BERLIN, (BM) – The political consequences of the catastrophic wrong decision that led to the crash of the Ukrainian passenger plane and the death of 176 people on flight PS752 (including a large number of Iranian citizens) cannot yet be predicted.
Many questions are still unanswered. This includes whether the radar screen of the Iranian-Russian anti-aircraft system showed no difference between a passenger plane and a cruise missile? Or what informative material did the assumption base on that US cruise missiles flew an attack in Iranian airspace near Tehran? As well as the question of why the airspace remained open for civil aircraft?
“Bitter Truth and Unforgivable Sins”
Despite the fact that, compared to other similar tragedies (e.g. the U.S. Navy accidentally shooting down an Iranian passenger plane in early July 1988), the Revolutionary Guards’ competent command clearly admitted that they had made a fatal mistake, the reputation of the powerful Iranian is Organization struck. Incompetence is not compatible with the image that the Revolutionary Guards convey of themselves.
There are also clear signs of resentment in Iran, the protests are reviving (Iran: the power of the street), Iranian newspapers write of a “bitter truth” and accuse the official representatives of “unpardonable sins” because of their denials of the admission. Withdrawals are required.
It cannot be ruled out that the revolutionary guards’ debacle also plays a role in the political field that was again in the headlines at the weekend: the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, where the spheres of influence of Iran and the United States are very close.
The fact that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards chose US military bases in Iraq last week as a target for their retaliation for the murder of Iranian general Soleimann at Baghdad airport, confirmed fears that Iraq could be the scene of hostile conflicts between the U.S. and Iran ,
A warlike escalation was resolved after the Iranian attacks last Wednesday (Showdown Iran-USA: a theater spell?). However, the Iraqi parliament – at the behest of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi – had previously drawn a conclusion from the US drone attack on the Iranian general, who according to Mahdi was on a diplomatic mission: 170 MPs present voted for a US withdrawal Troops from Iraq.
“A force of good in the Middle East”
The quorum required for the decision was 165 (the Iraqi parliament has 329 seats) and, contrary to what is often described, the decision is not just a recommendation, but is legally binding, as explained in the US blog Informed Comment. However, the law has yet to be signed by the Iraqi Prime Minister. The likelihood of this is high since Adil Abdul Mahdi initiated the legislative proposal himself.
But the reaction to the Iraqi parliament’s decision showed a peculiar back and forth of the United States. President Trump threatened that the sanctions would be unusually high (“We won’t leave until we have paid back the [billions for the construction of the airbase that was attacked by Iranian missiles the following day].”
At the same time, it was said that the US would prepare a withdrawal (Trump threatens Iraq and prepares US troops for withdrawal). A letter from the commanding officer of Task Force Iraq caused further confusion (letter from Brigadier General William Seely on the withdrawal of US troops creates confusion).
The Iraqi prime minister urged clarity, he had repeatedly asked for binding statements from the US government about the withdrawal of troops – he did not get them. Last Thursday, he reportedly called US Secretary of State Pompeo on the matter. Nothing was known about Pompeo’s answer. It can be assumed that he avoided a binding answer.
On Friday, an official statement from the US State Department caused excitement and outrage among critics of US politics. It says that at the moment “one does not want to discuss a suit of the US troops”. The United States is a force for good in the Middle East (America is a force for good in the Middle East), its military presence is committed to protecting Iraqis and fighting IS. Talks could only be about how to continue the “strategic partnership” with new commitments.
The letter was seen by critics as another sign of arrogant power that defies the decisions of a sovereign state. The United States shows that it is an occupying power in Iraq, it said.
Block access to the Fed.
Block access to the Fed
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal revealed considerations that the US would block Iraq’s access to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York and freeze assets if Baghdad decided to leave the country.
Such a move would have serious consequences for Iraqi oil business and the difficult economic situation in the country, which has led to ongoing protests (which have also created and built tensions with the Shiite militias allied with Iran).
As mentioned, Adil Abdul Mahdi has not yet signed the legally required order to withdraw US troops. This may also be related to the uncertainty as to whether he is authorized to act as Prime Minister – at least in some media reports, this is portrayed as uncertain.
What is certain is that Iraq needs a new government – Mahdi has resigned in response to the protests. So far, the process of forming a government in Iraq has been very long. On the one hand, this has to do with the complicated right to vote, and on the other hand with the fact that there was mediation in the background between the Iranian and US spheres of influence until candidates were found that could be agreed upon.
These agreements now take place under new conditions. The likelihood that US troops will be forced to withdraw from Iraq in the near future is currently not great.
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Author: Thomas Pany
Original title: Withdrawal of troops: USA threatens Iraq again
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BGM`s editorial stance.