Donald Trump and the man he executed in a targeted assassination, Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani, mirror each other as war criminals who treat the people of Iraq and the greater region as pawns in their power game. In fact, they were long de facto allies—Soleimani had been overseeing a “dirty war” in Iraq against Sunni militants and suspected ISIS sympathizers. His allied paramilitary forces have serially massacred anti-government protesters in Baghdad. In less explicit alignment with Washington, Soleimani provided similar services on a far greater scale to the Bashar Assad dictatorship in Syria. This is why all the media talk (echoing Trump) about how he “killed Americans” reeks of racism and imperial narcissism. However many US troops Soleimani may have been responsible for killing, this was the least of his massive crimes. Similarly, calling him a “terrorist,” implying he was responsible for attacks on Westerners (always the connotation of that label in mainstream Western discourse), is a vast understatement. He was worse than a terrorist: he was a war criminal. And so is Trump—in his destruction of ISIS-held Raqqa and Mosul (which could only have cheered Soleimani), in his targeted-assassination drone strikes, and now in his threat to bomb Iranian cultural sites. (Photo: Iran Briefing)
In an amusingly grim development, Donald Trump formally designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a “foreign terrorist organization,” and Tehran’s Supreme National Security Council immediately retaliated by declaring the Pentagon’s Central Command a “terrorist organization.” Both moves mark a first, applying the designation to government entities. The perverse irony, of course, is that both Trump and Tehran can be seen as perfectly correct. Left-secular forces in the Middle East have long decried that the region is caught between two poles of terrorism—that of political Islam and that of US imperialism. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are complicit with “sectarian cleansing” of Sunni Muslims in Syria. CENTCOM’s warplanes meanwhile virtually destroyed the city of Raqqa in the battle against ISIS—with civilian casualties nearly doubling after Trump took over. Yet in Iraq, the US and Iran were in a de facto alliance—both supporting Baghdad and fighting ISIS. And indeed, given Washington’s growing tilt to Assad in the Syrian war, an element of this alliance can be seen there as well. That’s why they call it a Great Game.
The terror campaign in Paris has shocked the world, while the previous day's ISIS attacks on a Shi'ite district of Beirut were mere background noise for the world media.
Egypt's dictatorial President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received a delegation from the American Jewish Committee to discuss ways to "defeat terrorism" in the region.
The families of two Yemeni men who were killed by drone strikes filed a lawsuit against the US, claiming the men were "innocent bystanders" who were wrongfully killed.
Malala Yousafzai has not been co-opted by international accolades, as evidenced by her protests against US drone strikes—to President Obama’s very face.
Reactions to the jihadist slaying of a British solider in London are polarized along predictable lines—emphasizing either the context of imperial wars or the threat of political Islam.
After an airstrike killed three children in Afghanistan, a US military official said the kids were being used to plant IEDs and that this “widens the aperture” for NATO targetting.
Malala Yousafzai is hailed as a symbol of courage by progressives and secularists in Pakistan, but the American left has been shamefully silent—or else portraying her as a neocon pawn.