United States (US) and Iran confront each other as if to prove who can be more nefarious. After the assassination of Qassim Soleimai, the Islamic Republic, momentarily, portrayed a less wicked role. Downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane by an Iranian missile and the lateness of the Iran government to admit the error weakened Iran’s protests of being unfairly treated and clouded the issues that surround the conflict between the US and Iran. The conflict continues and its nature demands an explanation that contradicts a one-sided presentation.

Several attacks by United States’ military have targeted Kata’ib Hezbollah, a paramilitary group which is part of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, an indication that the assassination of Iranian Major General, Qassim Soleimani, is more than the eradication of one Iran military leader; it is another essential in a US pattern to cripple Iranian influence and assure, maybe mistakenly, that US maintains its hegemony in the Middle East.

Benefitting from a sectarianism that keeps US troops in Iraq, the arguments given by the American administration for its actions are not persuasive; just the opposite, the arguments condemn the actions. Look at the record, compare, and learn that what is told is not what is actually true.

Expansion and hegemony

It is natural that Iran, bordering on Iraq and spiritually attached to Iraq’s Shi’a population would be involved in the commercial, economic, and political future of Iraq. Iran wants a stable and affluent Iraq that is friendly, enables it to maintain its bridge with other Middle East partners – Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon — and with which it can trade. The Islamic Republic may not be a trustworthy nation, but there is no evidence or reason for US accusations that Iran is a destabilizing and expansionist nation—why would it be – there are no external resources or land masses that would be helpful to Iran’s economy. Iran has not invaded any nation and its few sea and drone attacks on others are reactions from a perception that others have colluded in harming the Islamic Republic or its allies. Ayatollah Khomeini’s vision of expanding his social ideology never got anywhere and died with him. Subsequent leaders have been forced to reach out to defend their interests and those of their friends, but none of these leaders pursued an expansionist philosophy or wanted the burden that accompanies the task — enough problems at home.

The U.S. has invaded, attacked, and subdued several nations far from its shores in the last decades, and, for these obvious reasons — establish hegemony, advance its economic thrust, and overcome threats. Ringing the world with military bases, the US polices activities that counter its hegemony. The continuous wars have created mayhem, instability, and lasting wounds — Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, and others. Two principal allies of the US and benefits of military assistance — Israel and Saudi Arabia — have also engaged in regional wars and inflicted massive casualties on their opponents.

Responsibility for violence

Similar to arch-nemesis Vladimir Putin being blamed for everything any irresponsible Russian does, peripatetic Qassim Soleimani, who the US administration finds everywhere at every time, receives only condemnation. The statement that Qassim Soleimani was responsible for more than 600 US military deaths and deaths of others has been used to rationalize has assassination. “Not kind to the truth” President Trump, on a January 8, 2020 speech, casually increased the figure to several thousand. From where did this 13-year-old accusation originate and what is the evidence?

The statistic originated with the US Defense Department, been circulated by others, and became generally accepted. Because Iraq militias, which were fighting the US occupation of their nation, sought more deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and the emphasis is on implemented, the US Defense Department attached Iran to their implementation, then the Iranian government, and then the Quds force, and then Qassim Soleimani. All of this has been conjecture, and not considerate of the facts. From the Columbia Journalism Review, April 10, 2007, at https://archives.cjr.org/behind_the_news/get_the_facts_straight_on_iran.php.

Just last week, the New York Times reported that in the town of Diwaniya, “American and Iraqi forces uncovered an assembly area for the powerful roadside bombs known as explosively formed projectiles, the statement said. Four bombs were already assembled, it added, and others were in various stages of being put together.”

What’s more, in February Andrew Cockburn wrote in the Los Angeles Times that back in November, “U.S. troops raiding a Baghdad machine shop came across a pile of copper disks, 5 inches in diameter, stamped out as part of what was clearly an ongoing order. This ominous discovery, unreported until now, makes it clear that Iraqi insurgents have no need to rely on Iran as the source of EFPs.”

In addition, that’s not all. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that another EFP “factory” was discovered in southern Iraq, and around the same time the New York Times threw some water on the U.S. military’s claims that the bombs were coming exclusively from Iran, when a cache of EFP materials was found in Baghdad—all marked with stamps from countries around the Middle East, but not Iran.

It may have helped, but the Iraq militias did not need Iran to assemble their sophisticated IEDS, no more than Mexican drug cartels need the US to acquire their military style weapons. Materials for manufacture of IEDs and sophisticated weapons are easily purchased at an open market. Because the drug cartels use American weapons (The most common smuggled weapons are the AR-15 and AR-47 style rifles, and both are available for sale in the United States.), is the Secretary of Defense to blame for the killings of Mexican civilians?

