Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
US President Joe Biden is set to lose American military presence in both Iraq and Syria because of his unconditional support of the Israeli genocide committed against the Palestinians in Gaza.
After a long series of US attacks on targets in Iraq, the Iraqi government had asked the US military to leave. Yesterday, US Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski handed a letter to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein which set forth a plan for the two nations to discuss the end of a US-led military coalition in Iraq.
150 attacks have been launched against US troops in Iraq and Syria since the Gaza war began by militants who are aligned with Iran. The attacks are designed to show solidarity with Palestinians, and disgust with the US support of the genocide in Gaza.
Four US personnel suffered injuries after the Ain al-Asad air base was hit by multiple ballistic missiles and rockets in Iraq on Saturday. The Americans have since returned to duty.
“US military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack. The group emerged in late 2023 and comprised of various groups in Iraq which have attacked US forces.
The US opposes Iran because Israel sees Iran as their biggest enemy. Iran is committed to the freedom of the Palestinian people who have suffered 75 years of brutal Israeli military occupation and denial of all human rights.
The majority of Iraq is Shite, and the US insisted on overthrowing Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, in favor of installing a US-leaning Shite regime in Baghdad. There were no WMD, and the 2003 US invasion, attack, destruction and occupation of Iraq was carried out for the sole purpose of regime change, a precursor to Libya, Egypt, and Syria.
The US set up a sectarian form of government in Iraq. The Prime Minister must be Shite and the seats in the Parliament are allocated by sects. Iraq has been an ally of both Iran and the US.
The western media, and the US military, refer to the militant groups in Iraq as “Iran-backed militias”. A group targeting the US troops is part of the Iraqi national army, and is neither a militia, nor a paramilitary.
The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is under the command of the Iraqi army and was instrumental in the defeat of ISIS. The US media would have you to believe the US military and its allies defeated ISIS, and in a scene right out of a Hollywood movie like “Rambo”. The fact is, ISIS was defeated by Iraq, Syria, Russia, Iran, and the US-led coalition. The PMF killed their share of ISIS terrorists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the US attacks in Iraq “blatantly” violated his country’s sovereignty.
Major General Yehia Rasool, a spokesman for Sudani, said that the US action was “contributing to a reckless escalation”.
“This unacceptable act undermines years of co-operation… at a time when the region is already grappling with the danger of expanding conflict, the repercussions of the aggression on Gaza,” Rasool added
He added that Iraq would treat the US operations “as acts of aggression” against its people on their land, and urged the international community to help restore peace.
The international community is powerless to stop the genocide in Gaza, because only the US can stop it. Biden has chosen to green-light Israel’s genocide on Gaza, while the international community meet for cake and coffee, and lots of hand-wringing. No one can stop Israel except Biden, and no one can stop Biden. France and Spain have repeatedly asked for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but Biden remains unmoved. Perhaps he will be moved finally in November 2024.
Even in the face of losing the 2024 election, as Biden’s support for the genocide in Gaza is bringing his electability into doubt, the White House continues to send weapons and cash to Israel in the plane-loads.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lost the support of the Israelis, but in the Oval Office he can still call the shots. Netanyahu insisted on killing 25,000 Palestinians instead of negotiating for the release of Israelis held captive in Gaza. He prioritized revenge over the safety of his own people.
Earlier this month, the US assassinated a high ranking commander in the PMF in downtown Baghdad. In response to the killing, the Iraqi government condemned it, and said the US troops must leave Iraq.
The US has 2,500 troops in Iraq, advising and assisting local forces to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State (IS), according to the Pentagon. But, there is no sign of IS regrouping, or organizing. IS follows the same ideology as the Muslim Brotherhood, with members across the US and Europe, and Al Qaeda. Radical Islam is a political ideology which hides behind a religion. There are IS followers in New York and London, and troops stationed in Iraq are not going to matter.
The Iraqi people suffered hundreds of thousands of deaths at the hands of the US-led coalition of occupation beginning in 2003. Finally, the US left. Then in 2014, ISIS reared its ugly head, and the Iraqi government requested the US military to come back to help them defeat ISIS. Once ISIS was gone, the Iraqi parliament voted for the US troops to leave, but the US refused. Then it started to feel like an occupation, again.
With the regional stress of the US-supported Israeli attack on Gaza after October 7, the calls for “Yankee Go Home” have grown louder in Iraq, and in Syria. The troops can pack up and leave, that is easy, but what will be the long lasting regional effect of the American support of the slaughter of mainly women and children in Gaza? Biden has lost Iraq, and is set to lose the election, and is responsible for losing the hearts and minds of millions of Arabs, across the 22 nations comprising the Arab world. Which one of those losses is the biggest for the image of America, as the home of the free?
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist