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Qasem Soleimani's murder and ongoing US/Iranian conflict

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Qasem Soleimani's murder and ongoing US/Iranian conflict

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:35 am

Qasem Soleimani:

Iran has vowed "severe revenge" against the United States for killing top commander Qasem Soleimani and will likely use its experience of asymmetric warfare to strike back at its arch foe

All options however carry the risk of rapid escalation and Iran's clerical leadership will want to carefully weigh the dangers to a regime that has been in place since the ousting of the pro-American shah in 1979.

"We can't predict what direction Iran will choose to go in. But what we do know is that Iran acts in a calculated manner and takes very deliberate steps," said Ariane Tabatabai, associate political scientist at the Rand Corporation, a policy think tank in California.

"I expect they will take the time they need to get the response right," she told AFP.

Iran learned the merits of asymmetric warfare -- fighting a power with greater military might than your own -- in the deadly 1980-1988 war against Iraq. Its strong influence in Iraq, Syria Lebanon and beyond means it has possible levers against the US presence in the region.

Here are the main options Iran might consider to avenge the death of a man who was commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards and masterminded its operations across the Middle East.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/analysis/030120201
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Qasem Soleimani's murder and ongoing US/Iranian conflict

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Re: US had NO right to bomb Irag and kill Qasem Soleimani

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:02 am

Opinions are like arseholes
    everybody has one so here is mine
Islamic Revolution

If the US or any other country actually cared about the Iranian population, it would have interceded when 50% of the Iranian population (the female half) lost all their rights almost overnight as part of the Islamic Revolution 1979

Iranian Oil Bourse

The IOB is intended as an oil bourse for petroleum, petrochemicals and gas in various currencies other than the United States dollar, primarily the euro and Iranian rial and a basket of other major (non-US) currencies. The geographical location is at the Persian Gulf island of Kish which is designated by Iran as a free trade zone

US is a bully as it has told other countries buying Iranian Oil to stop purchases or face sanctions

Did you know that Saddam Hussain also intended to set up an Independent Oil Bourse

The killing of Qasem Soleimani was murder

Definition of murder: To kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice

Question: Was Qasem Soleimani standing alone in an enormous field/air strip or were other innocent people also slaughtered?

A lot has been written about Qasem Soleimani, most of it will be lies and propaganda

Personally I believe it was wrong to murder Qasem Soleimani in such a manner
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Re: Who gains from Qasem Soleimani's murder - mostly ISIS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:55 am

ISIS are becoming stronger

Qasem Soleimani was one of the leaders in the fight against ISIS

Trump has gone mad

US 'targeting' 52 Iranian sites if Tehran attacks

President Trump warned Iran not to strike Americans or US assets

President Trump has warned the US is "targeting" 52 Iranian sites and will strike "very fast and very hard" if Tehran hits Americans or US assets.

His comments followed the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, in a drone strike.

Iran has vowed to avenge his killing.

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that Iran "is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets" in response to the general's death.

He said the US has identified 52 Iranian sites, some "at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD" if Tehran strikes the US.

"The USA wants no more threats!" Trump added.

The president said the 52 targets represented the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for more than a year from late 1979, after they were seized at the US embassy in Tehran.

Mr Trump's tweets came hours after a huge funeral procession for Soleimani was held in Baghdad, where he was killed on Friday.

Thousands took to the streets of Kerman to mourn Gen Soleimani, a popular figure in Iran

Several rocket attacks shook the area shortly after the procession, including one in the Green Zone near the US embassy.

The Iraqi military said nobody had been hurt. No group has yet said it was behind the development. Pro-Iranian militants have been blamed for other recent attacks.

With Iran already threatening harsh reprisals for the killing of the Quds Force commander, President Trump has clearly determined that the best way to de-escalate is to raise the stakes in advance, making clear what will happen if Tehran follows through on its threats.

The Trump tweet is curious in many ways - not least the symbolic mention of 52 Iranian targets being held at risk - a reference to the 52 US hostages seized in the US Embassy in Tehran back in November 1979.

His mention of targets important "to the Iranian culture" suggests a much wider target list than just leadership, military or economic sites.

President Trump is struggling to establish some kind of deterrence. But the ball is now very clearly in Iran's court and it is very hard to see how Tehran can fail to act.

Mr Trump has pursued a contradictory policy ever since he abandoned the nuclear agreement with Tehran - increasing economic pressure, threatening military action, but actually doing very little, even when Iran shot down a sophisticated US drone and struck oil installations in Saudi Arabia.

