army veteran Football Intelwars IRAQ NFL police shooting social justice

NFL player covers name of police shooting victim on helmet in favor of Army vet killed in Iraq — and shooting victim’s mother is irate

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva is no stranger to controversy.

You might recall almost exactly three years ago when Villanueva — a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan — stood alone on the field for the national anthem while the rest of the team stayed in the locker room.

It was the fall of 2017, and President Donald Trump — barely a year into his first term — was angry at players taking a knee in protest of police brutality against minorities, a movement that began the previous season with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Prior to Villanueva standing on the field for the national anthem, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said his entire team would stay in the locker room to help them avoid politics. The next day Villanueva said he regretted his gesture because it made the rest of his team look bad.

Now what?

It’s now the fall of 2020, and football players taking a knee for the national anthem seems decidedly mild compared to the strident social justice stances professional athletes, teams, and leagues are taking in the wake of recent minority deaths at the hands of police and the wave of protests that have gripped the country.

In that vein, the NFL has allowed players to wear helmet decals honoring victims of “systemic racism,” CBS Sports reported, adding that the Steelers decided as a team to honor for an entire season police shooting victim Antwon Rose Jr. — a black teenager shot in the back by a white police officer in Pittsburgh in 2018 after he ran from a pulled-over vehicle. The network said the now-former officer was charged with murder, but a jury found him not guilty in March 2019.

But Villanueva had something different in mind.

For the Steelers’ game against the New York Giants on Monday, he covered Rose’s name on the back of his helmet in favor of the name Alwyn Cashe, an Army sergeant who died after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq in 2005, CBS Sports said.

Tomlin said Tuesday he gave Villanueva permission to break ranks with his teammates and that it was “in line with everything we’ve said about participating in social justice this offseason,” TribLive reported.

“As an organization, and myself as the head coach of the organization, we’re going to support our players however they chose to participate and express themselves, or to not participate or not express themselves, as long as they do so thoughtfully and with class,” Tomlin also said, according to CBS Sports, adding that Villanueva’s choice didn’t warrant an explanation.

Shooting victim’s mom is angry

It appears, however, that Rose’s mother wants an explanation — because she isn’t happy with what Villanueva did.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote,” Michelle Kenney wrote on Facebook, according to TribLive. “Obviously, one person didn’t like the results, so they chose to do something different.”

Kenney had praised the team for choosing to place her son’s name on their helmets, saying it “means more to me than anything,” but that feeling appears to be gone.

“I have nothing against vets and absolutely appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do for us,” Kenney also wrote, TribLive said. “But this one person showed us exactly who he is, and obviously he didn’t approve of how the vote turned out.”

Rose’s mother also wrote that she will use what she deemed as “negative press” as motivation to “hold the Pittsburgh Steelers even more accountable,” the outlet reported.

“Yes, I believe in second chances, but as we all know I believe in putting in the work and that’s how I base my collaborations,” Kenney wrote, according to TribLive. “They came to me as a team/organization and I don’t care how good of an individual you are, if you are not a TEAM player, then maybe you are playing for the wrong team.”

Hostages Intelwars IRAQ medal of honor Sgt. major thomas 'patrick' payne trump

President Trump awards Medal of Honor to soldier who helped free more than 70 hostages from ISIS

Army Delta Force soldier Sgt. Major Thomas “Patrick” Payne was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump on Friday, for risking his life several times during a mission in Iraq that liberated more than 70 hostages from ISIS.

ABC News pointed out that “the Army Ranger received the nation’s highest award for heroism on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that prompted him to join the Army right out of high school.”

What are the details?

In October of 2015, Delta Force conducted a raid in northern Iraq at a compound where ISIS was holding civilians. Payne was on his 14th deployment at that time, and according to Fox News, he recalled to the Army later, “My team was responsible for one of the buildings that the hostages were being held in. What was significant is that there were freshly dug graves. If we didn’t action this target then the hostages will probably be executed.”

