essential updates on iraq from moon of alabama

Sistani Warns Against Pindo Coup Plot In Iraq
Moon of Alabama, Nov 8 2019

Protests in Lebanon and Iraq were caused by internal problems but are manipulated by external forces. Today an Iraqi leader exposed those forces which might well bring that problem to an end. Lebanon will still have to suffer through more strife. AFP reports of more bloody protests in Iraq:

Anti-government protests in Iraq entered their third week with fresh bloodshed on Friday, as leaders appeared to have closed rank around the country’s embattled premier. More than a dozen demonstrators died in Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra within 24 hours, medical sources told AFP.

The reporter listened to some protesters and quoted this one:

Even if it comes down to the last man, we have to enter the Green Zone and bring it down! We’ll announce our people’s revolution from there against everyone who stole from us: Prime Minister Adel Abd’el-Mahdi, Qais al-Khazaali, Hadi al-Ameri!

Khazaali and Ameri are leading commanders in the Hashd al-Shaabi, which publicly backed the government after protests erupted. A month ago we wrote that the legitimate protests in Iraq and Lebanon are used by Pindostan for coup attempts financed by Toad money. The actual target of the coup attempts are those groups who have the support of Iran: Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq. That is why the AFP piece quotes an attack on the leaders of the Hashd, which was founded, trained and equipped by Iran. It is now standard in ‘western’ reporting to falsely depict the protests as being against those entities. We also warned that these protests might escalate:

The best strategy for the legitimate protesters is to press the current governments for reform. The governments in Iraq and in Lebanon have both already agreed to make certain changes. The protesters should accept those and pull back. If the politicians do not stick to those commitments the protesters can always go back into the streets and demand more. Unfortunately there are external actors with lots of money who want to prevent that. They want to throw both countries into utter chaos or even civil wars because they hope that it will weaken those factions that have good relations with Iran. In Lebanon there was some violence by followers of the Shia Amal movement against a protesters tent camp. ‘Western’ media falsely attributed the violence to Hizbullah. In Iraq the guards of a government building in Karbala shot at protesters who tried to breach its gate. Some ‘western’ media falsely alleged that those shooters were Iranians. But external actors have made such bids before only to fail to achieve the wanted results.

The AFP last line is curious:

On Friday, the country’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said there should be “no more procrastination” on finding a “roadmap” to end the crisis.

Sistani said much more than that (in Arabic). He urged the politicians in power to lay out a specific roadmap of reforms to end corruption, to end sectarian/political quotas and for social justice. He called that a ‘unique opportunity.’ He urged the legitimate protesters and the government to stay peaceful. Then came the really important parts (my rephrase – RB):

Fourth: There are internal parties and external parties that have played a prominent role in the past decades in Iraq, which have severely harmed Iraqis and subjected them to oppression and abuse, and they may seek today to exploit the ongoing protest movement to achieve some of their objectives. Participants in the protests and others should take great care to avoid exploitation by these parties, and to close any loophole through which they can penetrate their gathering and change the course of the reform movement.

The external parties that Sistani calls out are of course Pindostan which invaded Iraq, and the Toads who financed Daesh. That Sistani is directly pointing to them is extraordinary. The last part of Sistani’s message is equally important:

Fifth: Our pride in the armed forces and those who joined them in the fight against Daesh terrorism and defending Iraq as a people, land and sanctities have a great credit to everyone, especially those who are stationed to this day on the borders and the following sensitive sites, we should not forget their virtues and should not forget They hear any word that detracts from their grave sacrifices, but if it is possible today to hold peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins away from the harm of terrorists, it is thanks to these heroic men, they have full respect and appreciation.

Sistani, who is not pro-Iran, is fully supporting the Hashd al-Shaabi. The external actors who want to use the protest to put Hashd down will fail. After Pindostan invaded Iraq its viceroy Paul Bremer planned to install a proxy government without any elections. It was Ayatollah Sistani who prevented that when he publicly decreed that Pindostan had to let the Iraqis decide for themselves. The Marja had spoken, Pindostan had to back down and elections were held. His statement today is of similar importance and weight.

