A Permanent Base in the Middle East

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BERLIN/BAGHDAD/AL AZRAQ (Own report) – Berlin is considering the establishment of a permanent Bundeswehr base in the Middle East, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said during her recent visits to Jordan and Iraq. German Armed Forces could be stationed at Jordan’s Al Azraq Airbase for an extended period in relative proximity to Iraq – similar to the US Persian Gulf bases. Despite the military victory already achieved over the IS, the Bundeswehr’s deployment will, for the time being, be continued within the framework of the Anti-IS Coalition, to help rebuild Iraq, the German minister announced in Baghdad. Berlin has been seeking new influence in Iraq, for quite some time, also because Iran has been able to enhance massively its position in the country over the past few years. German Tornados taking off from Al Azraq Airbase, have already furnished reconnaissance data leading to the bombing of a school. Their flights over Syria are possibly in violation of international law. Continue reading

Iraq threatens WAR with Turkey over military occupation

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threatens to initiate a regional war if Turkey does not withdraw its military forces from Northern Iraq.

(BAGHDAD/ANKARA) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has warned Turkey that it risks triggering a regional war by keeping troops in Iraq, as each summoned the other’s ambassador in a growing row.

Relations between the two regional powers are already broadly strained by the Syrian war and the rise of the Islamic State militant group. Continue reading

Iraq to Washington: We Don’t Want Your Troops

“We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL (ISIS),” he told the Committee. The new strategy would consist of “three R’s,” he said: more US action, including on the ground, with Syrian opposition partners to take the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria; more intense cooperation with the Iraqi army including with US-embedded soldiers to retake Ramadi from ISIS in Iraq; and the beginning of US military raids, “whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.”

That was news to the Iraqis, it turns out. And it wasn’t very good news at that. Today Sa’ad al-Hadithi, spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said “thanks but no thanks” to a third US invasion of his country. “We have enough soldiers on the ground,” he said. Continue reading

U.S. to Iraq on fight against ISIL: If Russia is in, we’re out

An excuse for the current administration to retreat or an actual concern? The latest Iraqi government has already turned on America and it shouldn’t be of surprise if they allow Russian intervention. Only time will tell.

 

The United States has issued an ultimatum to Iraq in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL): If you ask for Russia to intervene, America can no longer help you.

“I said it would make it very difficult for us to be able to provide the kind of support you need if the Russians were here conducting operations as well,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Oct. 20. “We can’t conduct operations if the Russians were operating in Iraq right now.” Continue reading

Who Really Controls Iraq? Inside Iran’s Powerful Proxy Armies

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When social media began to light up with pictures of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani rallying Shiite militiamen and Hezbollah soldiers ahead of Russia and Iran’s joint effort to retake the city of Aleppo, some wondered where all of these fighters came from. After all, even though the IRGC has now all but admitted it sent soldiers to Syria for the offensive, it wasn’t as if the entire Iranian army marched in overnight and if you believe the reports from the frontlines, the ground force marching on Syria’s largest city looks quite a bit different from the depleted SAA which was all but decimated just two months ago. Continue reading

Russia will ‘consider’ expanding its air offensive to Iraq

Russia is said to be considering Iraq’s offer to allow it to carry out air strikes on Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Iraqi territory.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sept. 30 he may allow Russia to carry out air strikes on the terror group inside Iraq if Moscow offered.

“It is a possibility. If we get the offer, we will consider it,” Abadi said. Continue reading

Russians, Syrians and Iranians setting up military coordination cell in Baghdad

EXCLUSIVE: Russian, Syrian and Iranian military commanders have set up a coordination cell in Baghdad in recent days to try to begin working with Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting the Islamic State, Fox News has learned.

Western intelligence sources say the coordination cell includes low-level Russian generals. U.S. officials say it is not clear whether the Iraqi government is involved at the moment.