Above all, he has repeatedly underscored his and Washington's fatigue with its military involvement in the region. This as much as anything else has undermined US deterrence, something Mr Trump is now seeking, belatedly, to restore.

Why did the US kill Soleimani? (Good Question)

General Soleimani was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran, behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The 62-year-old spearheaded Iran's Middle East operations as head of the elite Quds Force, and was hailed as a heroic national figure.

But the US branded the commander and the Quds Force terrorists, holding them responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US personnel.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, President Trump said Soleimani was "plotting imminent and sinister attacks" on US diplomats and military personnel in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

When Trump leaves office perhaps he should get a job as a Psychic :))

The general was killed by an air strike at Baghdad airport early on Friday, on the orders of President Trump. The president said the action was taken to stop, not start, a war.

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei said "severe revenge awaits the criminals" behind the US attack. Soleimani's death would double "resistance" against the US and Israel, he added.

Iraqis are also mourning the death of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi who commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group and was killed along with Soleimani.

On Saturday the group issued a warning to Iraqi security forces to "stay clear of American bases by a distance not less [than] 1,000m (0.6 miles) starting Sunday evening", al-Mayadeen TV reported.

In response to Iranian threats of revenge, the US has sent 3,000 more troops to the Middle East and advised its citizens to leave Iraq.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-50996602

So why is Trump sending 3,000 more troops to the Middle East !?!
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Re: Who gains from Qasem Soleimani's murder - mostly ISIS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:09 am

Don’t turn Iraq into battleground

The Kurdistan Region president condemned foreign states settling scores on Iraqi soil. The country must not be turned into a battleground, his office said late Friday in a statement after the deaths of senior Iraq and Iranian military commanders in a United States MQ-9 Reaper drone strike in Baghdad early on Friday morning

The drone strike killed Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), locally known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, and eight members of their forces.

The killings are the latest in a string of escalation actions that are sparking fears of a proxy US-Iran war breaking out in Iraq. An American contractor was killed in an attack on the K-1 military base in Kirkuk on December 27. The US retaliated with airstrikes against the group it blamed for the attack, Iraq’s Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, killing 25 militiamen. After their funerals, members of the PMF and their supporters stormed the US embassy compound in Baghdad.

The US has advised its nationals to leave Iraq and is deploying an additional 3,000 troops to the Middle East.

These events “indicate there is a further exacerbation of the situation in Iraq,” read the statement from President Nechirvan Barzani’s office. “Therefore, we reject all steps by other countries to settle scores on Iraqi soil and violate Iraqi sovereignty.”

Iraq must not be a “battleground for other countries to settle their disputes,” Barzani added, urging foreign powers to open a dialogue.

The Kurdistan Region president noted that both Soleimani and Muhandis played a role in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) and warned against giving ISIS space to regroup Exactly what I think

“The continuation of these complications, actions and reactions, will push Iraq and the region towards an abyss and an uncertain future; it will also lead to the resurgence and strengthening of extremist and terrorist groups, such as ISIS,” he stated.

Soleimani was the mastermind of Iran’s strategy against ISIS in Iraq. He had said that without Iran, Erbil may have been invaded by ISIS when the group emerged in 2014. Kurdistan Region officials have acknowledged Iran’s role in defending the Region against the extremist group

The US maintains that killing Soleimani was a defensive measure. US Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Friday evening that the risk of inaction exceeded the risk that killing him might dramatically escalate tensions with Tehran. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Friday that the decision to kill Soleimani was in “response to immines murder - mostly ISISnt threats to American lives.”

Pompeo spoke to Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani late on Friday to discuss the matter. "I thanked him for his steadfast partnership. We agreed on the need for continued, close cooperation," the diplomat said on Twitter.

Barzani added via Twitter that he and Pompeo "agreed on the importance of deescalating tensions in Iraq through restraint and dialogue."

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/04012020
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Re: Qasem Soleimani was a leader in the fight against ISIS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:29 am

Following crushing sanctions
    Article dated 15-12-2019
Iran relieves sanctions pressure by exporting new petrol surplus

Domestic petrol consumption has fallen 20 percent in recent weeks, leaving Iran with a surplus for export, President Hassan Rouhani told ministers on Wednesday, almost a month after security forces repressed nationwide protests against petrol price hikes.

