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.’

~Edward Said

‘There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people.’

~ Joseph Schumpeter, 1951

good night.

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wendy davis's picture

@ejmalrai 16m16 minutes ago

"#US @Secpompeo is not sharing the fact he promised #Iraq PM Adil Abdel Mahdi to "look into it and said the US will respect Iraq sovereignty". Iraq PM office confirmed to me that #USA continues moving troops and putting jets, heli and drones in the air without permission."

@ejmalrai
Elijah J. Magnier Retweeted Secretary Pompeo
"#US @secpompeo is not revealing that #Iraq PM asked him to send envoys to Iraq to implement the Parliament's decision to abide by the total withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country including the US. +"

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wendy davis's picture

Financial N-option will settle Trump’s oil war; On foreign soil, as a guest nation, US has assassinated a diplomatic envoy whose mission the US had requested’, asiatimes.com, jan. 6, 2020, Pepe Escobar

toward the end:

‘Nuclear option’

For all the rumble surrounding Iraqi commitment to expel US troops and the Iranian pledge to react to the Soleimani assassination at a time of its choosing, there’s no way to make the imperial masters listen without a financial hit.

Enter the world derivatives market, which every major player knows is a financial WMD.
The derivatives are used to drain a trillion dollars a year out of the market in manipulated profits. These profits, of course, are protected under the “too big to prosecute” doctrine.
It’s all obviously parasitic and illegal. The beauty is it can be turned into a nuclear option against the imperial masters.

I’ve written extensively about it. New York connections told me the columns all landed on Trump’s desk. Obviously he does not read anything – but the message was there, and also delivered in person.

This past Friday, two American, mid-range, traditional funds bit the dust because they were leveraging in derivatives linked to oil prices.

If Tehran ever decided to shut down the Strait of Hormuz – call it the nuclear option – that would trigger a world depression as trillions of dollars of derivatives imploded.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) counts about $600 billion in total derivatives. Not really. Swiss sources say there are at least 1.2 quadrillion with some placing it at 2.5 quadrillion. That would imply a derivatives market 28 times the world’s GDP.

On Hormuz, the shortage of 22% of the world oil supply simply could not be papered over. It would detonate a collapse and cause a market crash infinitely worse than 1933 Weimar Germany.
The Pentagon gamed every possible scenario of a war on Iran – and the results are grim. Sound generals – yes, there are some – know the US Navy would not be able to keep the Strait of Hormuz open: it would have to leave immediately or, as sitting ducks, face total annihilation.

There’s a silver lining in a potential US-Iran war; If conflict breaks out, the US will use bunker busters and precision weapons to destroy Iran’s missile and nuclear weapons centers’, jan. 6, 2020, By Stephen Bryen, asiatimes.com

Dr Stephen Bryen has 40 years of leadership in government and industry. He has served as a senior staff director of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as the deputy undersecretary of defense for trade security policy, as the founder and first director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, as the president of Delta Tech Inc, as the president of Finmeccanica North America, and as a commissioner of the US-China Security Review Commission.

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wendy davis's picture

What’s Behind Boeing Crash In Iran, southfront.org, Jan. 10, 2020, including text, photos,narrating this video:

sputnik is reporting that iran will announce the cause of the crash tomorrow.

who knows? kinda too bad that the US 'helping' w/ the investigation...

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wendy davis's picture

tonight's closing song will be this reminder from john gorka (channeling MLK, jr.)

la luna bella is full tonight; sleep well and restore yourselves if you're able,
wd

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‘I wish I was dead’: Senior IRGC commander accepts responsibility for downing Ukrainian jet, says it was mistaken for missile’, 11 Jan, 2020. RT.com

A top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer has revealed that the Ukrainian jet was mistaken for an incoming cruise missile and that the commander of the anti-aircraft unit had only 10 seconds to make the decision.

The commander explained that the incident had occurred as the country was bracing for potential US strikes and that the “likelihood of conflict” between the two nations has been “unprecedented” since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

According to an early assessment, the Ukrainian plane was erroneously identified as an incoming cruise missile, which resulted in the tragedy.
The commander of the anti-aircraft unit had sought confirmation for the launch from his superiors, but experienced communication problems and had to make the decision –which turned out to be wrong– on his own. The officer only had 10 seconds to make the decision, Hajizadeh added.

“Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has offered “profound regrets, apologies and condolences” for the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian aircraft over Tehran, saying “human error” during a “crisis” led to the accident.

“A sad day,” the FM wrote on Twitter, adding: “Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:

Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

@ejmalrai

'It was Sayyed Ali Khamenei who ordered the immediate release of the results once confirmed, suggesting "it is an Islamic duty to confirm the self-responsibility of #Iran in this incident".

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and on...

US and Israel escalate Middle East tensions in wake of Suleimani assassination’, Bill Van Auken, 11 January 2020

O

n Thursday, it was reported that a US drone strike killed or wounded more than 60 civilians in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat, close to the border with Iran. Wakil Ahmad Karkhi, a member of the Herat provincial council, confirmed the mass casualties to TOLO news, saying the civilians were killed and maimed in a US attempt to eliminate the leader of a split-off from the Taliban, known as Mullah Nangyalay.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes struck targets on the Syria-Iraq border early Friday morning, killing eight members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, the coalition of predominantly Shia militias that is considered part of the Iraqi armed forces.

The air strike took place near the Albu Kamal-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq, the same area that was struck by US F-15E fighter jets on December 29, resulting in the deaths of 25 members of the Kata’ib Hezbollah Iraqi militia and the wounding of over 50 more. Those bombing raids, carried out on the pretext of retaliating for a missile attack that claimed the life of a US military contractor, provoked angry protests that breached the security walls of the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31.”

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