Before presenting the Ranger with the prestigious award, President Trump told the story of Payne’s heroism in the 2015 mission, which included Payne risking his life under fire from ISIS militants to break into buildings — one of which was on fire — in selfless acts that were integral to the success of the operation that resulted in the freedom of dozens of hostages and the deaths of 20 ISIS terrorists.

Payne ran into the burning building multiple times to evacuate the civilians, and one person he even had to carry out himself because they were so afraid.

“Pat, you personify the motto: ‘Rangers lead the way,” President Trump told the soldier.

Payne’s wife, Alison, and six-year-old little boy sat in the front row at the White House ceremony. The president told the boy, “I want you to know that your dad is one of the bravest men anywhere in the world.”

Also present was Ashley Wheeler, the widow of Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler, a teammate of Payne’s who was killed in the 2015 raid, according to The Daily Mail.

Payne previously received the military’s second-highest honor for the mission, the Distinguished Service Cross. He also holds a Purple Heart after being wounded during a mission in Afghanistan in 2010.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper tweeted after the ceremony Friday that Payne has been deployed 17 times.

You can view the Medal of Honor ceremony in its entirety below. It begins around the 19:00 mark:

President Trump presents Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major Thomas Payne | USA TODAY


Iranian Resistance Axis Strikes Back: Convoys With US Equipment Blowing Up In Iraq

Submitted by South Front,

On September 3, an explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a convoy with equipment of the US-led coalition in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar.

Iraqi troops that were escorting the convoy suffered no casualties. According to local sources, no significant damage was caused to the equipment. Following the incident, security forces detained 2 suspects near the explosion site. The investigation is ongoing.

However, it is no secret that the attack was likely conducted by one of multiple pro-Iranian Shiite groups that surfaced in the country following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and several prominent Iraqi commanders by a US strike in Baghdad in January.

Earlier, the Guardians of Blood (also known as Islamic Resistance in Iraq) released a video showing an IED attack on another convoy with US equipment. The attack took place near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad on August 23. During the last few months, such attacks became a regular occurrence across Iraq.

Pro-Iranian forces not only created a wide network of active cells that carry out these operations, but also successfully track movements of US forces and their equipment. According to local sources, a large number of Iraqi security personnel involved in the guarding of US forces and facilities in fact support the Iranian-backed campaign against the United States as well as the public demand of the full US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Despite loud statements and the handing over of several US bases to the Iraqi military, Washington is not reducing its military presence in the country. Rather it’s regrouping its forces and strengthening the security of the remaining facilities. Tensions are on the rise not only in Iraq.

Intelwars IRAQ


On September 3, an explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a convoy with equipment of the US-led coalition in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar. Iraqi troops that were escorting the convoy suffered no casualties. According to local sources, no significant damage was caused to the equipment. Following the incident, security forces detained 2 suspects near the explosion site. The investigation is ongoing.

However, it is no secret that the attack was likely conducted by one of multiple pro-Iranian Shiite groups that surfaced in the country following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and several prominent Iraqi commanders by a US strike in Baghdad in January.

Earlier, the Guardians of Blood (also known as Islamic Resistance in Iraq) released a video showing an IED attack on another convoy with US equipment. The attack took place near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad on August 23. During the last few months, such attacks became a regular occurrence across Iraq.

Pro-Iranian forces not only created a wide network of active cells that carry out these operations, but also successfully track movements of US forces and their equipment. According to local sources, a large number of Iraqi security personnel involved in the guarding of US forces and facilities in fact support the Iranian-backed campaign against the United States as well as the public demand of the full US troop withdrawal from Iraq.


Trump Must Back Iraq Withdrawal Promise With Action — Ron Paul

Yes, General Odom was right. It was a strategic disaster. Turning the US into a global military empire is also a strategic disaster. Trump’s promise to bring troops home from overseas wars sounds very good. But it’s time to see some real action. That might mean some people who disagree with the president need to be fired.


“Terminate Bush’s War”: Trump To Reduce Troops In Iraq By One-Third Just Ahead Of Election

Republican leadership at the RNC Convention this week talked a big game when it comes to “bringing the troops home” – something Trump has been promising since 2016 – but which has not yet ultimately been realized. But can he deliver now as part of a pre-election promise? It looks like the wheels are finally in motion.

Multiple reports citing Pentagon officials on Friday say up to one-third of all American soldiers will permanently return from Iraq over the next two to three months.

This would bring numbers down from 5,200 to about 3,500 according to Pentagon officials. Trump is in the meantime expected to tout an Iraq withdrawal as a success in ending the wasteful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Intelwars IRAQ

US Troops Withdraw From Major Iraqi Base

The US-led coalition in Iraq has withdrawn the last of its forces from Camp Taji, a base near Iraq’s capital Baghdad that has been the target of recent rocket attacks. The coalition handed control of the base to Iraqi security forces, along with $347 million in military equipment.

The anti-ISIS coalition dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve is hailing the move as a success and says it is part of a “long-range” plan with the Iraqi government.

“Camp Taji has historically held up to 2,000 Coalition members, with the majority departing over the summer of 2020,” the coalition said in a statement released on Sunday. The statement said the force was made up of a Spanish helicopter battalion and “military trainers” from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, the UK, the US, and NATO.

Intelwars IRAQ

US Calls on Iraq to Dismantle Armed Groups

With Iraqi PM Mustafa Kadhemi set to visit the US this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is demanding that Iraq dismantle all Shi’ite militias in the country, calling them a threat to national sovereignty and promising US support on doing this.

The US has long had a problem with the Shi’ite militias, even though in recent wars, like the ISIS War, they were on the same side. This is because the militias are friendly with Iran, and the US sees them as a potential enemy in a future Iran war.

This has been a hassle for Kadhemi since he took power, as he’s seen as a US ally but also needs to try to avoid outright fights with the militia. This has left a tenuous balance, and one the US wants to tip to the scales over.


Video: Rain of Rockets Hits US Forces in Iraq. Israeli-UAE Peace Deal Crumbles Days after Its Announcement

As it was expected, the ‘historic’ UAE-Israeli peace deal did not contribute to the stability in the Middle East. Instead, the situation has been slowly, but steadily moving towards a larger confrontation in the region.

Immediately after the announcement of the US-sponsored peace deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country is not going to fulfill one of its key provisions – the suspension of the annexation of West Bank territories. The prime minister emphasized that the annexation plan was just delayed, but not suspended.

“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said adding that “Israel will have comprehensive peace agreements with other Arab countries without returning to the 1967 borders.”

This unfortunate, but expected statement goes fully in the framework of the Israeli regional policy and contradicts position of the US-sponsored deal reached with the UAE. In particular, Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed emphasized that “it was agreed to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian lands.”

Intelwars IRAQ

Rockets fall inside Iraq’s Taji camp housing US-led coalition troops – reports

At least two unguided rockets fell inside Iraq’s Taji military base that houses US troops, local media has reported, citing the country’s military. No information on damage or potential casualties was immediately available.
Camp Taji, located some 27km (17 miles) north of the Iraqi capital, came under rocket fire late on Saturday. At least two projectiles fell inside the base, Iraqi military confirmed to local media.

While no reports on damage or casualties were readily available, unconfirmed imagery circulating online suggested the attack might have sparked a fire at the base.

Intelwars IRAQ

Explosion Reportedly Hits International Coalition Military Convoy Near Iraqi Town of Batha

No injuries were reported after the explosion took place, according to a report by Al Sumaria TV that cited security sources. An investigation into the incident has been launched.

Following a report by Al Sumaria that an explosion hit a US-led international coalition convoy on Wednesday in Iraq, the US Central Command said it is looking into reports on the explosion and cannot confirm whether an attack took place.

“We are looking into this report,” the spokesperson said on Wednesday. “At this time, we have no confirmation of the event.”

Intelwars IRAQ


In the recent weeks the US-led coalition in Iraq experienced a turn for the worse.

On the evening of August 10th, a military convoy carrying equipment for US forces near the Iraq-Kuwait border was reportedly targeted by an explosion. The Iraqi Shiite armed group, Ashab al-Kahf, issued a statement claiming that its forces had destroyed “equipment and vehicles belonging to the American enemy” in a bombing, targeting a border crossing south of the Iraqi city of Basra. The group also released a video purposely showing the attack.

Ashab al-Kahf is one of multiple anti-US resistance groups, which have surfaced in Iraq since early 2020 after the US assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, the deputy chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several other prominent Iraqi officers leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq. All these new groups declare their goal to be forcing US troops to leave Iraq and conduct attacks on US military infrastructure and forces. This has already become an everyday reality for the US military.

Additionally to the August 10 attack, there were at least 4 more military incidents blamed by the US and mainstream media on these groups during the past weeks.


Iraq Cancels Turkish Defence Minister Visit After Iraqi Soldiers Killed in Kurdistan Shelling

Earlier on Tuesday the Iraqi government condemned a Turkish drone strike in the country’s province of Erbil that killed two Iraqi soldiers, slamming “repeated military violations” by Ankara as a “dangerous violation of Iraqi sovereignty, international law and the UN Charter”.

Iraq cancelled a 13 August visit by the Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, to the country, following condemnation of a Turkish drone strike in the Erbil province that killed two Iraqi border guards, according to an Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement.

The Turkish ambassador in Iraq has been summoned to Baghdad after the Turkish drone attack.

“We are announcing the cancellation of the visit by the Turkish defense minister to Iraq, scheduled for Thursday. The Foreign Ministry will summon the Turkish ambassador and hand him a note of protest in connection with the attack”, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said.

Intelwars IRAQ

Explosions hit U.S. coalition supply convoys in Iraq: sources and military say

At least two explosions have hit convoys supplying U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq in the last 24 hours, security sources said, the first on Monday evening near the southern border with Kuwait and the second on Tuesday north of Baghdad.

The explosions, which caused no casualties but did some material damage, are the latest in a string of such incidents in recent weeks. An attack in southern Iraq on Sunday hit a convoy carrying supplies to coalition forces, the military said.

Intelwars IRAQ MIDDLE EAST MiddleEast

US Middle East Wars Far from Over

Iraq continues to find itself in the middle of Washington’s ongoing struggle to reassert itself in the region. Can the new Iraqi PM free himself of his checkered pro-Western past? Or will he allow the US a foothold to further draw out Iraq’s (and the region’s) unending turmoil? 

June 26, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Despite what appears to be a terminal decline of US influence over the Middle East, Washington has no intentions of gracefully abandoning its aspirations of regional hegemony.

Air strikes carried out against Syria by Washington’s Israeli proxies, a mysterious explosion near Tehran, and the current Iraqi Prime Minister’s decision to round up leaders of Iranian-backed militias who helped defeat the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) unfolded in quick succession in an apparent coordinated campaign aimed at Iran and its allies.

The Washington DC-based Al Monitor in an article titled, “Suspected Israeli airstrikes hit various locations in Syria,” would claim:

Suspected Israeli airstrikes hit Syrian military and Iran-backed militia sites Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. There are differing reports on the casualties.

This morning’s aerial assault targeted Syrian military sites outside the central city of Hama.

Days later, under orders by Iraq’s new prime minister – Mustafa Al-Kadhimi – Iraqi security forces raided the headquarters of an Iranian-backed militia detaining several leaders.

Reuters in its article, “Iraqi forces raid Iran-backed militia base, detain commanders: government sources,” would claim:

Iraqi security forces raided a headquarters belonging to a powerful Iran-backed militia in southern Baghdad late on Thursday, seized rockets and detained three commanders of the group, two Iraqi government officials said.

