British Conservatives bomb Iraq, coronavirus or not

This 13 March 2020 video says about itself:

Iraqi military condemns U.S. airstrikes in the country

The United States launched Thursday an attack on a pro-Iranian militia group in Iraq, which it blamed for the death of two American troops and one British soldier in a rocket attack a day earlier. Iraq’s military condemned the overnight airstrikes, describing them as an aggression against Iraq’s formal armed forces. The Iraqi military said no paramilitary fighters had been killed in the strikes, noting that three soldiers, two policemen and one civilian were killed and 12 others injured.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

MoD admits to dropping bombs on Iraq two weeks ago despite supporting global ceasefire during Covid-19 pandemic

The Peace Pledge Union accuses the government of attempting to hide from scrutiny

BRITAIN staged airstrikes in Iraq during PM Boris Johnson’s hospital stay this month just a week after the government offered support for a global ceasefire during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) admitted on Saturday that the Royal Air Force (RAF) had carried out the attacks, which are the first known aerial strikes by British troops for seven months.

The bombing, which the MoD said took place on April 10, was reportedly part of a counter-terrorism operation in northern Iraq.

Iraq sets timetable for withdrawal of US troops, 28th April 2020: here.

Warmongering first, French sailors´ lives a poor second

This 11 April 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Is Piers Morgan right about coronavirus and the Iraq war?

Piers Morgan speaks to talkRADIO’s Kevin O’Sullivan and says “the UK already has the fifth-highest death toll in the world” and suggests on the current trajectory, “we may end up with 40% in the UK of all European deaths.”

Piers thinks heads will need to roll across the board over the coronavirus outbreak “the government was taking advice from people that was clearly wrong.”

He adds that “we were very complacent in the first six weeks of this from the middle of January when the World Health Organisation first said this had the potential to be a global pandemic.” Piers is unhappy with government efforts to battle coronavirus: “The UK is in a lot of trouble…we are playing catch up, we are sending NHS staff into battle with their hands behind their back not properly protected.”

Piers Morgan highlighted the importance of holding the government to account because: “During the Iraq war I took a position of challenging the government intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. We didn’t think that it met the criteria of evidence to justify war, and we thought that it was illegal for us to then go to war without a UN second resolution.”

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Over 1000 crew members infected on French aircraft carrier

About 40 percent of the crew of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle are infected with the coronavirus, authorities have announced. This concerns over 1000 of the 2300 crew members. Several dozen sailors are in hospital, one of whom is in intensive care. It had already been announced earlier this week that many crew members were ill, but the number of infections detected is still increasing.

The Charles de Gaulle returned to its homeport in Toulon, South France, on Sunday, two weeks ahead of schedule. …

At the end of March, the aircraft carrier made a stopover in Brest, on the French west coast. French broadcaster France Bleu quotes a sailor who wants to remain anonymous: “The armed forces played with our lives.” According to him, some crew members already showed symptoms of the coronavirus in Brest.

The Charles de Gaulle left for the Eastern Mediterranean in January to support French military operations against Islamic militants

Really against ISIS? Or for (French corporation Total) oil?

in Iraq and Syria. Then it sailed to the Atlantic and Baltic Sea for war games.

Curveball, new film on Iraq war lies

This 26 February 2020 German video says about itself (translated):

Curveball – in the Berlinale Talk 2020 with director Johannes Naber & actor Sebastian Blomberg

Knut Elstermann welcomes director Johannes Naber and actor Sebastian Blomberg to the Berlinale Talk.

Johannes Naber observes with a great deal of ingenuity the emergence of an unlikely friendship between two men who are overwhelmed by the absurd drama that they themselves triggered. And he warns us from the start: This is a true story – unfortunately. His outrage is contagious. Even those who already know the facts will be stunned by the surreal events that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

By Stefan Steinberg in Germany:

Curveball—Germany’s role in the Iraq war

Curveball by German director Johannes Naber valuably turns a knife in a wound that many in the American and German intelligence communities and governments no doubt hoped had long since healed—the way in which the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on entirely fraudulent and lying justifications.