Since May 2018 when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and imposed ever tightening sanctions on the Iranian regime, particularly its lucrative oil sector, Tehran has sought to drop its reliance on crude oil and instead focus on the export of petroleum products – a commodity which can circumvent sanctions as its origin is harder to trace.

“This [petrochemical] industry has the biggest role in relation to other sectors in repatriating currency from exports of our products back to the economic cycle,” oil minister Bijan Zanganah said September 22.

“When I was the oil minister… in 1997, the value of the petrochemical products was one billion [dollars].” Zanganeh said.

Now he has pledged to increase the industry’s value to $25 billion by early 2021 – a significant sum, given the recent draft state budget is worth $39 billion.

Iran is projected to export one million bpd for next year’s fiscal budget at a price of $50 per barrel. Washington believes this figure is the stuff of “fantasy” and expects Iran will be forced to revise next year’s forecast as it did earlier this year.

Long before the government tripled the price of petrol overnight, sparking nationwide protests in November, Iranian authorities were already boasting about how Iran’s refined petroleum products were becoming hugely profitable.

In late September, the head of Iran’s Energy Exchange Sayyid Ali Hosseini said the country has earned close to $200 million per week since late July when it started floating large quantities of petrol to international buyers.

“During the last seven weeks, over 100,000 tons of petrol was floated on average, all of which was traded,” Hosseini said September 23.

This huge profit margin could partly explained why Rouhani’s government took such a gamble in raising the price of petrol from 1,000 tomans per liter to 3,000 tomans ($0.23) at a time when the overwhelming majority of the population was suffering under crippling US sanctions, high inflation, and an increasing volatile currency.

Tehran was quick to point out the whopping amount of petrol being saved since the price hike. Amir Vakilzadeh, who was appointed in June to head the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, said on December 8 that because of the plan of fuel rationing, the consumption of petrol has dropped from 99 million liters per day to 77 million per day.

From a net importer to exporter

Once Iran’s main source of hard cash, the export of crude oil has fallen dramatically from just over 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in April 2018 before Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to around 300,000 bpd in November.

Washington has frightened many Iranian customers by threatening sanctions if they deal in Iranian crude. But while the origins of crude oil are easily traced, the source of refined products is easier to hide.

Mindful of this, the US government has specifically targeted Iran’s petrochemical industry, which continues to feed Iranian coffers.

Executive Order 13846 of August 6, 2018 authorized the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on any foreign financial institution that is engaged in the “purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of” petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran.

For decades, Iran spent billions of dollars subsidizing imported petrol as its refineries struggled to cope with the growing demand of Iranian motorists. But, earlier this year, oil minister Zanganeh said Iran had become self-reliant in petrol production since the third phase of the Persian Gulf Star refinery came online – producing 45 million liters of petrol every day.

In July, Iran started exporting petrol to its neighbors by floating large quantities on the Fuel Exchange in Tehran destined for export. That day, 3,000 tons of petrol was sold to an unidentified company, the destination – “international.”

The same company that bought the initial 3,000 tons at the base price of $581 per ton has purchased 188,500 tons of petrol as of November 27 – worth more than $100 million.

Hand of the IRGC

The giant Persian Gulf Star refinery situated on the Persian Gulf coast has been critical in raising Iran’s petrol production. The refinery’s construction started in 2006. Work on its fourth phase is now underway.

After the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Iran in 2010, most foreign companies withdrew from the project, leaving the way clear to the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (Khatam HQ), the economic arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which works in construction, aviation, oil, banking, metals, automobiles, and mining industries, as well as defense and counter terrorism.

The refinery uses around 450,000 bpd of natural gas condensate, a high-value light crude, as feedstock from the giant South Pars gas field which is shared between Iran and Qatar. The Kahtam HQ was also heavily involved in bringing the South Pars gas field online.

The Trump administration designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization in April before sanctioning an important wing of the country’s petrochemical industry for its links with the IRGC.

“The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today against Iran’s largest and most profitable petrochemical holding group, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), for providing financial support to Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (Khatam al-Anbiya), the engineering conglomerate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” the US Treasury said at the time.

Khatam HQ is a giant conglomerate of companies and foundations that work in almost every field of the Iranian economy and operates in Syria and Iraq.

It was established 30 years ago in December 1989 under article 147 of the constitution which allows the security forces to use the expertise they honed during the 1980s war with Iraq to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

“On the topic of the resistance economy, one issue that has been ignored is the reduction and prevention of sale of crude,” Saeed Mohammad Islami, the powerful head of Khatam HQ, said on Saturday, marking conglomerate’s 30th birthday.