The officials said the militia group targeted was the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, which U.S. officials have accused of firing rockets at bases hosting U.S. troops and other facilities in Iraq.

Iraq has been under significant pressure from the US to roll back growing ties with Iran and still hosts thousands of US troops illegally occupying its territory as well as a myriad of militant groups the US and its regional allies back either openly or covertly including Al Qaeda and ISIS itself.

More recently, a massive explosion took place just southeast of Iran’s capital, Tehran. While Iranian officials claim it was an accident at a civilian gas storage facility, pro-war elements across the West have insisted it was the result of an attack on a military complex located in the region.

Should it turn out to be an attack – US proxies – either Israel or US-backed terrorists operating inside Iran are most likely responsible representing a strategy laid out by US policymakers as early as 2009 in their own papers – particularly and explicitly in the Brookings Institution’s 2009 paper, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF) under chapters including, “Allowing or Encouraging an Israeli Military Strike,” and “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups.”

The timing of the explosion, following two highly provocative moves made against Iran and its allies in the region suggest the US is attempting to escalate tensions with Iran to save its fading influence in the Middle East.

New Iraqi Prime Minister’s Checkered Past 

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi took office in May 2020.

While he has warned about deepening relations with Iran he has concurrently stated the importance of US backing – despite the US having illegally invaded, destroyed, and since occupied Iraq starting in 2003. 

His past – including his exile in London and his US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) linked Iraq Memory Foundation as well as his regular contributions to the above mentioned Washington DC-based Al Monitor call into serious question his ability to protect Iraq’s sovereignty as well as Iraq’s best interests.

On the Iraq Memory Foundation’s own website under “About,” it admits its genesis as a spin-off of a US NED funded Harvard-based front called the Iraq Research and Documentation Project (IRDP). The website claims (emphasis added):

The Memory Foundation is an outgrowth of the Iraq Research and Documentation Project (IRDP), founded by Kanan Makiya at the Center of Middle East Studies at Harvard University in 1992. In 1993, the IRDP developed a plan to create an archive that would organize and preserve the documents already in its possession for more long-term scholarly purposes. Utilizing a 1993 grant from the Bradley Foundation, followed by a 1994 bridging grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, the IRDP began its work processing the small collection of documents in Makiya’s personal possession and transcribing interviews conducted with Iraqi refugees. The IRDP continued to receive and process small datasets over the next ten years.

Regarding Al-Kadhimi himself, the website notes that he previously worked as:

the director of programming for Radio Free Europe’s Iraq service from 1999 to 2003. He also participated in launching the Iraqi Media Network as the Director of Planning and Programming immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein regime in 2003. Since leaving Al-Iraqiya he has worked with the Iraq Memory Foundation, researching, directing and producing numerous filmed oral history testimonies with survivors of the Saddam Hussein regime.

Radio Free Europe – according to its own website – “is funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM).”

In an age where simply holding views similar to that of nations like Russia earn among the Western media labels like “Russian agent,” Iraq’s current prime minister was literally on the payroll of the US government. The website also notes that he produced documentaries for British state programming including the BBC.

All of Al-Kadhimi’s efforts fed directly into US war propaganda used to justify Washington’s military aggression against Iraq for decades.

Al-Kadhimi also was a regular contributor to Al Monitor – which despite attempting to appear as a Middle Eastern news source – is actually based in Washington DC and headed by American corporate-funded think tank staff and lobbyists.

Al Monitor’s president and chief content officer – Andrew Parasiliti – for example has an extensive background in US corporate-funded foundations and lobbying groups which regular receive money from big-oil, defense contractors, and other multi-billion dollar multinational interests to engineer and promote wars and interventions abroad.

