Middle East Round-up

In these dark days of the virus we get very little info about our wars that have been raging for decades….and that is where I come in……I will try to keep my readers as up to date as I can on the info about our ME wars.

The virus is major news and yet the neocons are still worried about the actions of Iran…..

Defense Secretary Mark Esper is looking at extending the deployment of a reaction force sent to the Middle East to counter Iran’s militia network, according to three sources and documents provided to The Daily Beast.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in the Mideast in January after Iranian-backed militias attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The roughly 3,000 paratroopers operate as an immediate reaction force, built to deploy on short notice to global hotspots.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pentagon-may-keep-paratroopers-mideast-191344294.html

Still a war of words on just what the policy is in the Middle East these days…….

Initially announced weeks ago, the US withdrawal of troops from western Iraq and concentration in the east looks more and more like preparation for another confrontation with neighboring Iran. Recent reports suggest that is one policy being advocated.

On Friday, reports suggested that the Pentagon had been ordered, by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to start planning to wipe out certain Iraqi militias which they believe are Iranian proxies. Officials say the administration is increasingly divided on the plan.

Lt. Gen. Robert White was very averse to this idea, saying it would require the US bring in thousands of more troops, and divert from existing missions. He also warned it risks starting a war with Iran, which at least some of the proponents consider very much the point.

US Repositions Troops in Iraq, Preparing for Fight Against Iran

US keeps reporting that the militias are planning a “sneak attack”….

All the reports of some in the Trump Administration pushing for attacks on “Iranian proxies” in Iraq seem to be coming to a head, with President Trump claiming Wednesday that Iran is “planning a sneak attack” in Iraq, and threatening to make them pay a “very heavy price.

This is, of course, exactly the sort of thing the US would claim if they are going forward with plans to attack the Iraqi militias (or even Iran itself), as they could claim to be preempting what Iran is planning. The planned attacks in Iraq are advocated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and opposed by US generals in Iraq, who believe it would provoke a bigger war and require more troops than the US has in the country.

Since the US is constantly needling those militias, and presenting them as Iranians, it is only a matter of time before another one fires a few rockets which the administration can present as an Iranian “sneak attack” and then escalate it into a war. This already almost happened once this year, and officials seem to never really dial back the rhetoric so much as temporarily step away from the war to revisit it a few months later.

President Trump was previously said to be averse to attacking Iran during the coronavirus outbreak because it would harm public opinion. The US was also talking this week of easing sanctions on Iran for the sake of combating the pandemic. This would make zero sense as a time for Iran to attack, but convincing Trump such an attack is coming would be a way to sell him on the plans to attack the militias.

(antiwar.com)

This is the breakdown of the action in Iraq for the last month……

At least 128 people were killed, and 180 were wounded in Iraq during March. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, protests tapered off dramatically, reducing the reported violence significantly. However, the number of Coalition troop casualties surged. During February, at least 187 people were killed, and 558 were wounded.

Of the recent casualties, 25 civilians, 17 security members, and 54 militants were killed. Another 33 civilians and 45 security personnel were wounded. At least three protesters were killed, and 85 were wounded before quarantines were in effect. One mass grave was found, but the number of people in it was not released.

Four U.S. and one British servicemembers were killed in combat-related incidents. Twelve servicemembers were also wounded; their nationalities were not reported. Another three more American servicemembers were wounded in artillery fire. Also, a United States soldier died in a non-combat incident on March 30, that is believed unrelated to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in northern Iraq, two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded. At least 21 guerrillas were killed.

(antiwar.com)

We have been exposed to a lot of news about Syria…..most of it is from Neocon pundits that have a stake in the wars in that country….but what do the Syrian people think…….

Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favour of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.

Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation. Qatar’s royal family has taken one of the most hawkish lines against Assad – the emir has just called for Arab troops to intervene – so it was good that The Doha Debates published the poll on its website. The pity is that it was ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/17/syrians-support-assad-western-propaganda

A breakdown on how the virus is effecting the Middle East and conflict…..https://themuslimtimes.info/2020/04/05/what-impact-is-covid-19-having-on-middle-east-conflicts/\

The barbarous group ISIS has been defeated but the virus has many worried that it could assist them in making a come back….

The military is concerned that the Islamic State terrorist group could rebound amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis in northeastern Syria, as local officials sound the alarm about a lack of resources to deal with a coronavirus outbreak.

In order to help prevent a crisis, the international coalition to defeat the militant group has begun sending basic medical equipment and other supplies to the Syrian Democratic Forces guarding thousands of ISIS prisoners, two senior coalition staff officers who work directly on this issue told POLITICO.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/02/us-military-fears-isis-resurgance-coronavirus-pandemic-162046

Just a few stories that I thought would give a good picture at what was happening in the Middle Est while most of us are otherwise distracted.

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4 thoughts on “Middle East Round-up

  1. I have alays believed that Assad must enjoy the support of the majority of people in Syria, or surely the regime would have been toppled a long time ago, given the amount of weapons and foreign support for the rebels.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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