Compare the primitive weapons, used by a people in their own land to combat what they perceived as an occupier, to that of the US equipping Saudi Arabia with fighter-bombers to pulverize the Houthis in their native land, and giving $3 billion annually in military aid to Israel for suppression of the Palestinians. Assuredly, Iran did not feel too comfortable in having military forces of its most prominent adversary close to its border and was agreeable to equip any organization to combat the United States presence. The person most responsible for the deaths of US military during the occupation of Iraq is former President George W, Bush, who invaded Iraq, subjugated its people to misery, and provoked a counter reaction.

What about US atrocities in Iraq during the 1990’s and the occupation of Iraq? Compare the fabricated figures velcroed to Soleimani with the authenticated statistics of US atrocities in Iraq.

According to Gulf War Air Power Survey by Thomas A. Keaney, there were 10,000-12,000 Iraqi combat deaths in the air campaign and as many as 10,000 casualties in the ground war. The Iraqi government says 2,300 civilians died during the air campaign.

The post-war policy continued a ferocious pattern, and U.S. and British planes bombed Iraq for the next twelve years. The bombings destroyed more “command and control” facilities and “radar bases” than Iraq could possibly have had. This senseless and vicious policy transformed Iraq from an emerging country with moderate prosperity into an impoverished country with a starving population. Statistics from a UN Report on the Current Humanitarian Situation in Iraq, Mar. 1999:

  • Maternal mortality rate increased from 50/100,000 live births in 1989 to 117/100,000 in 1997.
  • Low birth weight babies (less than 2.5 kg) rose from 4% in 1990 to about 25% of registered births in 1997, due mainly to maternal malnutrition.
  • Calorie intake fell from 3,120 to 1,093 calories per capita/per day by 1994-95.
  • Malnutrition in Iraqi children under five increased from 12% to 23% from 1991-96.
  • The World Food Program estimated that access to potable water in 1998 was 50% of the 1990 level in urban areas and only 33% in rural areas.

Summation of seven years of occupation of the land between the Euphrates and Tigris reveals the committed catastrophe. From Iraq War Facts, Results & Statistics, as of November 30, 2010, 4,432 US Soldiers Killed, 31,992 Seriously Wounded
Iraq Body Count Project — 107,152 civilian deaths as a result of the conflict and a total of 150,726 civilian and combatant deaths from March 2003 to October 2010
UNHCR estimates — more than 4.7 million Iraqis fled their homes. Of these, more than 2.7 million Iraqis were displaced internally, while more than 2 million escaped to neighboring states.

War on International terrorism

The US names Iran as the number one exporter of international terrorism. Displaced from the rhetoric and warfare is that in 2002 Iran was a sympathetic nation to America’s plight in the 9/11 tragedy. At the Tokyo donors’ conference in January 2002, the Iranians showed willingness to create a new Afghanistan by pledging $560 million worth of assistance, which is a large amount for a not-fully-developed country, and almost equal to the amount that the United States pledged at the same conference. https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/afghanistan-donors-pledge-45-billion-tokyo

After the Northern Alliance’s significant role in driving the Taliban out of Kabul in November 2001, the alliance demanded 60 percent of the portfolios in an interim government and blocked agreement with other opposition groups. According to the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Dobbins, Iran played a “decisive role” in persuading the Northern Alliance delegation to compromise its demands.

Despite the cooperation, the next year, President George W. Bush placed Iran in his Axis of Evil and forced the Islamic Republic to end its cooperation in Afghanistan. Considering another of President Trump’s statements during his January 8, 2020 speech, asking for Iran to cooperate, does the US President know of Iran’s previous overtures? How would the wars on terrorism and in Afghanistan have developed if the US was more amenable to Iran’s cooperation and less aggressive in its actions toward the Islamic Republic, probably both would have seen resolution many years ago.

Iran has committed some terrorist actions in a “tit” for “tat” arrangement with Israel and in assassinations of dissidents that conducted actions that caused casualties within Iran. However, in its support for military operations in Iraq and Syria, it has been in the front lines in the fight against al-Qaeda and ISIS. Compare Iran and its allies in the war against international terrorism with the US and its allies.