“Had we heeded this matter in the past years and turned oil into products, we could have easily sold these products even during the sanctions, and we would not have to witness the obstacles that we are facing in relations to oil sanctions.”

For nearly a decade, the Iranian leadership has spoken about a “resistance economy” to prevent US economic sanctions parlaying its economy by relying on domestic production.

“In the current environment, we are able to receive the funds from the sale of petroleum products and we are still exporting petroleum products,” said Islami.

“The six phases of the South Pars were designed by the Headquarters … 35 percent of the production of petrol, 20 percent of natural gas, and 22 percent of gasoline is in the hands of the Headquarters,” Islami said October 3.

As the government and the IRGC stepped up efforts to release large quantities of petrol for export, security forces have continued their crackdown on those who are engage in petty smuggling, while crushing the recent protest, killing at least 200 people, including 13 women and 12 children according to UN figures.

On the night of December 9, security forces fired upon a vehicle suspected of smuggling petrol in the port of Jask, not far from the Persian Gulf Star refinery, killing a young man inside.

Iran will continue to utilize the petroleum products sector to bypass sanctions, but it is not yet clear whether the US with launch a fresh crackdown on this trade in the coming months.

I think we say that the US has launched a fresh crackdown

“Iran will not be able to make the investments it needs to maintain long-term energy production,” Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, told the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday.

“The regime is hoping to compensate for the fall in crude exports by increasing its output of refined products. But here too our enforcement is adapting, and we are confident that Iran’s refined product and petrochemical sectors—customers will continue to stay away once they are made aware of the risks.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/business/15122019
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Re: Qasem Soleimani was a leader in the fight against ISIS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:57 pm

America's Power

We are reminded of the 1953 CIA-backed coup that cemented the Shah's power

Iran insisted in a state television broadcast it remained open to negotiations with European partners, who so far have been unable to offer Tehran a way to sell its crude oil abroad due to U.S. sanctions

I believe that Iran should be able to sell it's own oil when and where and to whom it wants

Iranian oil is IRANIAN and the US does NOT have the right to stop Iran selling it's own oil

The US certainly does NOT have the right to threaten other countries with crippling sanctions should they dare to buy oil from Iran

I believe the killing of Qassem Soleimani is connected in no small way to Iranian Oil

Some people may not have liked Qassem Soleimani, I never met the man so cannot pass judgement

And unlike Trump I cannot tell what his future intentions were

What I do know is that Qassem Soleimani and his men were feared by ISIS and that without the general, ISIS will expand almost unopposed
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Re: Qasem Soleimani was a leader in the fight against ISIS

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:11 am

Moscow the voice of reason

Moscow says Iran nuclear deal must remain 'priority' for all sides

Moscow on Monday urged parties to the Iran nuclear deal to treat salvaging the agreement as a "priority", calling on European partners to fulfil their obligations to ensure Iran stays committed to the accord.

Tehran announced the latest rollback of its commitments under the 2015 accord on Sunday following the US assassination of a top general.

Russia is one of the five remaining parties in the deal following the pullout by the US in 2018, with the other four being Britain, China, France and Germany.

"Keeping the broad agreements and ensuring their sustained implementation must remain a priority task for all partners," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the announcement by Tehran of a further rollback of its commitments, by foregoing the limit on the number of centrifuges, "does not carry any threat from the point of view of nuclear weapon proliferation".

Tehran has repeatedly said that the troubled deal can be rescued if parties can help it circumvent crippling US sanctions, and on Sunday it said it would return to its commitments if sanctions were lifted and Iran benefited

Moscow pointed out "holes" in the approach to the deal by other parties. "We hope that the necessary outcomes will be achieved. A lot depends on our European colleagues," it said.

Russia "keeps full commitment" to the deal and is "ready to continue work" on it, the statement said, calling on "political will and a decisive collective response" from others.

"We are certain that when these challenges are overcome, the Iranian side will have no reason to deviate from the agreed-upon demands," it said.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have spiked following the US drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Russia and Iran are allies in the conflict in Syria, having supported the Syrian government for years against the opposition, and Soleimani had been Iran's pointman in organising its forces and foreign proxies on the battlefield.

