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From War Drums to Hot War with Iran

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On January 2nd the United States assassinated Iran Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani on the US pretext of an anti-terror strike, killing him and his entourage by drone strike at Baghdad International Airport, just subsequent to disembarking from a flight.  As head of the Iranian IRGC elite Quds Force, Soleimani commanded effective operations versus ISIS and assorted Salafi terror groups in Iraq and Syria.
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Trump Stumbling Into Neocon Trap In Iraq

President Trump is swallowing the neocon line on the Iraqi protests at the US embassy in Baghdad, blaming the whole incident on Iran. Suddenly everyone who doesn't want the US military to continue to occupy Iraq - nearly 17 years after an invasion based on lies - is an "Iranian proxy." Will Trump continue to take the neocon bait and stumble his way into a war on Iran? Starting a war based on neocon lies is likely the only thing that would prevent his re-election. Watch today's Liberty Report...
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The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act: Why Washington Is Both Corrupt and Ignorant

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The creatures that lurk through the corridors of power in Washington DC have refined corruption to the point where almost anything goes and almost no one is ever held accountable. Traditionally, Congressmen reward their various constituencies by inserting riders into larger pieces of legislation that grant money, exemptions or favors to certain groups or individuals. It is sometimes referred to as “pork.” The recent bloated omnibus spending bills totaling $1.4 trillion, which passed through Congress and were signed off on by President Donald Trump, were for the shameless denizens of Capitol Hill a gold mine. The process was so corrupt that even some Senators like Ted Cruz joked that “Christmas came early in Washington. While you were with your family, while you were shopping for Christmas, the lobbyists were spending and spending. I present to you, the massive omnibus bill that Congress is voting on.”

And no one is more corrupt in Congress than some of those at the top of the food chain, where the Speaker and the Minority leader in the House and the Majority and Minority leaders in the Senate have the final say on what gets cut and what remains. The lugubrious Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is one of the most adept at milking the system to buy his continued reelection in a state where he is actually not very popular, with an approval rating of only 37%. Within the current spending bill he has managed to include more than $1 billion worth of federal spending and tax breaks for some choice constituencies among the Kentucky voters. A tax break for the state’s whisky distillers alone came to a projected $426 million for 2020 and there were also breaks for the state’s thoroughbred horse industry as well as hundreds of millions of dollars more for new federal construction.

One can only wish that politicians would actually commit themselves to doing good for the American people, but the sad reality is that they spend so much time raising and distributing money that they only respond to constituents with the deepest pockets or those who make the most noise. Rarely does anyone actually read the bills that are being voted on. Part of the omnibus spending bills was the $738 billion dollar defense policy component, and, as in the case of the larger amounts intended to keep the federal government funded, the devil is frequently found in the details.
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Joe Biden's man shows the world why US policy towards Russia has completely failed

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It's entirely possible that Joe Biden could be the next US President. If so, buckle your seatbelts because the advice he's getting on Russia is, almost certainly, dangerously wrong.

Regular readers will know of my deep scorn for “Russia Watchers” - Westerners who, as a rule, purport to have an understanding of the country beyond their actual competence. Sadly, they are an unavoidable hazard on this beat, much as snow is to Siberia, or blazing summer sun to Krasnodar.

For the most part they are more of an amusement than a menace, self-important but not remotely influential - such as Molly McKew, Mark Galeotti and Malcolm Nance. Safely ensconced on the punditry circuit, or Think Tank racket, where they can, thankfully, do little real harm.
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Shutter the US Embassy in Iraq

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This week, amid protests by people upset with United States intervention in Iraq, individuals forced their way into and damaged the US embassy compound in Baghdad. In response, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper declared on Tuesday that 750 additional US troops would be deployed immediately to the Middle East, and it was reported that anonymous US officials said thousands more could be sent there soon.
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Libya's War Escalates as the Stakes Get Higher

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Libya's Government of National Accord has little time to sort out the mess it is in, with the Libyan National Army making some progress in Tripoli's suburbs. LNA warlord Haftar's strike on the Zawiya Oil installation near al Harsha in west Tripolitania on the 27th of December resulted in drastic damage to the facility causing Libya’s National Oil Company to warn about potential evacuation of offices nearby.
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Why I Don’t Criticize Russia, China, Or Other Unabsorbed Governments

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Depending on whose political echo chamber I happen to be arguing with on a given day, one common criticism I run into a fair bit which many of my readers have surely also encountered is that I put all my energy into criticizing the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.

“You’re not anti-war, you’re only anti-AMERICAN wars!” they say, as though they’re delivering some kind of devastating slam-dunk point. “If you’re so antiwar, why don’t you criticize Assad’s war in Syria? If you’re such an anti-imperialist, show me where you’ve ever once criticized Russian imperialism, or Chinese imperialism?”

The argument being that someone who opposes US-led warmongering isn’t really motivated by a desire for peace and an opposition to war unless they’re also voicing opposition to all other violent governments in the world. If you’re only criticizing US imperialism and not the imperialism of other nations, you must be motivated by something far more sinister, perhaps a hatred for the United States of America.
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Did Pompeo Go Off Reservation in Iraq Attack?

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I have to wonder who Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is actually loyal to. Because, the U.S. strike of Kata’ib Hizbullah forces near the Al Qaim border crossing with Syria in Iraq is a dangerous escalation there.

And it’s completely at odds with Trump’s goals of wanting us out of the Middle East. The Al Qaim border crossing is a particular red line for Israel and their allies in the U.S. State and Defense Departments.

It represents the normalization of commerce between Syria, Iraq and Iran over time. This is the so-called Shia Crescent which is the stuff of nightmares for Benjamin Netanyahu.

And the U.S. has been hopping mad for months since now caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi opened the border because it undermines U.S. presence in Syria.
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Iraq War 3.0? New US Attack Infuriates Baghdad

On Sunday, US F-15s attacked facilities in Iraq and Syria, claiming it was retaliation for an alleged Iraqi Shi'a militia attack on an Iraqi military base. The US, naturally, blames Iran. No evidence was given and Iran denied involvement, but the Iraqi government strongly condemned what they called a US violation of their sovereignty. Is the US going back to war against Iraq to get to Iran? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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