The Al Monitor’s biography for Parasiliti states:

He previously served as director of RAND’s Center for Global Risk and Security and international marketing manager of RAND’s National Security Research Division; editor of Al-Monitor; executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-US and corresponding director, IISS-Middle East; a principal at the BGR Group; foreign policy advisor to US Senator Chuck Hagel; director of the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and director of programs at the Middle East Institute.

Al Monitor clearly serves as yet another vehicle for promoting US intervention and influence abroad.

And it was in Al Monitor that now Iraqi PM Al-Kadhimi wrote articles like his 2015 piece, “US-Iraqi relations need a reset,” in which he presented a skewed version of history from 2003 onward – ignoring the false pretense used by the US to invade Iraq in the first place and the utter destruction and division sown throughout the country ever since.

He also mischaracterizes the appearance of ISIS in 2014 – failing to link America’s supposed withdrawal from Iraq and the serendipitous appearance of the terrorist organization and the opportunity it provided the US to reoccupy Iraq on terms more favorable to Washington. Nothing about ISIS’ US and Saudi funding and arming was mentioned.

He concluded the piece claiming:

US-Iraqi relations since 2003 demonstrate that when ties between the two countries become weak or marginal, it paves the way for external actors to enter and jeopardize common US-Iraqi regional interests. Thus, Washington and Baghdad need to reassess their relationship to develop an effective strategy to help restore the balance of power in the region and ensure their mutual interests.   

When Iraq’s current PM Al-Kadhimi talks about “restoring the balance of power in the region” he is referring to the balance of power the US created and whose benefits only the US and its closest proxies enjoy, all at the cost of everyone else. Al-Kadhimi also made reference in his Al Monitor op-ed to the US propaganda vehicle “the axis of evil” – years after even the US abandoned it as a viable excuse to remain militarily engaged in the region.

While it is difficult to say what sort of leader Al-Kadhimi will ultimately be, his checkered past and his unpromising start signal a period of heightened conflict and instability within Iraq as this previously eager US proxy attempts to steer Iraq in a direction its people and its national economic and political ties do not and cannot go.

US Middle East War is Unwinnable, but Far from Over 

The US and its allies provide Iraq with no genuine political or economic ties or development – and are using the nation as a base for sowing conflict throughout the region – conflict that will ultimately negatively impact Iraq’s own political and economic stability.

It is an unsustainable strategy since the vast majority of Iraqis – whether they are pro-Iranian or not – would chose political and economic stability over being an expendable pawn in Washington’s overseas aggression.

The entire region is attempting – somewhat successfully – to move out from under the shadow of US hegemony and its corrosive effects. While in recent years the US has suffered multiple failures and is incrementally being uprooted from the region – it remains a dangerous hegemon with formidable military, political, and economic weapons arrayed against the Middle East.

Washington’s desperation is highlighted by its increasing need to resort to increasingly less effective violence as the deterrence of its once global might fades and nations begin testing and rolling back the edges of its crumbling hegemony.

It will take time and patience to weather the parting blows of the “American Empire” and its presence in the Middle East – a parting that will take many more years to come and one in which acts of desperation could still lead to catastrophic, open regional war.

Despite the past of characters like Iraqi PM Al-Kadhimi – there is always the possibility that events on the ground will sway policies to continue away from American meddling and aggression and toward peace and stability – something Al-Kadhimi and everyone else in Iraq will benefit from far more than maintaining unawarded loyalty to Washington.

It will be a matter of nations like Iran and its allies keeping doors and avenues open for characters like Al-Kadhimi to escape through – tempting them in the right direction and away from the fate of other “successful” US regime change projects in places like Libya and Ukraine.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. 

Intelwars IRAQ ISIS Isis tunnel United States military US Military

New video shows coalition forces demolishing ISIS tunnel system in Iraq

The United States military released a video Wednesday showing coalition aircraft destroying an Islamic State tunnel system in the Hamrin Mountains in Iraq.