Describing the arrival of Russian military personnel in Baghdad, one senior U.S. official said, “They are popping up everywhere.”  Continue reading

Russian Moves in Syria Widen Role in Mideast

“There were military supplies, they are ongoing, and they will continue,” Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday. “They are inevitably accompanied by Russian specialists, who help to adjust the equipment, to train Syrian personnel how to use this weaponry.”

The Russians have not sent attack planes to the airfield, and the Kremlin has not said whether they will. But the military buildup by Russia, which has been supporting Mr. Assad throughout the four-and-a-half-year Syrian civil war, adds a new friction point in its relations with the United States.

“I don’t believe Western governments are prepared to do very much to slow down or block the risky course the Russians are going on,” said Andrew S. Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is a former Russia expert for the National Security Council, the State Department and the Pentagon. Continue reading

Obama admits US lacks ‘complete strategy’ in Iraq

President acknowledges military setbacks in fight against IS, urges Baghdad to allow more Sunnis in campaign against terror group

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — Acknowledging military setbacks, President Barack Obama said Monday the United States still lacks a “complete strategy” for training Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State. He urged Iraq’s government to allow more of the nation’s Sunnis to join the campaign against the violent militants.

Nearly one year after American troops started returning to Iraq to assist local forces, Obama said the Islamic State remains “nimble, aggressive and opportunistic.” He touted “significant progress” in areas where the US has trained Iraqis to fight but said forces without US assistance are often ill-equipped and suffer from poor morale. Continue reading

Iraqi officials fear Islamic State ‘water war’

Jihadists close gates of Ramadi city dam, drying Euphrates river and cutting supplies to strategic communities

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said after the May 17 fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, that his men would take it back within days but operations are moving slowly.

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As they edge towards Ramadi, officials said Iraqi forces risked coming under attack because IS had closed the gates of a dam in the city to dry up the Euphrates.

The move will enable IS fighters to cross the river more easily and to infiltrate more territory. Continue reading

US air force bombs Tikrit to aid Iran-led operation against ISIS. Saudi, Egyptian bombers strike Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen

 

Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies and Egypt underlined their breach with Washington over its Iran policy as two separate air operations went forward early Thursday, March 26, in Iraq and Yemen. The US launched its first air strikes against Islamic State positions in the Iraqi city of Tikrit to help the Iranian-commanded Iraqi operation which had failed to dislodge the jihadis in two weeks of fighting, while the warplanes of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies joined by Egypt began bombing Yemeni cities to halt the Iran-backed Houthi rebellion.

They were the first Middle East nations to rise up and take military action to thwart the US-Iranian strategy embarked on by President Barack Obama to buy a nuclear deal by empowering Iran to attain hegemonic status in the region.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are now leading war action in four Mid East arenas: Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon,while building Shiite “popular” armies deferring to Tehran in three: Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Continue reading

Iran airlifts thousands of Shiite fighters to Syrian port of Latakia to boost Aleppo warfront

The incoming reinforcements are made up of Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militiamen. The fact that Tehran was able to raise this force in less than 24 hours from the Syrian army’s defeat in Aleppo demonstrates Iran’s total military and strategic commitment to swift action for averting a Syrian-Hizballah retreat from a key front of the four-year old civil war.

The Iranian planes are taking two routes to Syria, starting out either in Baghdad or Tehran. In Baghdad, they touch down in the military section of the international airport and collect the Iraqi Shiite militiamen destined for the Syrian battlefield. This step necessitated the consent of the Iraqi government and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Continue reading

Iraqi PM says Islamic State plans subway attacks in US and Paris

New York: Iraq has received “credible” intelligence that Islamic State militants plan to attack subway systems in Paris and the United States, Iraq’s prime minister said on Thursday, but senior U.S. officials said they had no evidence to back up the claim.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had received the information Thursday morning from militants captured in Iraq and concluded it was credible after asking for further details. The attacks, he said, were plotted from inside Iraq by “networks” of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“They plan to have attacks in the metros of Paris and the US,” Abadi told a small group of US reporters while in New York for the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. “I asked for more credible information. I asked for names. I asked for details, for cities, you know, dates. And from the details I have received, yes, it looks credible.” Continue reading