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Posts Tagged ‘Airstrikes’

Bomber Joe Biden Strikes Iraq and Syria: Retaliation Breeds More Incidents — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on July 17, 2021

Joe Biden is continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/07/15/bomber-joe-biden-strikes-iraq-and-syria-retaliation-breeds-more-incidents/

In less than six months in office President Joe Biden has already developed a national security policy that appears to lean strongly towards proactive use of military force in questionable circumstances, as if war is the answer to every problem. Biden should nevertheless be applauded for his persistence in withdrawing from Afghanistan after twenty years of ill-considered nation building, but even the departure from that country appears to be characterized by a lack of coordination, rather reminiscent of helicopters taking off from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975.

For the second time the president has ordered a US bombing raid on two targets in Syria, and for the first time, he also attacked a site inside Iraq. According to one report possibly as many as seven Iraqis died in the attacks which targeted alleged weapons storage facilities along the Syria-Iraq border belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militias. The US claims that the two Iraqi militias have ties to Iran, which may be more than usually true because the Iraqis and Iranians have cooperated regularly in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon also claims that the militias were behind recent attacks on American targets, see more below.

After the attacks carried out by US fighter-bombers, the excuse provided was the same one employed after Biden’s first air attack in February, namely that the US, as described by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.” He added verbiage what has now become a regular feature of all US military actions, that “the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense.” For those who are intrigued by Pentagon newspeak the expression “defensive precision airstrikes” must be considered as a new entry in the crowded field of phrases that largely have no meaning.

The strikes were framed as being retaliatory, but the most interesting aspect of this latest bombing is that the initial US government justifications for the action were on somewhat tentative. Reportedly, someone had used drones with explosives attached for mostly night-time attacks directed “against places where Americans were located in Iraq,” which were further described as including diplomatic, intelligence and military facilities. The Pentagon refers to the drones as “unmanned aerial vehicles” or UAVs. No Americans were killed in the alleged attacks and there were no reports of any substantial damage, though the Pentagon is apparently collecting information and preparing a comprehensive report which the public undoubtedly will not be allowed to see.

Oddly, the initial media reporting on what had occurred and who had been blamed for it included a weasel word, “suspected.” In government-speak that frequently means there was little or no evidence that the militias that had been targeted were actually the perpetrators, but it is convenient to assume that they are responsible, making them “suspects.” After all, it is relatively easy to transport a number of drones on the bed of a pickup truck, drive with it to a location where one is unlikely to be observed and then release them at a fixed target. Even if you don’t hit anything, you will spread fear and trigger a response that might well be exploited to vilify the occupying forces. You will also provide justification for your own retaliation.

The Iraqi government, which was not informed in advance of the US bombings, not surprisingly reacted strongly, registering its opposition to such activity on the part of its so-called ally, though occupier has been suggested as a more appropriate description. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office called the airstrikes a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security.” After the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad Airport in January 2020, the Iraqi Parliament had called for the departure of all US forces, but the Trump Administration ignored the demand, claiming that it was in Iraq to help the Iraqis in their fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The US currently has a claimed 2,500 soldiers in Iraq who, it asserts, are in country advising and training their local counterparts. Meanwhile, “Fighting terrorists and training friendly forces” is roughly the same excuse that has been used to justify remaining in neighboring Syria, where the US has deployed roughly 500 soldiers who have been taking possession of the production of the country’s oil fields, which it then provides to Israel. The US is also, by the way, trying to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government in Damascus, using some of the very terrorists it claims to be fighting to do the job, but that is of course another story.

If the United States government is beginning to sound a bit like the Israeli government that should surprise no one, as Israel is clearly heavily involved in whatever on goes vis-à-vis Syria and Iran directly and in Iraq by proxy. One almost expects new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to provide an endorsement, parroting the Pentagon line as well as his own country’s rhetoric, saying “the US has a right to defend itself.” Of course, the unasked question then becomes “to defend itself against what?” Israel was at least able to pretend that there was some kind of threat coming from Gaza since the two share a border, but the United States would be hard pressed to explain why it has soldiers in Syria and Iraq at all, particularly since the Iraqi government has called upon them to depart.