The Hamrin Mountains are known to be an ISIS “safe heaven,” according to the report. “Intricate tunnel and cave systems” in the mountains are regularly used by ISIS fighters to smuggle weapons, plot terror attacks, and move senior officials.

By spring 2019, the ISIS caliphate suffered complete territorial defeat as fighters were ousted from their last remaining land territory in Syria, but the terrorist organization continues to operate in covert.

“The presence of Daesh in Iraq continues to diminish, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of our Iraqi partner forces,” Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, commanding general of the Special Operations Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement.

“Strikes like these help our Iraqi partners maintain relentless pressure on the Daesh scourge, no matter where these terrorists hide,” he added.

The report added that the airstrikes, which are estimated to have killed 5-10 ISIS fighters, were conducted in coordination with the Iraqi government. Iraqi security forces were able to recover ISIS documents, electronic devices, and various other equipment in a ground search of the targeted area post-strike.

Coronavirus Donald Trump Intelwars Iran IRAQ Military Secret attack troops trump Trump iran Tweet US troops Warning

President Trump tweets that ‘Iran or its proxies’ are planning a ‘sneak attack’ on US forces in Iraq

President Donald Trump reported in a tweet Wednesday afternoon that “Iran or its proxies” are preparing to launch a “sneak attack” on U.S. troops or assets stationed in Iraq.

Trump also warned the Iranian government and its partners in the region that if such an attack were to take place, the U.S. would retaliate.

“If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!” the president wrote.

In the tweet, Trump did not cite any specific evidence or elaborate on the details of the alleged forthcoming attack.

According to the Washington Post, “Iran-backed militias are becoming more audacious in attacking U.S. personnel in Iraq, with rocket strikes on military bases occurring more frequently and, for the first time, in broad daylight.”

The Post added that U.S. officials have been receiving reports of “imminent” attacks on U.S.-linked facilities in the country on almost a daily basis.

Last week, the U.S. deployed Patriot air defense systems to an Iraqi military base as a precaution against Iranian-backed militia attacks, the Middle East Eye reported.

The two countries scuffled in early January when the U.S. launched a rocket strike that killed Iranian terrorist military leader Qassem Soleimani. In retaliation, Iran launched missile strikes on numerous Iraqi military facilities housing U.S. troops.


US plans to build new base in western Iraq for Patriot missile system deployment: Source

An Iraqi security source says the US military intends to construct a new military base in the country’s western province of al-Anbar for the deployment of Patriot missile systems.

“US forces intend to establish a new base in Umm Samij area north of al-Baghdadi district in the city of Hit in order to deploy a Patriot anti-missile system, and protect Ain al-Assad air base as well as other locations in western regions against possible attacks,” the unnamed source told Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Ahad news agency on Monday.

He noted, “Identification of a location for the deployment of the Patriot missile system is the first of its kind in Iraq. Such measures are indicative of US forces’ intention to stay in their bases in the western regions of Iraq for a long period of time.”

Intelwars IRAQ

Iraqi Politics in a Storm, Heading Towards Instability and Chaos

Following Iraqi president Barham Saleh’s nomination of Adnan al-Zarfi (Zurufi or Zurfi) as the new Prime Minister, Iraq has entered a critical stage. The Shia block is divided. The 30 days given to al-Zarfi to nominate his cabinet will lead either to a quorum of the parliament recognising his new cabinet and in consequences to a bloody future that could lead to unrest and even partition of Iraq or absence of a quorum. Why did President Saleh nominate al-Zarfi?

In 2018 Speaker Mohamad Halbousi proposed Barham Saleh as President. The proposal was adopted by “Al-Fateh”, the largest Shia coalition, with the agreement of the Sunni. Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani and US presidential envoy Brett McGurk were against the nomination of Saleh. It was Iranian IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani who pushed for Barham Saleh to become president. Saleh, upon his nomination, promised Soleimani to be “better than Mam Jalal” (Uncle Jalal Talibani, one of Iran’s closest allies). Once Saleh was elected, he was asked by the “Al-Fateh” coalition, to nominate Adel Abdel Mahdi as prime minister, and he complied. One year later, Abdel Mahdi was asked by the Marjaiya in Najaf to resign in response to street demonstrations demanding reforms, necessary infrastructure and better job opportunities.