U.S. actions motivated the successful formation of Al Qaedamilitary assistance to the Mujahideen, funneled through Pakistan intelligence and Osama bin Laden, assisted the Afghani insurgents to expel their Soviet occupiers. After the United States exited from the battle, the Pakistan government enabled the Taliban to stabilize a strife-ridden Afghanistan and Osama bin-Laden to find a new home.

Foreign Policy at https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/24/u-s-intelligence-undercuts-trump-case-on-iran-al-qaeda-links/ relates that Iran has arrested Al-Qaeda agents on its territory and has ample reason to combat the terrorist organization.  On September 16, 2005, al-Qaeda in Iraq leader, Al-Zarqawi, in a speech, quoted at https://scholarship.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/bitstream/handle/10066/4810/ZAR20050914P.pdf, said, “Days go by, and events follow one after the other. The battles are many, and the names used are varied. But the goal (of the Crusaders) is one: a Crusader-Rafidite war against the Sunnis.” Who are the Rafidites? Sunni extremists use the word “rafida” to identify the Shi’a. According to Al-Qaeda, Iran is in league with the Crusaders.

Fifteen of the nineteen of the Al-Qaeda terrorists in the 9/11 operation and many al-Qaeda operatives in post-Hussein Iraq came from US friend Saudi Arabia. Another friend, Israel, was cited by Osama bin Laden as a reason for terror attacks. According to terror watch NGO IntelCenter, Al-Qaeda’s media branch, As-Sahab, released a video featuring  an audio statement from Osama bin Laden, which cites US support for Israel as a reason for the 9/11 terror attacks. https://www.france24.com/en/20090914-us-support-israel-prompted-911-attacks-says-bin-laden-video-

Fight against ISIS

Another statement by the ever-unaware President Trump, in his January 8, 2020 speech, argued the US had been responsible for defeating ISIS and the Islamic Republic should realize that it is in their benefit to work with the United States in making sure ISIS remains defeated. The US spent years and billions of dollars in training an Iraqi army that fled Mosul and left it to a small contingent of ISIS forces. Showing no will and expertise to fight, Iraq’s debilitated military permitted ISIS to rapidly expand and conquer Tikrit and other cities. Events energized Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, which, with cooperation from Iran and personal assistance from its Major General Qassim Soleimani, was able to retake Tikrit and Ramadi, push ISIS out of Fallujah, and eventually play a leading role in ISIS’ defeat.

The US cited, without providing substantial evidence, it prevented attacks on its personnel that Soleimani had prepared. Questions

  1. If intelligence services knew of the attacks, did it have the power to prevent them?
  2. Soleimani was not going to be the person(s) to commit the attacks; therefore, would not the attacks still happen?
  3. Has not Soleimani been quickly replaced?

Conclusions

Sum up the comparisons:

Expansion and hegemony

Iran has not started wars. It has reached out to gain friends, but it has not sought hegemony or economic advantage. The US has been involved in numerous wars, gained economic advantage, caused grief and instability and maintained hegemony in many regions of the world.

Casualties due to violence

Only exaggerations and rumors attribute mass killings to Iran. Facts readily support US role in mass killings and violence from the rice fields of Vietnam to the valleys of Afghanistan, the rivers of Iraq. and the deserts of Libya, only a few places of US aggression.

War on international terrorism

Iran has suffered greatly from Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK) terrorism and attacks by the US and Israel. Its own terrorism is used to settle specific issues and cannot be classified as international terrorism. The US is directly responsible for the establishment of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq and US occupation contributed to the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq and its transistion into ISIS.

Fight against ISIS

Facts indicate Iran’s assistance to Iraqi militias halted ISIS” advance and eventual retreat. The US trained and equipped an Iraq military that could not prevent ISIS from almost becoming a Caliphate.

The reasons for the assassination of Qassim Solemeins were deceptive and faulty; not based on fact and more likely based on agenda. Was the reason for his assassination an act of revenge, or is it another part of an offensive policy of subduing those who could undermine US hegemony in the Middle East?

Dan Lieberman edits Alternative Insight, a commentary on foreign policy, economics, and politics. He is author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America, a Kindle: The Artistry of a Dog, and a novel: The Victory (under a pen name). Dan can be reached at alternativeinsight@earthlink.net.


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One Comment

  1. The world-wide popular sympathy that Iran got following the US killing of Qassim Soleimani, was soon lost when it bungled by shooting down the Ukrainian plane that killed its own young Iranian students among others. It has become a catalyst for the Iranian public on the streets demanding the resignation of the ruling elite – an expression of the accumulated discontent against the repressive clergy and the so-called revolutionary guards.