Naber has made a number of notable films, including the immigrant drama The Albanian (2009), Age of Cannibals (2013) and Heart of Stone(2019).

At the premiere of Curveball in Berlin, a festival representative introduced the film, but said he could not read out its title. The film festival lists it merely as “Untitled”. The film’s name is currently the subject of a US lawsuit. After seeing Curveball, one can see why both the American and German intelligence agencies are exerting considerable influence to prevent its distribution.

Naber’s film is a political satire rooted firmly in factual evidence carefully researched by the director and his team. It begins in Iraq where German biologist Dr. Arndt “Desert Fox” Wolf (Sebastian Blomberg), a biological warfare specialist employed by the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), fails to find any evidence of Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The head of the BND, Schatz (Thorsten Merten), is eager to outdo the CIA and be the first to prove that Iraq possesses dangerous nerve gas. An opportunity opens up when an Iraqi seeking asylum in Germany, Rafid Alwan (Dar Salim), claims he worked as a chemical engineer in Iraq and has inside knowledge of the country’s chemical weapons programme.

Wolf is given the job of interrogating “Curveball”, the alias given to the Iraqi engineer. In exchange for revealing what he knows (in fact, a pack of lies), Alwan requests he be released from incarceration in a German asylum centre and given citizenship.

After a series of interrogations, Alwan takes a hint from Wolf himself and reveals that the reason for the failure of all the intelligence services to find Iraqi WMD is the “ingenious” use by the Hussein regime of trucks and trains to move the huge chemical vats containing dangerous gases. Absurdly, the two men agree on a crude childish diagram drawn on a napkin purporting to show a truck mounted with the massive vats. Finally, the BND leadership have a scoop to present to their American “cousins”—and it’s champagne all round for those concerned. The German chancellor at the time, Gerhard Schröder, also sends his congratulations to the BND.

Desperately seeking evidence to justify a US intervention in Iraq, the CIA is only too willing to accept the scraps from the BNDs’s table. It organises the kidnapping of “Curveball” in Germany in order to present him as its own source. Feeling some obligation to the Iraqi fraudster, BND asset Wolf attempts to rescue him in a hilarious escape scene.

Wolf confronts the CIA agent responsible for the kidnap plan and argues in favour of reliable evidence. The CIA agent is unrepentant: “The truth doesn’t count, only justice matters.” Wolf goes on to ask what gives the CIA the right to distort the facts. “We make the facts”, the female agent responds.

Towards the end of Curveball, documentary footage is shown of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s infamous presentation to the UN Security Council in February 2003 in which he regurgitated Curveball’s lies to justify America’s subsequent attack on Iraq. In his report, Powell stated that Iraq’s weapons programme included “biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails,” an “extensive clandestine network” to supply “its deadly biological and chemical weapons programmes” and the obtaining of “sufficient fissile material to produce a nuclear explosion.” All of this, according to the secretary of state, represented “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

Powell’s presentation included a sketch of a truck loaded with chemical vats based on Curveball’s original napkin drawing. According to one senior US official, Curveball’s lies were “the main pillar” of Powell’s report to the UN. Sitting in the UN meeting is the German Green Party leader, Joschka Fischer, who listens quietly to Powell’s report. BND biologist (in the meantime made redundant) Wolf watches Fischer at home on television and asks, “Why doesn’t he say something?”

Fischer was German foreign minister in the government headed by Schröder (Social Democratic Party, SPD). Schröder’s head of chancellery with responsibility for liaison with Germany’s intelligence services was Frank-Walter Steinmeier (also SPD), currently the country’s president.

Naber’s Curveball graphically demonstrates the duplicity and criminality of Germany’s role in the Iraq war. As chancellor, Schröder publicly declared the German government opposed a new war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Germany’s intelligence agency was providing the lies that Washington used to legitimise its assault on Iraq in the name of the “war on terror.”

