Tag Archives: IRAQ

The US to resume strategic dialogue with Iraq

The US will resume a strategic dialogue with Iraq in April, which will “clarify” the status of coalition troops in the country, US presidential spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

“We expect to resume our strategic dialogue with the Government of Iraq in April. This will be an important opportunity to discuss our mutual interests on a wide range of issues… the meetings will also make it clear that the coalition forces are in Iraq solely for the purpose of training and advising the Iraqi forces to ensure that it is not possible to restore IS, ” Psaki said.

Sex scandal left Bild without the chief editor

Head of Germany’s largest daily newspaper accused of harassment

According to German media, Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of the country’s largest-circulation Bild (read by more than 12 million people every day), sent a letter to the management of Springer publishing house, which includes the newspaper, asking him to release him while investigating his own “wrong behavior” from the management of the newspaper. The publishing house publicly confirmed this fact, citing a violation of the code of conduct within the editorial office. During the investigation, the editorial staff will be Alexandra Wurzbach, editor-in-chief of the Sunday edition of Bild am Sonntag. The investigation was entrusted to lawyers of the international law firm Freshfields, which, by the way, has a branch in Moscow.

The 40-year-old Reichelt has been at the head of the joint editorial staff of the Bild newspaper since 2017. He is accused of abuse of power, harassment, and the use of the relations of dependence on him by the editorial staff. Hamburg-based weekly Zeit suspects that “the editor-in-chief may have misbehaved towards the female employees.”

The magazine Spiegel, which was the first to bring this story to light, spoke more clearly and impartially about Reichelt’s behavior. The magazine’s article on the editor-in-chief of Bild was titled “Sex followed by a promotion or firing.”

Reichelt himself denies all charges. Therefore, the publisher notes in its statement that lawyers must conduct a thorough investigation on all fronts and assess the honesty of all those affected.

It is known about Reichelt that he was a war correspondent and worked in hot spots — Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, Georgia, Thailand. He also began his journalistic career at Bild back in 2002 and was educated at Springer’s own journalism academy. In 2007, Reichelt became the chief reporter for the newspaper, and since 2014 has been managing its online publication. After becoming editor-in-chief, he continued to write articles on political topics, actively participated in round tables on TV channels, and published two books.

Colleagues believe that Reichelt prefers to work in the style of “revolving journalism”. In other words, emotions play a decisive role in his articles, and he prefers to write about enemies. Therefore, he is not even called a journalist, but a propagandist. So, in his messages from Syria, he argued that “the West should have foreseen Russia’s interference in Syrian affairs and responded with intervention” or at least “calculate the risk of starting a war with Russia.”

The German Press Council, which was created by journalist organizations and large publishing houses back in 1956, following the example of the British Press Council with the aim of monitoring the observance of the so-called Press Code or the Code of Journalism by journalists, drew attention to Reichelt’s publications. In the event of violations of the Press Code by journalists, the council usually issues recommendations to the editorial offices in this regard. So, he noted that Reichelt in his messages from Syria in 2016 published unverified facts and outright fakes. In response, Reichelt publicly called the press council the Kremlin’s hand.

In any case, such actions characterize Reichelt well enough as an ambitious and uncompromising person who pursues his line without regard to public opinion or circumstances.

There are more US troops in Afghanistan than the Pentagon says — NYT

There is a thousand more American military personnel in the country than official sources say.

On the territory of Afghanistan, there are about 3.5 thousand US troops, while according to official data — 2.5 thousand. This is stated in the material of The New York Times, published on Sunday, March 14.

So, sources of the publication in the United States, Europe, and Afghanistan inform that about a thousand American military personnel are in the mentioned country unofficially.

In addition, the publication is convinced that this is a standard practice of the Pentagon — downplaying the actual volume of US forces stationed abroad — and therefore the relevant data is classified by the defense leadership.

As the newspaper informs, at its request, a Pentagon representative said that 2.5 thousand of their military are still stationed in Afghanistan.

Recall that the number of US military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq was reduced to 2.5 thousand people in January this year by order of former US President Donald Trump.

Russia said the US was late warning of an airstrike in Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the United States had warned the Russian military about impending strikes on Syria in just 4-5 minutes. He said this at a press conference on Friday, February 26.

“Our military was warned 4 or 5 minutes in advance. Of course, even if we talk about deconflicting, as is customary in relations between Russian and American servicemen, it does not give anything. This kind of notification when a strike is already being delivered,” Lavrov said.

He added: “This concerns the military side of the matter. But in no case should it be considered in isolation from the fact that the United States is in Syria illegally, in violation of all norms of international law, including the Security Council resolutions on a settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

On the night of February 26, the US Air Force launched a strike on the infrastructure of Syrian armed groups supported by Iran in eastern Syria. According to media reports, 17 militants were killed in the attack.

The Pentagon said the strikes were authorized “in response to recent attacks on the US and international coalition personnel in Iraq and ongoing threats against this personnel.” Let us remind you that a few days ago the “green zone” of Baghdad, where, in particular, the US Embassy is located, was fired upon with rockets.

Iraqi court issues arrest warrant for Trump

Warrant issued in connection with the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force, and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

A court in Baghdad has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump in connection with the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force, and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the Associated Press reported. The court said the murder investigation is ongoing.

One of Iran’s most powerful officials, Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite Iranian Quds Force unit, was killed on the night of January 3, 2020, near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq during a US special operation: it was being prepared on the personal orders of President Trump. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was killed with him that day.

The publication points out that the issuance of an arrest warrant is more of a symbolic gesture. It is unlikely that any country in the world would extradite Trump to Iraq. However, Trump faces the death penalty under the indictment, and Iraq has traditionally been considered a regional ally of Washington since the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

The airstrike came days after Shiite groups linked to the IRGC tried to storm the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Iraqi security forces used tear gas to defend themselves, and guards inside the embassy threw stun grenades to disperse protesters.

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Shortly before the assault, the U.S. had carried out airstrikes against Shiite group bases in Syria and Iraq. State Department officials called it “defensive strikes” in response to a missile attack on a military base near Kirkuk. A U.S. contract worker was killed then. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said that the U.S. had violated the country’s sovereignty by its actions.

The Pentagon confirmed that the military launched the operation to eliminate Iranian General Soleimani at the behest of Donald Trump. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif then called the killing of the Qods commander an act of international terrorism.