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The World Demands US Out Of The Middle East -- Will The US Listen?

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From Popular Resistance

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Iraqi people gather in the capital Baghdad for a
Iraqi people gather in the capital Baghdad for a 'million-strong' march to demand an end to the presence of US forces in their country.
(Image by Video Screenshot, Press TV.)
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The world is saying no to war with Iran and US out of the Middle East. Hundreds of protests were held in the United States and around the world on Saturday with a unified voice of "No War." These protests are in solidarity with massive protests in Iraq calling for the US to get out where it is now an occupying force as the government has asked it to leave.

These protests and the uprising over the US remaining in Iraq are not being covered in the US corporate media. Millions of people participated in the memorials for General Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes after the US assassinated them. Now, millions have protested the refusal of the US to leave Iraq. The Pentagon knows the reality is that US troops in Iraq are at increasing risk every day the US stays in that sovereign nation.

The warnings have been sent. i24 News reports that up to five missiles struck near the US Embassy in Baghdad today. "Sunday's attack was the second night in a row that the Green Zone was hit and the 15th time over the last two months that US installations have been targeted."

The Pentagon will need to tell President Trump that he has two choices to protect US troops. The first choice is to abide by the law and the demands of the Iraqi government by leaving Iraq. The second choice is to escalate and bring in tens of thousands of more troops as well as anti-missile systems. Iran showed the US that even when they warned them they would be attacking a base with several hours' notice so personnel could leave, the US military was unable to stop the Iranian missiles. Iran has also shown that it can shoot down US drones over the Strait of Hormuz.

The US needs to leave Iraq and the Middle East and stop threatening Iran or it risks spending hundreds of billions of dollars and risking the lives of US troops. All this for oil that President Trump says the US does not need. In this era when the fossil fuel economy must come to an end, it is time for the US to get out of the Middle East.

Massive Protests in Iraq Demand the US Leave

Telesur reports, "According to estimates of the Iraqi police commander Jaafar Al-Batat, over 1 million people Thursday demanded the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq with a march in Baghdad, which was convened by cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr three weeks after the murder of Iran's General Qasem Soleimani."

The message of the protest was very clear from the signs and actions of the protesters. Banners included "No, No to the U.S. and Yes to Iraqi sovereignty," "The willingness of free nations is stronger than the U.S. aggression," and "Global terrorism is made in the U.S." Another sign sent a very clear message "To the Families of American soldiers Insist on the Withdrawal of Your Sons from Our Country, or Prepare their Coffins." [Emphasis in Original] Protesters carried burned images of Donald Trump, others raised photos of the US president's face crossed out with a red "X." On the speaker's stage, a large sign read, "Get Out America."

Shia Cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who helped organize the protest said, regarding the demand of the government that the US leave Iraq, "If the U.S. meets these demands, then it is not an aggressor country" but the US will become a "hostile country" if it fails to do so. Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the highest Shiite religious authority in Iraq said, "the need to respect the sovereignty of Iraq, the independence of its political decision, and its territorial unity."

The Prime Minister and the Parliament called for US troops to leave Iraq. In a telephone call, Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prepare to leave Iraq. Article 24 of the agreement between the US and Iraq regarding troops states that the "US recognizes the sovereign right of the government of Iraq to request the departure of the US forces from Iraq any time."

Pompeo gave a foolish answer, turning the US into an occupying force by saying, "The US shall not withdraw from Iraq" but inconsistently said it "respects its sovereignty and decisions." President Trump threatened Iraq saying he would impose "sanctions like they've never seen before" and "its Central Bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with $35 billion could be shut down." US Ambassador to Iraq Mathew Tueller delivered to Iraqi officials a copy of all the possible US sanctions Iraq could face.

These responses led to mass protests. The threat to US troops is very real. Sources in Prime Minister Mahdi's office said the US is "bringing war upon itself and transforming Iraq into a battlefield" if it fails to leave. He warns, "The US will be faced with strong and legitimate popular armed resistance."

The current conflict needs to be viewed in the context of Iraq being devastated by US actions. The Clinton administration sanctions killed 500,000 children, and the US invasion and occupation, which followed in 2003, resulted in the deaths of over one million Iraqis. More recently, the US tried to extort Iraq by demanding half its oil profits in exchange for damages the US war caused. When the Prime Minister turned to China for assistance instead, Trump threatened Iraq. The Iraqi people have had enough of US intervention. It is time for the United States to leave.

No War With Iran, January 25, from East Bay
No War With Iran, January 25, from East Bay
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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
 
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