Naber wants to counter what the director declares to be “a false portrayal here, an idealised idea of how we Germans operate in the world.” It is important, he argues, to tell the truth and question the role of the secret services and politicians responsible at that time, such as Fischer, Schröder and Steinmeier: “So that children at school can no longer be taught that we were the good ones when it came to the Iraq war.”

To heighten the comedic effect of his film, Naber presents the leading BND figures as provincial careerists in thrall to their American counterparts. In so doing, however, the director runs the risk of seriously underestimating the methods and character of the German ruling elite, which has been trying to achieve greater independence from the US since the reunification of Germany in 1989-1990 and is once again flexing its ruthless imperialist muscles.

In that process, the ruling class draws upon the traditions of Nazism. The BND itself emerged from the Gehlen Organisation (1946-1956), named for Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s chief intelligence officer on the Eastern Front in World War II. After the war, he was recruited by the CIA and headed German intelligence from 1956 to 1968 in close cooperation with the US intelligence agency.

The US bombardment and invasion of Iraq war began a month after Powell’s testimony. Naber’s film ends with statistics detailing the massive loss of Iraqi lives in the subsequent carnage, a mass murder for which Germany also bears direct responsibility.

The end credits also note that “The head of the state chancellery at that time is the current federal president”—i.e., the Social Democrat Steinmeier. This credit was greeted with loud applause from the Berlin audience who clearly approved of this unmasking of Germany’s leading sanctimonious war-monger.

Naber’s film is due to open in German cinemas in September of this year as “Film ohne Titel” (Film Without a Title).

Iraq denounces Trump’s lethal hospital airstrikes

This 13 March 2020 video says about itself:

US Air Strike Destroys Iraqi Hospital

A hospital under construction in Iraq was hit by US air raids overnight, resulting in the death of six people, including one civilian.

The airstrikes were launched by the US in retaliation for an earlier attack in which two American soldiers and one British soldier lost their lives at a base near the capital Baghdad.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Iraq condemns US-UK strikes that killed soldiers, police and civilian

14 March 2020

The Iraqi government and military together with various Iraqi political parties roundly condemned US-British airstrikes carried out early Friday morning against some five separate locations, killing three Iraqi regular army soldiers, two policemen and a civilian worker. Another four soldiers, two policemen, five militiamen and one civilian were wounded, some of them critically. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers dig through the rubble.

The Pentagon launched the bombing raids in retaliation for a rocket attack Wednesday that killed two US and one British military personnel at Camp Taji, a base north of Baghdad. Washington blamed the attack on Kataib Hezbollah, one of the largest components of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), comprised of predominantly Shia militias, which has been incorporated by the Baghdad government into the country’s armed forces. Kataib Hezbollah has not claimed responsibility for the attack, and Washington has offered no evidence of its responsibility for firing 18 rockets that struck the base.

Within hours of the rocket attack, warplanes struck a Kataib Hezbollah position in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province near a strategic border crossing with Iraq, killing some two dozen of its fighters.

Iraq’s military described Friday’s US-British airstrikes as “treacherous” and a “targeted aggression.” It warned that the attacks threatened an “escalation and deterioration of the security situation in the country, and exposes everyone to more risks and threats.”

The country’s President Barham Salih called the bombing raids a “violation of national sovereignty” that could “slide Iraq into anarchy and chaos.” He added, “The repeated violations the state is being subjected to are a dangerous and deliberate weakening of its abilities especially at a time when Iraq faces unprecedented challenges on political, economic, financial, security and health fronts.”

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry convened an emergency meeting of its top officials and summoned the US and British ambassadors to answer for the act of “American aggression.” It said it would raise formal complaints before the United Nations Security Council.

Meanwhile, the Fatah Alliance, one of the most powerful blocs in the Iraqi Parliament, issued a statement stressing that there was no other answer to the attacks outside of forcing the withdrawal of the nearly 6,000 US troops deployed on Iraqi soil.

The Iraqi Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling for the immediate expulsion of all foreign forces from the country in the wake of the January 3 US drone assassination of Gen. Qassem Suleimani, one of Iran’s top government officials, after he landed at Baghdad’s international airport for a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi on attempts to defuse rising regional tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Also killed in the attack was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataib Hezbollah and deputy commander of the entire Popular Mobilization Forces, along with several other Iraqis and Iranians.

