Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New US attack on Shia militia north of Baghdad

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President Donald Trump comments on the US attack on Baghdad on January 3 in Florida. TOM BRENNER / REUTERS

The escalation between the United States and Iran continues on Saturday January 4 with a new American raid against the pro-Tehran in Iraq, which is preparing to celebrate with great fanfare the funeral of the powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and his chief lieutenant in the country.

Shortly after US President Donald Trump said he was not seeking war with Iran, Washington struck again in Iraq. There have been "Dead and wounded" in an air strike against a convoy of Hachd al-Chaabi, a coalition of pro-Iran paramilitaries now integrated into the Iraqi state, north of Baghdad, said a police source. The Hashd has accused the United States, which has so far failed to respond.

The day before, it's a "Precision drone shooting" American who had plunged the whole world into uncertainty, causing fear "A new war in the Gulf" than "The world cannot afford", according to the UN.

Also in the middle of the night, the American bombing had pulverized two cars that were leaving Baghdad airport. Inside, Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s Middle East strategy, and Abou Mehdi al-Mouhandis, the Iranian man in Baghdad, were killed instantly.

Fear of reprisals and military reinforcements

Iran informed the United Nations Security Council on Friday that it reserves the right to exercise self-defense under international law after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. In a letter, Iran's representative at the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, writes that the assassination of Soleimani "Is an obvious example of state terrorism and, as a criminal act, constitutes a flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of international law and, in particular, those stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations".

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The Pentagon, which fears reprisals for the assassination of Iranian general Ghassem Soleimani, intends to secure American positions. Washington has decided to deploy between 3,000 and 3,500 additional troops to the Middle East to strengthen the security of US positions in the region, the Pentagon announced.

These soldiers are members of a rapid reaction force of the 82e airborne division. They are in addition to the approximately 700 soldiers who were sent to Kuwait earlier this week after the attack on the United States embassy in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was not looking for "Regime change" in Tehran after the elimination of what he described as "Number one terrorist" in the world. Claiming to have acted for "Stop" a war, not to start one, he assured that Ghassem Soleimani was preparing attacks "Imminent" against diplomats and the US military.

Earlier today, the US embassy in Baghdad called on nationals to leave Iraq " at once ", "By air as long as possible, if not to other countries by land ".

Demonstrations and calls for calm

In Iran and Iraq, calls for revenge by political and religious leaders are increasing. Iran and the "Free nations of the region" will take revenge on the United States, promised President Hassan Rohani. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s highest security body, has also promised to avenge "In the right place at the right time" General Soleimani. "America must know that its criminal attack (…) was the country's biggest mistake ", he said in a statement.

In Tehran, tens of thousands of people demonstrated to denounce the "Crimes" US. On the Iraqi side, the resigning Prime Minister, Adel Abdel Mahdi, estimated that the American raid would "Start a devastating war in Iraq", denouncing "Aggression against Iraq, its state, government and people." On the same line, the Syrian government has denounced the "Cowardly American aggression", seeing a "Serious escalation" for the Middle East.

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All over the world calls for de-escalation have multiplied. Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, a leading Iraqi figure in Shiite Islam, called on all parties on Friday to exercise restraint and wisdom. "The world cannot afford another war in the Gulf"said the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, for his part. Same invitation to the " detention " from the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. Urging all actors involved to "Responsibility at this crucial moment", Mr. Borrell pointed out that a "Another crisis risked endangering years of efforts to stabilize Iraq".

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