A neocon journalist supportive of a global crusade to spread “democracy” once quipped that the nice thing about having an empire is never having to say you are sorry, but that has not meant that mindless acts of violence inflicted throughout the Middle East are have been consequence free. One has to suspect in this case that the use of force to include a target within the borders of a nominal ally was also mostly intended to send a signal to Iran. A Pentagon spokesman ironically boasted afterwards that “This action should send a message to Iran that it cannot hide behind its proxy forces to attack the United States and our Iraqi partners.” The spokesman appears to be oblivious to the fact that it was Iraqi militiamen tied to the government that had been killed, not Iranians. And his assumption that it would reduce the level of violence also proved wrong as there have been a number of new drone, rocket and mortar attacks against American targets in Iraq since Biden’s “defensive precision airstrikes” were launched. One of the militias that lost fighters to the US airstrikes, said it would “avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs.”  Another Iranian supported group, the Popular Mobilization Forces went further, threatening to “enter an open war with the American occupation.” In short, all the attacks really accomplished was to anger the Iraqi people over the continued US presence and to guarantee more incidents.

Biden’s “sending a message to Iran” would undoubtedly be intended to do the same to the Iraqi government, telling them that drawing any closer to the Iranians is too close as far as the Pentagon and White House are concerned. In terms of the timing of the airstrikes, it is also important to note that the US has been working closely with the new Israeli government to establish a unified policy on Iranian “regional aggression” and its nuclear program. Biden met recently with retiring Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been having discussions with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. Iran was the focus of both meetings.

So, Joe Biden and whoever is advising him are continuing down the path that began with George W. Bush, with military action used as a substitute for any real foreign policy. The problem with the meddling in the Middle East is primarily that it permits no exit strategy. It will end ignominiously when it ends as is happening in Afghanistan, without any remorse and little to show for all the expense and the deaths. Given that reality, rather than concoct largely fabricated reasons to keep US troops in Iraq and Syria the Administration should be looking for ways to end the torment for everyone involved.

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Watch “Biden Claims Bombing Syria And Iraq Is A ‘Defensive’ Move. What?” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on June 29, 2021

Over the weekend President Biden ordered US airstrikes on Syrian and Iraqi territory. The Administration claims that bombing countries 6,000 miles away who could not pose a threat to the US if they wanted was a “defensive” move. One problem: US troops are illegally occupying Syria and the bombing was unequivocally condemned by the Iraqi government. So…”defense”…or aggression? Also today, new polls and studies on Covid and US trust in the media. Don’t miss today’s Liberty Report.

https://youtu.be/XQ5lmjpKJcI

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Bipartisan Senators Seek to Strip Biden of War Powers

Posted by M. C. on March 6, 2021

At long last we see action to kill war power authorizations used by three presidents.

Those bills were never necessary and never should have been passed at all, in any form.

https://www.thestreet.com/mishtalk/economics/bipartisan-senators-seek-to-strip-biden-of-war-powers

Mish

Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would repeal decades-old authorizations for the use of military force in the Middle East, amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the region.

Kaine (D-Va.) and Young (R-Ind.) unveiled the measure as lawmakers have expressed frustration with President Joe Biden’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria last week without first seeking congressional approval. It also comes just hours after an Iraqi military base housing U.S. troops and civilian contractors was hit by rocket attacks.

The bill would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations that cleared the way for a prolonged military conflict in Iraq, culminating in calls from Democrats and Republicans alike to end the so-called “forever wars” in the region.

Senators from across the ideological spectrum signed onto the Kaine-Young bill as co-sponsors on Wednesday, including Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers,” Kaine said. “Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary.”

Biden angered congressional Democrats when he launched airstrikes against Iran-backed military installations in Syria, with lawmakers lamenting that the White House did not consult with Congress ahead of time and did not properly notify them about the strikes.