This criminal assassination brought the region and the world to the brink of a catastrophic war. Iran responded five days later with missile strikes on two US bases housing American troops in Iraq. While there were no fatalities resulting from the strikes, some 110 soldiers were left with traumatic brain injuries.

The retaliations and counter-retaliations now unfolding in Iraq threaten again to trigger such a war.

Iran Friday rejected US attempts to hold it responsible for Wednesday’s rocket attack that killed the US and British soldiers.

“The United States cannot blame others … for the consequences of its illegal presence in Iraq and the nation’s reaction to the assassination and killing of Iraqi commanders and fighters,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. “Instead of dangerous actions and baseless accusations, Mr. Trump should reconsider the presence and behavior of his troops in the area.”

While the Pentagon, as always, described its bombing raids as “precision” and “proportionate”, one of the targets hit by US bombs was an unfinished civilian airport under construction outside of the Shia holy city of Karbala, 60 miles southwest of Baghdad.

The Imam Hussein Holy Shrine, which oversees the airport’s construction in an agreement with several Iraqi companies, stressed that “this airport is completely civilian” and condemned “this unjustified and blatant assault.” Iraqi television news channels broadcast footage from the scene, showing a building with its windows blown out with signs over the door reading “Karbala International Airport” and “Site Offices”. The one known fatality from the raid was a cook for the civilian workforce.

Speaking in Washington on Friday, Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., the chief of US Central Command which oversees US military operations throughout the region, dismissed the Iraqi protests with all the arrogance and contempt of a colonial occupier.

“We consulted them [Iraq] in the wake of the attack,” he said. “They knew the response was coming.” As for the soldiers, police and the civilians killed and wounded in the strikes, he said, “it’s probably not a good idea to position yourself with Kataib Hezbollah in the wake of a strike that killed Americans and coalition members.”

“I don’t know whether the Iraqis are happy or unhappy,” the general said. And for him, as the commander of what now unquestionably constitutes an occupying imperialist army, the matter is one of complete indifference.

While the US troops now deployed in Iraq were sent in as part “Operation Inherent Resolve”, with the ostensible mission of driving back the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Sunni Islamist militia that overran a third of Iraq’s territory in 2014, routing the US-trained Iraqi security forces, McKenzie and other Pentagon officials have made it clear that they now see the Iraqi Shia militias that played the decisive role in defeating ISIS on the ground, rather than ISIS itself, as the main enemy.

Significantly, the US government and media have paid nowhere near as much attention to two US Marine Raiders killed in a March 8 firefight with ISIS members in a cave complex near Iraq’s northern city of Makhmour than they have to the two who died in the rocket attack on Camp Taji.

This shift is part of a region-wide US military buildup against Iran, which has seen Washington backing Turkey in the defense of Al Qaeda-linked militias in Syria’s Idlib province, bringing the NATO member country to the brink of war with nuclear-armed Russia.

General McKenzie told reporters on Friday that the Pentagon will continue to maintain two aircraft carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf region, led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Harry S. Truman. The CENTCOM commander said that it was the first time that two such strike groups had been deployed near the Persian Gulf since 2012.

While Trump has repeatedly spoken about withdrawing US troops from Washington’s “endless wars”, the reality is that there are now 90,000 US personnel operating in the areas covered by CENTCOM, 10,000 more than before the assassination of Suleimani in January.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, General McKenzie suggested that Iran was more likely to take aggressive action because of the extreme crisis confronting the country. The effects of an explosive growth of the coronavirus pandemic and the plummeting of oil prices have been made all the more devastating by Washington’s maintenance of a “maximum pressure” sanctions regime tantamount to a state of war.

“As the maximum pressure campaign against Iran continues, they are unable to respond really economically or diplomatically, the two channels that we’re using to apply pressure on them,” McKenzie told the Senate panel. “As they seek to find a way to respond, the only way that’s left is the military component.”

