On COI #109, Libertarian Institute writer Connor Freeman returns to the show to break down this week’s events in Palestine.
Days of heated protests over looming evictions of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem prompted harsh police crackdowns, including around Al Aqsa mosque, among the holiest sites in Islam. The clampdown prompted flurries of Hamas rocket fire into Israeli cities, followed by hundreds of IDF strikes that hammered the blockaded Gaza Strip, leaving more than 100 Palestinians dead by Thursday night. At least six Israelis have also perished in the flare-up.
Connor, Kyle and Will give background on Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank, where illegal settlements continue to expand onto Arab-owned property with full support of Tel Aviv’s advanced, US-funded military.
On January 3rd, the US used drone strikes to assassinate the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani, at Baghdad Airport. The airstrike also killed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) deputy Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several other individuals.
Who were Soleimani and Muhandis?
Soleimani was the head of the Iranian Quds Force. The Quds Force is the branch of the Iranian military that implements its ‘forward defense’ strategy. Soleimani got his military start during the Iran/Iraq War in the 80s. In recent years, Soleimani and the Quds Force fought the Islamic State and other Sunni terror groups in Iraq and Syria. Soleimani put together militias of local Iraqi and Syrian Shia to fight against the Islamic State in their countries. While Trump and the US often get credit in Western media for the defeat of IS, in the Middle East, the people see Soleimani as the hero of the war.
Muhandis was a member of the Iraqi parliament before the rise of IS. After the IS started to threaten the Shia areas in Iraq, the country’s Shia leadership called for the formation of Shia militias to fight against IS, as the Iraqi Army had lot a lot of territory to IS. Along with Soliemani, Muhandis was key to forming the Shia militias in Iraq that fought against IS. After the defeat of the IS the Iraqi government dictated that the Shia militias – including PMFs – were now a part of the Iraqi Defense Department and under the direction of the Iraqi prime minister.