Sistani’s statement likely also puts an end to the violent protests. Those who continue to fight or storm government buildings will now be seen as Pindo or Toad agents. It is now also likely that the coup attempt will fail and that the Iraqi government will survive. But it will have to implement the reforms the genuine protesters are asking for. That should be doable as Iraq has significant income and can finance reforms. The situation in Lebanon is way more difficult. The sectarian warlords and politicians who traditionally reign over the country and share the spoils are unwilling to leave their positions. There is always the chance of another civil war and the country is nearly bankrupt. It will require more delicate negotiations, or even violence, to effect some change.

Lebanon And Iraq Protestors
Elijah J Magnier, Nov 8 2019

Photo: Elijah J Magnier

In 1975, Lebanon went through 15 years of violent and destructive civil war. The circumstances before the beginning of the war were aimed at destroying and removing the Palestinian Liberation organisation (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat. Palestinians were drawn into a civil war in Lebanon, paving the way for an Israeli invasion in 1982 that finally led to the departure of the PLO from Lebanon (and the “Islamic Resistance” that became years later known as Hezbollah). Today, in Lebanon, Hezbollah believes the same scenario could be repeated if dragged onto the street to face protestors. This is why the leadership is exerting patience and restraint, and will continue to do so, to keep control of its men, off the streets. However, there were strong voices among protestors asking:

Why is Hezbollah covering or protecting its allies regardless of accusations of corruption?

Years before the Hezbollah officially emerged in 1985, the “Islamic resistance” was already engaged in liberating the Lebanese territory occupied by the Israeli invasion in 1982. A few years after the withdrawal of IOF from most cities and villages in the year 2000, Hezbollah emerged on the political scene. Political engagement created a difficult challenge for the organisation’s leadership. Many within its Shura council wanted to keep a distance from the corrupt government that had led the country since 1992, and were afraid of being called to account with Lebanon’s old guard of corrupt political leaders. Hezbollah decided to maintain only one minister in the government, in order to have ears present at every meeting and debate within the Lebanese Council of Ministers. After some years, Hezbollah decided to become a full partner in Parliament and in the cabinet of ministers with its Shia ally, the Speaker and leader of the “Amal” movement Nabih Berri.

Following withdrawal of the Syrian Army from Lebanon in 2005 and the third Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah decided to take its share, along with Berri, in appointing the security officers allocated for the Shia, and left to him all other senior and junior jobs, to be allocated to Shia in accordance with the Lebanese confessional system. Hezbollah’s relationship with Amal was conditioned on one key principle: appointing a security officer in the Army or other security forces had to be approved by both main Shia groups. Hezbollah fulfilled its goal of protecting the Lebanese Shia. Hezbollah’s aim was to ensure that the historically disfavoured group would never again be subject to injustice within the Lebanese political system. Long decades of unfairness towards the Shia in Lebanon came to an end when Hezbollah became a powerful and effective military and social group. Hezbollah is today “the one who nominates the President of the Republic,” after its successful years of war against Daesh & Nusra on the Lebanese borders and in Syria and Iraq. Hezbollah operated within a territory ten times bigger than Lebanon in both neighbouring countries. Hezbollah is not merely a domestic group but a regional and international player. Its men were present in Bosnia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Palestine, in keeping with their oft-repeated goal to defend the oppressed wherever they are found. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah recently confirmed this mission, saying:

Wherever we need to be present, we shall be there.

But Hezbollah’s involvement in regional wars and domestic policies has had both positive and negative effects on the group and its operations. Hezbollah is one of the strongest irregular but organised armies in the Middle East. It has tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, long-range precision missiles, anti-ship and anti-air missiles, armed drones, electronic and surveillance capabilities, and thousands of SOF. Domestically, its alliance and strong bond with its Shia partner, Speaker Nabih Berri, and his Christian partner, President of the Republic Michel Aoun, along with his son-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (who acts as the head of the Free Patriotic Movement) is not without cost. In recent weeks of protests in the country, for the first time Shia who are considered an integral part of “Hezbollah society” came out into the open and harshly criticised Berri and Bassil, contesting Hezbollah’s alleged support for allies accused of corruption. What appears to be an anti-corruption uprising in Lebanon is also an indirect anti-Hezbollah campaign, aiming to cripple its allies when it is not possible to hit Hezbollah itself directly. Many regional and international players, who recognise that they cannot face down Hezbollah on a battlefield, as shown by its victories when confronting Israel, in Syria, Iraq and in the Yemen, would be delighted to see Hezbollah involved in domestic political battles, unrest or quagmires. This has been the Pindo administration’s policy, carried out untiringly by Sec State Pompeo. Can he succeed?

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