The CENTCOM commander followed up these remarks on Friday by declaring, “We never have to wait to be struck. If we believe an attack is imminent … I and my commanders have full authority [to strike].”

The implications are clear. US imperialism is continuing its buildup for a war of aggression against Iran aimed at eliminating a key regional rival for hegemony over the oil-rich Persian Gulf region. It feels emboldened by the deepening economic and health crisis plaguing Iran. Such a war would far eclipse the carnage wrought by two decades of imperialist aggression and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, while threatening to drag in all of the major powers, including nuclear-armed Russia and China.

Trump fights Iraq war, not coronavirus

This 1 March 2020 video by the United States Democratic party congresswoman, presidential candidate, and Iraq war veteran in a military hospital Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Focus on war against Coronavirus—not protecting Al Qaeda-Turkish alliance!

President Trump, instead of going to war with Russia and Syria in order to protect the al-Qaeda-Turkish alliance, you should focus on the war against the Coronavirus.

Trump does not just fight a war for oil in Syria, but in Iraq as well; instead of fighting the coronavirus.

Trump’s presidency led straight to America’s epic coronavirus failure, by Alex Zeldin.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

13 March 2020

Pentagon officials announced late Thursday that US and British warplanes had launched airstrikes against multiple targets in Iraq in retaliation for a missile attack the day before on a military base north of Baghdad that killed two US troops and one British medic while wounding over a dozen other “coalition” troops. The number of Iraqi casualties from the attack was not initially reported.

According to a US official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, the targets for the US bombing raids were sites associated with the Kataib Hezbollah militia, one of the largest components of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the coalition of largely Shia-based militia groups. Baghdad designated the PMF as part of Iraq’s armed forces after the militias played the predominant role in defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which had routed government troops and overrun a third of the country in 2014. …

The attack and the US-led retaliation could reignite military conflict with Iran, threatening to drag the Middle East and the world into war. …

There is widespread speculation in the media that the US will refrain from a direct attack on Iran under conditions of the mounting crisis over the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of financial markets in the US and worldwide. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is attempting to salvage a crumbling agreement providing for a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The administration, however, may still seize on the missile attack in Iraq as a pretext for launching a major military action for the very purpose of shifting public attention from the increasingly catastrophic consequences of its criminal incompetence and indifference in the face of the pandemic.

There were no initial reports of Iraqi casualties resulting from Thursday night’s air raids. Previously, however, warplanes struck positions held by Iraqi Shia militia groups near the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Albu Kamal, reportedly killing at least 26 people. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the casualties and said that US warplanes had carried out the raid. …

This was followed by the January 3 US drone missile assassination of Gen. Qassem Suleimani, one of Iran’s most senior officials, after he arrived at Baghdad’s international airport aboard a commercial flight and passed through Iraqi customs with his diplomatic passport.

Killed in the same drone strike were Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the chief of the Kataib Hezbollah militia and deputy leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces, along with several other Iraqis and Iranians.

Initially, Trump administration officials claimed that the strike was carried out to preempt imminent attacks being prepared by Suleimani against US forces in the Middle East. This phony pretext was later dropped, with Trump claiming that he needed no such justification and that the attack was justified as an act of vengeance for attacks on US troops by the Iraqi resistance to the American occupation. It has since become clear that Suleimani was targeted because he was carrying out a diplomatic mission to Iraq as part of an attempt to defuse tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament is confronting Washington’s open defiance of its demand made last January, in the wake of the Suleimani assassination, that the 6,000 US troops remaining in Iraq be withdrawn.

Instead, the Pentagon has indicated that it intends to deploy US Patriot missile batteries in Iraq to counter any possible new threat from Iranian ballistic missiles. US Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of CENTCOM, told the House Armed Service Committee on Tuesday that the Pentagon was “in the process of bringing air defense systems, ballistic missile defense systems, into Iraq in particular, to protect ourselves against another potential Iranian attack.”