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday spoke with the chief of Iranian General Staff Mohammad Bagheri on "avoiding escalation of the situation in Syria and the Middle East due to the murder" of Soleimani.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/060120201
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Re: Is Qasem Soleimani's murder connected to Iranian Oil

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:11 am

Trump threatens Iranian culture

Trump's threat to destroy Iranian heritage would be a war crime

President Donald Trump’s new year message, posted on Twitter in the wake of the US killing of Qassem Suleimani, was unequivocal: “Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites … some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.”

There’s little room for doubt: the president is threatening to destroy cultural heritage, which constitutes a war crime according to several international laws that the US has both sponsored and signed. These include the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 2017 United Nations Security Council resolution 2347, which “condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artefacts, and the looting and smuggling of cultural property from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites, notably by terrorist groups”.

The description of Iran’s most valuable cultural sites fall under such regulations, which were first created in the aftermath of the second world war, a time in which both sides lost invaluable buildings, artworks and cultural practices, mostly due to technological advancement in the means of warfare.

Fears of future wars with widespread use of aerial bombardment, even nuclear warfare, were so great that one of the nascent UN’s imperatives was to protect not only people from indiscriminate destruction, but the spaces where their livelihoods were carried out as well. This is how current shorthand terminologies such as Unesco world heritage sites were coined: not as a list of beautiful and valuable sites to be visited or seen, but as an inventory of spaces where war could under no circumstances be waged.

With conflicts ongoing today that extend even longer distances between attacker and target, these legislations demand obedience by their signatories more than ever.

In the wake of the 2001 Taliban destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan and Islamic State’s 2015 laying to waste of the ancient site of Palmyra, we have become much more aware of the fragility of cultural heritage. The global outcry after the accidental fire which last summer consumed Notre Dame Cathedral was also loud: the feeling that treasures of the past are slipping away from our protection is one of the marks of contemporary culture. However, it is worth remembering that the construction of the Taliban and Isis as barbaric enemies makes it far easier for the public to denounce these events as war crimes.

Iran is a widely misunderstood nation, partly because access to it has been restricted since the 1979 Iranian revolution, but mostly because cold war-era western politics coated the country with a communist veneer, shrouding it as a barbaric land, a perception which persists to this day. Its regime, non-secular and repressive, has bolstered its negative reputation recently as it has allegedly murdered more than 1,500 activists in the past three months amid an internet blackout. In this context, Iran is often viewed as a cultural void rather than the birthplace of the Persian empire and of great achievements in the arts and sciences.

Currently, 24 sites in Iran are protected by Unesco: Persepolis, one of the last massive archaeological complexes from ancient Persia, protected by Iranian institutions; the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan with its breathtaking mosques and architecture that unifies engineering, religious symbolism and material mastery; the historic city of Yazd, the quintessential landscape from which we get all our fantastical ancient Middle Eastern references to Arabian nights.

Additionally, as of August 2016, 50 more sites in Iran are on Unesco’s tentative list, awaiting ratification. As we contemplate this collection of architectural treasures, we must understand that these places do not exist apart from those who live, love, laugh and pray within and throughout them: Iranians understand their value better than anyone and have set up commendable efforts to preserve, restore and share them.

We therefore cannot separate the sites’ worth from their people. Any unjustified harm that comes to Iranians, or weakens their institutions, will inevitably place these sites at risk of damage, a pattern we should have learned from Palmyra, and from Mosul after the irreparable damage to artefacts held in the museum there.

Even though Unesco has set forth the foundations for the absolute protection of priceless buildings, we have yet to better understand the relationship between humans and their environment that produces culture. In light of the Trump administration quitting Unesco in 2019, the president’s threats to Iran’s cultural heritage must not be taken lightly. We should all know well what could be lost forever.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesig ... -war-crime

People worry about Iranian cultural heritage but take no action against Turkey for the destruction of Hasankeyf

    The 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 2017 United Nations Security Council resolution 2347, which “condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artefacts
Iran allegedly killed many activists - personally I doubt it - note the word allegedly

But the destruction of Kurdish homes and villages and arrests of THOUSAND of innocent people is ignored

Which man is the worst:

    Qasem Soleimani who fought ISIS
    Erdogan who supports ISIS
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Re: Is Qasem Soleimani's murder connected to Iranian Oil

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:42 pm

Stampede kills 50
at Soleimani's burial


Fifty people have been killed and more than 200 injured in a stampede as Iranians gathered for the burial of a leading commander killed in a US drone strike

The deaths in Qasem Soleimani's hometown of Kerman led to the ceremony being delayed.

The burial is the last in a series of funeral events that have brought millions on to the streets in Iran.

Soleimani's murder has raised fears of a conflict between the US and Iran.

The head of the Quds force was tasked with defending and projecting Iranian interests abroad, and was hailed as a hero by many in his home country. Immediately after his death, Iran threatened retaliation.

To the US, Soleimani was a terrorist, and in explaining why he ordered the strike, President Donald Trump said he was acting on an "imminent" threat.

What happened in Kerman?

The crush in the south-eastern Iranian city happened at the start of a funeral procession that had drawn vast numbers of people on Tuesday morning, ahead of the planned burial.

Eyewitnesses told BBC Persian the streets were not wide enough to hold the number of people and, with other roads closed off, there was nowhere to escape to.

A coroner quoted on Iran's Isna news agency put the death toll at 50, with those injured numbering more than 200.

Iranian media later reported that the burial had resumed. Video footage showed the procession of Soleimani's casket. People threw items of clothing which officials touched against the casket before returning them.

Top Iranian officials renewed their threats of revenge. "The martyr Qasem Soleimani is more powerful... now that he is dead," the Revolutionary Guards' top general, Maj Gen Hossein Salami, told crowds in Kerman.

The Guards were set up to defend Iran's Islamic system and are a major political and military force. The Quds Force is its overseas operations arm.

Mourners in Kerman chanted "death to America" and "death to Trump", reporters there said.
In other developments:

A show of unity?

Only seven weeks ago, Iran witnessed the biggest and most violent anti-government demonstrations in decades. Security forces killed anywhere between 330 and 1,500 protesters in more than 100 cities across the country. Thousands more were injured and arrested.

So why have so many people come out to pay homage to Soleimani, in spite of widespread discontent?

There is no doubt that feelings are running high. Arguably the most important man in the country's armed forces has been assassinated by the US, which for many is the arch-enemy of Iran.

But it is also clear that the government launched a massive effort to mobilise as many people as possible. A huge turnout sends a strong signal to Donald Trump that the government enjoys widespread support.

It sends the message that a war with Iran would rally Iranians behind their leaders in the event of foreign aggression, and that any war could well be long and costly.

What are the latest US-Iran exchanges?

In an interview, Foreign Minister Zarif called Soleimani's killing an "act of war" and said Iran's response would be against "legitimate targets".

Mr Zarif said President Trump had been "misled" by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"[Pompeo] believes people were dancing in the streets of Tehran and Baghdad... Now I think that he has seen the sea of humanity in Iraq and Iran yesterday. Doesn't he want to admit that he's been misdirecting American foreign policy?" Mr Zarif asked.

On Tuesday, Mr Pompeo said at a briefing that if Iran made another "bad choice", President Trump would act in a "decisive, serious manner".

He was also questioned about Mr Trump's controversial threat to target Iranian cultural sites.

But he again said US military action would be within international law.

Mr Pompeo also referred to media reports that Soleimani had been on a peace mission to Baghdad at the time he was killed, saying: "We know that wasn't true."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51015795
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Re: Qasem Soleimani's murder and ongoing US/Iranian conflict

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:33 am

Masoud Barzani:
Mind and logic needed


Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani has said that Iraqis should follow logic rather than emotion when seeking a solution for the current unrest gripping the country

“A very dangerous situation has emerged in the region and Iraq in the last few days, and a great threat is felt everywhere. In such conditions, mind and logic should be used to find a solution rather than emotions and useless exploitation of the situation,” warned Barzani, who ruled the Kurdistan Region for over a decade, in a Tuesday statement.

The recent attacks against the US forces and mission in Iraq - blamed on the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), locally known as Hashd al-Shaabi - and US retaliatory operations have dragged Iraq into a new phase of instability following years of unrest.

Tensions came to a head last week following a US drone strike which killed Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) Commander Qasem Soleimani and PMF Deputy Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The incidents led to a non-binding resolution by the Iraqi parliament to expel all foreign forces in Iraq. Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the session. Some countries have expressed their readiness to withdraw from Iraq.

The growing animosity between the US and Iran has left Iraq vulnerable and caught in the middle of two global powers.

Iraq is “on the brink of exploding,” added Barzani, who added that the Kurdistan region will not be involved in any proxy wars.

"If the process of resolving the current issue in the Middle East region is in accordance to a path of reason and wisdom, we are certainly ready to cooperate. However, we cannot be involved in any proxy wars,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/070120202
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