Congress has largely abdicated its constitutional authority to declare war, and presidents from both parties have used outdated authorizations to legally justify U.S. military action — including, and perhaps most notably, the 2001 authorization for the use of military force against al Qaeda and the Taliban, which was approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Kaine-Young bill, though, only deals with the 1991 and 2002 measures, which are entirely focused on Iraq.

No Longer Necessary?!

Not quite. Those bills were never necessary and never should have been passed at all, in any form.

Bush, Obama, and Trump all made terrible use of those bills. 

Congress and Congress alone should authorize war and be damn careful when it does. 

Warmongers on both sides, notably Hillary Clinton, agreed to fight a stupid second war with Iraq on what any reasonable person should have seen as a pack of lies by Bush and Cheney. 

We are still there needlessly and senselessly. 

Republicans would not strip Trump but some will be happy to strip Biden. Better late than never, but still not enough.

One Step Further

Congress should go one step further and set a timeline for all troops to return from everywhere starting with the Mideast and Cuba, preferably immediately.

Mish

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Breaking: Biden Bombing Syria! – RPI 25 Feb Update

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2021

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/syriabomb?e=4e0de347c8

Dear Friends:

According to breaking news reports, including by Reuters, President Biden has ordered and the Pentagon has carried out military airstrikes on Syria, attacking a structure inside the country that the US government claims houses “Iranian-backed” militia.

US missiles struck tonight near the Syrian town of Al-Bukamal, on the Iraqi border. The strike is said to be in retaliation for recent rocket attacks against US facilities in Iraq. After another rocket attack earlier this month, the US State Department pointed the finger at Iran and threatened a US military response.

The Iraqi parliament voted in January, 2020, to expel US troops from the country after then-President Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The US government ignored the vote of the democratically-elected Iraqi parliament, however Trump later announced his decision to pull US troops out of Iraq. 

President Biden wasted no time in reversing Trump’s disengagement strategy for the Middle East. After just over a month in office, President Biden is re-igniting the failed US intervention launched in 2014 against Syria under the Obama Administration.

Within 24 hours of Biden being inaugurated commander-in-chief, US military convoys began pouring into northern Syria. His Administration, from Secretary of State Tony Blinken on down, enthusiastically supported the US “regime change” policy for Syria under President Obama – a policy that only benefitted al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region,

Earlier this month it was reported that the US was building a new military base in Syria, near the Iraq and Turkey borders. New military bases carry with them new missions, so there is plenty of reason to believe that Biden plans to return the US to the “Assad must go” policy of his former boss.

Biden coming out of the gate with bombs blazing should be of little surprise to those who have watched his early foreign policy appointments. For example, he tapped noted neocon and aggressive interventionist Dana Stroul to head his Middle East Desk at the Pentagon and no doubt this airstrike at least indirectly reflects her influence and that of many others like her who have taken up positions in the Biden Administration.

Stroul hails from the AIPAC-founded “think tank,” the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), where, as former CIA official Phil Giradi writes, “she has been the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fellow in the Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.” She is an extreme Iran hawk and has advocated and worked for regime change in Syria and US retention of large areas of Syrian territory.

So within a month of assuming office, President Biden looks to be on the cusp of launching a new Middle East war. Will a Left-Right-and-beyond peace coalition emerge to challenge the hawks driving this new push to war? We must remain open to any alliance and be willing to put other issues of potential disagreement aside. There are plenty of antiwar progressives who will increasingly find themselves uncomfortable with this Administration. We must be willing to work with them in good faith.

Buckle up. These are going to be very trying times for non-interventionists!
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Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

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Is This What ‘Liberation’ Looks Like? US Airstrikes Have Devastated Mosul – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2017

http://original.antiwar.com/phyllis-bennis/2017/07/28/liberation-looks-like-us-airstrikes-devastated-mosul/

Another Pentagram/CIA sponsored foreign policy operation that was a success but the patient died.

The price paid by the people of Mosul is incomprehensibly high. Read the rest of this entry »

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