Last month, Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi addressed a letter to US Defense Secretary Esper warning that any deployment of Patriot missile batteries would be in defiance of the Iraqi government and would inflame popular opposition by signaling that the US has no intention of withdrawing its troops. …

There is little likelihood that Tehran ordered Wednesday’s rocket strike against the US-led occupation forces in Iraq. The country has been plunged into a deepening crisis by the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit it harder than any other country with the exceptions of China and Italy. The devastating “maximum pressure” campaign by Washington to drive the country’s oil exports down to zero and cut it off from the world market has denied it essential medical supplies. The Iranian government has issued an appeal to the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the outbreak. It is hardly likely, under these conditions, to launch a military confrontation with the US.

Even as the world, and the United States itself, reels from the consequences of the pandemic and the failure of capitalist governments to either prepare for or adequately respond to its devastating effects, Washington continues to pursue its predatory interests in the Middle East and across the planet. The renewed violence in Iraq makes it clear that the threat of US imperialism dragging humanity into a catastrophic regional and even world war continues unabated.

US accused of shipping jihadists into Iraq: here.

To placate Trump, and on the advice of Pence, it looks as though Netanyahu picked the most extreme option on the table, by the Forward. Netanyahu quarantined all arrivals to placate Trump. US-Israel relations are diseased. By Abe Silberstein, March 10, 2020.

Young Iraqi woman painter interviewed

Teenage Iraqi artist Samaa al-Ameer

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Friday, February 14, 2020

‘Love is the best medicine for Iraq

Teenage artist tells the Star how she hopes her paintings will communicate the voice of Iraqi women to the world

DISABLED teenage Iraqi artist Samaa al-Ameer insisted that “love is the best medicine” for her country today as she hoped to use her paintings to communicate the voice of Iraqi women to the world.

Ms Ameer, 16, spoke to the Morning Star hoping to spread a Valentine’s Day message of “peace, tolerance and love” as the country spirals into violence and chaos, with armed militias and Iraqi security services attacking those demanding change.

She explained how the anti-government protests started in October with Iraqi youth raising the slogan “scared people cannot create freedom.”

But Ameer said that she was saddened to be prevented from accompanying her father to the demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square “because of my disability.”

“I knew the amazing role of the Iraqi women there, especially the young ones, having seen their images on television screens and in photographs”, she said.

Her mother suggested that she made some paintings of the demonstrations and presented them as gifts to the protesters.

“I made two paintings; one of them is titled ‘The Rain of Iraq Hearts’ and I published them. But I said that any cultural activity is meaningless without going to Tahrir Square,” she said.

She explained that her mother had to work hard to convince her father to take her to the square, which has been central to the uprising and the scene of a violent backlash with security services firing teargas and live bullets at those gathered there.

Ameer’s mother heard her speaking of her sadness at being unable to attend the protests and meet the young people demanding revolutionary change.

She persuaded her father to allow her to attend “because she knows very well that I am a girl of principles and she teaches me the importance of making my words correspond with my actions.

“My father and mother took me to Tahrir Square on the last day of 2019. I found there a beautiful picture of Iraq and l looked attentively at the Freedom Monument,” one of the city’s most well-known and best-loved statutes and a symbol of revolution.

“Because my country has suffered from difficult and critical circumstances, I raised two banners announcing my campaign for spreading a culture of love, peace, tolerance, and co-existence, banishing hatred,” Ameer explained.

The banners read “Love is the best medicine for Iraq” and “by love we can build Iraq.”

Samaa told the Star that she hoped to use her artwork to raise the voice of Iraqi women who are playing a leading role in the uprising.

Scores have been killed and arrested in protests across the country, but refuse to be intimidated.

At least 600 people are believed to have been killed since the uprising began.

Ameer called for an end to the violence and urged Iraqi’s to “fill your heart with love to build your country.”

Brussels, Belgium solidarity with Iraqi demonstrators

This 2018 video is the trailer of the theatre play Bagdad.

