Commentary by the author. Directed by Gus Cantavero.
While Trump has repeatedly voiced his desire to bring troops home before Election Day, various defense officials and confidants on the Hill and in GOP circles have repeatedly insisted to Trump that such large-scale withdrawals would risk creating an election-year mess that would dwarf the fallout that came after President Barack Obama’s troop withdrawal from Iraq, two of the sources said.
It’s a strategy of “scaring the shit out of the president,” as one former senior Trump administration official characterized it. It plays on his fears of possibly getting tagged as “weak” like Obama was. Trumpworld and Republican hawks have used the stratagem to great success in earlier years of this administration. The tactic helped convince Trump to embrace the Afghanistan surge of summer 2017, and got him to quickly back off withdrawals from Syria in both 2018 and 2019. About 900 troops will remain in Syria, a number unchanged by the Iraq drawdown.
Which is why the headline is essentially correct: Trump’s Troop Withdrawal Is a ‘Disingenuous’ Election Year Ploy, Officials Say
Just like when he fell for the Khan Sheikhoun and Douma chemical attack hoaxes in Syria in 2017 and 2018, President Trump let the bin Ladenites (by way of his Zionists) tell him what to think and who to bomb after the attack on the U.S. base in Iraq on December 27, 2019. This time it was “Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah.”
His revenge attacks on Iraqi Shi’ite militias and then Iranian General Qassem Soleimani could have started a real war.
But the Shi’ites didn’t do it.
We tried to tell you…
The provenance of the event that triggered the fateful decisions that followed is shrouded in ambiguity. As the New York Times reported on Dec. 27, “It wasn’t clear who was responsible for the attack,” adding that the base had been threatened previously by both Iranian-backed militias and Islamic State forces.
The IS forces in the area of Kirkuk where the K1 base was located had become increasingly active in 2018 and 2019, with a rapidly growing pace of attacks, operating freely out of the rugged mountainous north and south of the city. In fact there had been more attacks by IS on government targets in Kirkuk in 2018 than anywhere else in Iraq, and it had the highest rate of growth as well.
The U.S. blamed Iranian-backed Khaitab Hezbollah (no relation to the Lebanese Hezbollah group), for the attacks.
There are several problems with this narrative, first and foremost being that the bases bombed were reportedly more than 500 kilometers removed from the military base where the civilian contractor had been killed. The Iraqi units housed at the bombed facilities, including Khaitab Hezbollah, were engaged, reportedly, in active combat operations against ISIS remnants operating in both Iraq and Syria. This calls into question whether they would be involved in an attack against an American target. In fact, given the recent resurgence of ISIS, it is entirely possible that ISIS was responsible for the attack on the U.S. base, creating a scenario where the U.S. served as the de facto air force for ISIS by striking Iraqi forces engaged in anti-ISIS combat operations.
No doubt, the only person in the world who wants to see regime change in Iran as much as Benjamin Netanyahu is Ayman al Zawahiri.
Now here’s a follow-up by Alissa J. Rubin in the Times. There’s no solid proof, but also no reason whatsoever to believe any Shi’ite militia was responsible:
Was US Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran?
American officials insist that they have solid evidence that Khataib Hezbollah carried out the attack, though they have not made it public.
Iraqi officials say their doubts are based on circumstantial evidence and long experience in the area where the attack took place.
The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah.
Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014.
The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces. …
“All the indications are that it was Daesh,” said Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the Iraqi chief of intelligence for the federal police at K-1, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “I told you about the three incidents in the days just before in the area — we know Daesh’s movements.
“We as Iraqi forces cannot even come to this area unless we have a large force because it is not secure. How could it be that someone who doesn’t know the area could come here and find that firing position and launch an attack?” …
Iraqi officials said the group had not had a presence in Kirkuk Province in years. The only time it was active there, they said, was in 2014 during the early days of the fight against the Islamic State.
Ignorant, illiterate Trump couldn’t tell you the difference between ISIS and the Ayatollah if Bloody Gina Haspel waterboarded him.
The disgusting spawn of Zarqawi probably had no intention of launching a false-flag attack here. They were just firing off some rockets at their enemies — Shi’ite army-embedded American troops. Imagine their surprise and delight to see the U.S. exploit their violence to turn against their enemies this way. They sure seemed pretty happy about it at the time. See here:
Remember your history.
Update: On Friday morning I interviewed Iraqi journalist Suadad al-Salhy. She says that actually Shi’ite militias such as Kataib Hezbollah are close enough to have also had the opportunity, and that Rubin is over-simplifying.
The point stands that nobody really knows. And the U.S. has proven nothing.