Trump Nixed Calls For Large-Scale Attack On Iranian Proxies, Citing Covid-19

In what appears the first significant US foreign policy alteration due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump reportedly nixed plans for a large-scale attack on “Iranian proxies” in Iraq last week amid a tit-for-tat following rocket attacks on a US base there, which killed two Americans.

The Commander-in-Chief specifically cited coronavirus as reason for holding off on such a major attack, which would surely bog American forces down further in an ongoing battle against Iran inside neighboring Iraq, which Washington fears has long come under the control of the Shia clerics in Tehran. More importantly, the president thought it would “look bad” at the moment of a global pandemic.

NBC reports: “President Donald Trump told his top national security advisers last week that because of the coronavirus pandemic he didn’t think an aggressive response to new attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq by Iranian-backed militias was the right move, according to one former and four current senior U.S. officials.”


Trump Refrained From Ordering Tougher Response to Attacks on Iraqi Bases Due to Coronavirus

Last week, the US military confirmed that they had staged “defensive precision strikes” on weapons storage facilities of the Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah in retaliation for the group’s previous attack on the Camp Taji military base in Iraq that killed at least two American servicemen.

NBC News has cited several unnamed US sources as saying on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic prompted President Donald Trump last week to refrain from ordering a more aggressive response to an Iraqi paramilitary group’s recent attack on American troops in Iraq. The US sees Kataib Hezbollah as an Iranian proxy.

According to the sources, Trump told his senior national security advisers that such a retaliation could tarnish the US’s image now that Iran is grappling with COVID-19, which has already claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the Islamic Republic.

“The president has a pretty good sense of what type of action to take in response to these attacks”, one of the sources said, referring to the US military’s retaliatory steps as “proportional”.


US ‘Enormously Disappointed’ by Iraq’s Failure to Protect US Troops

The US State Department issued a statement Friday declaring themselves “enormously disappointed” by the Iraqi government’s failure to fulfill US demands to protect US and coalition forces in the country.

The US made a big deal of this last week, after US forces were hit with rockets at Camp Taji. The US attacked several bases belonging to Iraqi militias, then demanded Iraq make sure no one retaliated. There was some limited retaliation, which is why the US is so disappointed.

Iraq, for its part, has promised to investigate the rocket attack, but since they haven’t had time to do that and the US immediately started attacking people they thought might’ve conceivably done it, Iraq is also struggling to keep the situation calm, at a time when the government is crumbling and trying to get ready for early elections.


Bashing Probe of US War Crimes, Pompeo Threatens Family of ICC Staff With Consequences

“Threats against family members of ICC staff who are seeking justice is a new low, even for this administration,” said Daniel Balson, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director.

Intelwars IRAQ

Iraq-Syrian Border Liberated! U.S Military Evacuates Military Bases In Iraq

US forces stationed in Iraq to aid ISIS and overthrow the Syrian government, said Tuesday that it had transferred the al-Qa’im military base on the border with Syria to Iraq and transferred responsibility for the base to the Iraqi military.

According to the Iranian news site Pars Today, the forces of the international coalition said they had withdrawn their troops from the al-Qa’im military base on the border of Iraq and Syria, located in the west of Al-Anbar province, and transferred responsibility for the maintenance and control of the base to the Iraqi military.

This comes after several decades-long occupation, where the US’ stated reasons for being in the region has gone through multiple transformations. Following the defeat of the US strategy to remove Assad under the pretext of fighting the very same ISIS which in fact they were supporting, despite that Assad was leading the fight against ISIS, the US’s ability to maintain a foothold in the ravaged region has deteriorated.