The BRussells TRibunal in Belgium invites you:

Fortstraat 35
1060 Brussels

11 February 2020

We are sure you may have heard something of what’s happening in Iraq right now. Thousands of people protesting in the streets, harsh repression, many dead and wounded, political chaos. But the media and politicians in the West hardly pay attention. Perhaps this has to do with the standard image that the Western media present about the Arab world: inclined towards religious extremism and unable to value human rights and freedom. Or with politicians who quietly support looting the Middle East of its natural resources, without sharing their ethical dilemmas with their voters.

Theatre-maker Enkidu Khaled (Brussels) and writer-activist Chris Keulemans (Amsterdam), who also created the performance Bagdad in 2018, now offer a special programme to give the audience a direct view
of the current revolution in Iraq. With images of the uprisings, stories of eyewitnesses, skype conversations with people who have spent weeks and months demonstrating peacefully at the Freedom Square in Baghdad since last October.

Guests: Muna Al-Jaffal, Noof Assi, Dirk Adriaensens en Tine Danckaers.

Iraqi anti-Trump occupation demonstrators killed

This November 2018 video says about itself:

Trump wants Iraq to pay for the US invasion with oil

Donald Trump urged the Iraqi prime minister to compensate for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq with oil, according to Axios.

By Jean Shaoul:

Iraqi government cracks down on anti-US protests

28 January 2020

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered a brutal crackdown on peaceful mass demonstrations that erupted on Friday. Protesters chanted “get out, get out, occupier”, and called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from the country.

For the last three days, security forces have fired teargas and live ammunition, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens more in the capital, Baghdad, and in the southern cities of Basra, Nasariyah, Dhi Qar and Diwaniya, in a bid to disperse the protests.

Demonstrators protest US actions in Iraq (Credit: AP Photo)

According to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, more than 500 people have been killed since the protests began on October 1 with several rights groups accusing security forces of using excessive force. There have been reports of kidnappings, torture, snipers on rooftops and armed gunmen in drive-by shooting of protesters.

The protests, sparked by unemployment, particularly among young people, the lack of electricity and water, poor services and rampant corruption, rapidly escalated, with calls for the government to resign, a new prime minister independent of the main political blocs, fresh elections, an end to the sectarian-based political system and the prosecution of those implicated in corruption and the killing of protesters.

While the protests have mainly taken place in Baghdad and nine predominantly Shia provinces, they have generally been supported by Sunni Iraqis. Most of the Sunni politicians, however, have remained silent over the protests.

Although Abdul Mahdi resigned last month, he remains in office until a new prime minister is appointed. Candidates nominated by the government have been rejected by the protesters as being too close to the old corrupt setup. …

Al-Sadr has millions of supporters in Baghdad’s poorest neighbourhoods and the south and heads the largest political bloc in Iraq’s parliament, which holds several ministerial posts. Al-Sadr, who has long sought to balance between Washington and Tehran, has found it increasingly difficult to contain his supporters’ hostility to the corrupt politicians that have ruled the country since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. …

Anger was fuelled by Iraqi President Barham Salih’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at Davos last week, a clear sign that Salih wants US troops to stay in the country. This flew in the face of a parliamentary vote taken in response to mass pressure for the expulsion of all US forces from Iraq in the wake of the US drone missile assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Suleimani, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a prominent member of the Iraqi government and leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the umbrella group of predominantly Shia militias funded by the Iraqi government.

The US murder of Suleimani, who had been invited to Baghdad by Abdul Mahdi to discuss attempts to ease regional tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and al-Muhandis, together with eight other Iraqis and Iranians, at Baghdad’s international airport on January 3 was an unprovoked act of war against Iran and Iraq. It provoked furious opposition from the Iraqi people across the sectarian divide to any outside interference in Iraq—whether by the US, Iran, Israel or Saudi Arabia. …

Trump … has made clear that should Iraq insist on the US leaving Iraq, then Washington will impose punishing sanctions. …

Within hours, riot police tried to storm protest camps set up across the capital and in the south, removing concrete barriers near Tahrir Square where anti-government demonstrators have camped out for months, and used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the activists.

This served to fuel the protests, with thousands of university and school students taking to the streets in Baghdad, Basra and Nasariyah.