Responding To the American ’Madness Concert’: Simulating the Interconnectedness of Resistance Axis’ Fronts
Elie Hanna, Al-Akhbar Newspaper
The recent US escalation against Iran has provided the resistance with an opportunity to renew the organic bond between its members. This bond is not limited to defending a "supportive state" but is a reflection of its involvement in the camp that is hostile to the American-“Israeli”-Arab project.
This project does not exclude the possibility of targeting any party from this axis of resistance. The resistance factions in Iraq, which are eyeing to crush the American influence in Mesopotamia, find themselves at the forefront of the current tensions in the region, especially in the wake of US threats against Baghdad. The Iraqi political leadership apparently did not respond to these threats. The leadership of the resistance confirms: "(we) will not abide by what the Americans want, and we will continue to pressure them."
Washington, in its war against Tehran, put the region in one pot and set fire to it. The administration wanted Iran to be the only target in line with aspirations of an Arab-“Israeli” lobby that wants to sit at the Yankee table and taste victory. But the Islamic Republic, as it finally emerged, has moved from a period of strategic steadfastness to operational action, which has become necessary as attempts to force it into submission entered a new and harsher stage. The Iran of the 1980s only exists to those who like to make comparisons.
The country, immersed in an imposed war and one that is geographically confined, today has a vital and strategic depth that is useful in two aspects: a long-distance defense (outside the country) and a short-distance attack (from the ocean toward the US). Therefore, today's American madness against Iran cannot be read outside the general picture of the region. According to the Americans and “Israelis”, this battle concerns the future of Syria, Iraq and Palestine as well as the security of the Gulf and “Israel”. In these areas too, Iran's allies have a greater role than defending a "supportive state". It is defending their existence.
The Iranian leadership met those besieging it with two different types of messages: the first is political (reducing the level of its obligations related to enriched uranium and heavy water and giving the Europeans 60 days to salvage the nuclear deal under the pretext of raising the level of enrichment); the second is security both directly and indirectly.
For Washington some of those messages came with the targeting by Ansarullah of a major oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as the Al-Fujairah strike. In Lebanon, too, the United States saw a hidden show, which it later understood. In Iraq, hardly a day goes by without points being scored between the two sides. What the UAE-Saudi duo fail to comprehend is the strength of the resistance forces in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Palestine. The duo tries to belittle this strength and puts it within the framework of the Iranian calendar. The American-“Israeli” duo employing them is well aware of this.
The resistance forces in the region are on the path of building capabilities not linked to "defending Iran". Tel Aviv as much as Saudi Arabia views Ansarullah as a threat to itself and its interests. It also wants Iraq as a defense arena for its vital security. The "war party" in the White House provided the "Axis of Evil" with a generous gift – a real chance to simulate the "interconnectedness of the fronts."
Sources from within the leadership of the axis of resistance believe that "the messages have so far played their role" and made those concerned understand that “any miscalculation can ignite the fire.” According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, those messages were not passed on with the Al-Fujairah strike. Four US bases in Iraq recently came under fire. The last known targeting of this type was in February when the Ain al-Assad air base in western Anbar was reported to have been hit by unknown missiles. These targeting operations along with documents and recordings show that “there are intentions to strike our [US] interests”. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took this data and headed to Baghdad to share it with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. There, Pompeo demanded that Abdul-Mahdi put an end to the movement of the resistance factions and their provocations that "may require a response from us". He also demanded that the Iraqi National Oil Company suspend crude shipments from Iran across the land border and stop selling it in the market for commissions.
The Iraqi Prime Minister responded to such demands by explaining to his guest the importance that his country places on preserving its relationship with Iran and the need to take this into account. The premier also made him understand in a diplomatic manner that Iraq cannot afford any internal problems. Prior to these demands/conditions, the Iraqi leadership recently received a bigger basket. According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, it included:
1- Procedures for monitoring and auditing the financial accounts of Iraqi and Arab businessmen in Iraqi banks
2- Examining trade and oil traffic with Iran
3- Tightening controls and preventing the transfer of any technology to Iran
4- Controlling the management of the Hashd al-Shaabi [the Popular Mobilization Forces] and involving the army command in overseeing the arming, deployment and work of these forces.
But leading sources within the resistance factions suggested to Al-Akhbar that Baghdad did not respond to these conditions.
“The situation has changed from the days of (former Prime Minister Haider) Abadi. There are no longer large campaigns against the factions following each American protest or pressure," the sources said.
Last time around, the US Secretary of State returned empty-handed and disappointed, prompting the Trump administration to subsequently pullout all non-essential diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil. Western countries followed suit and announced the suspension of their training missions in Iraq. In this context, the sources said it was the Americans who were protecting these missions. With the announcement of their latest measures, Western countries sensed the loss of this protection, which led them to withdraw their staff (knowingly Germany announced yesterday that it would resume its training missions).
The sources added that the Americans attempted to separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from the government. The Americans repeatedly told the Iraqi political leadership that “our problem is with Iran and not with you” (which they also continue to use at the international level). At the same time, they passed messages to the resistance factions through a number of politicians warning that they would “not have mercy on those who move against us.” The US also sent other direct messages to Tehran stating that any "movement from your allies in Iraq will be considered as your own." In response to these threats that Washington throws around the sources of the resistance assert that they “will not abide by what the Americans want, and we will continue to pressure them."
“Our objective is to crush the American influence in our country,” the sources add.
The American move to turn Iraq into a platform against Iran is accompanied by continuous efforts to win over Moscow onto Washington’s side against Tehran. In this context, Al-Akhbar’s information indicate that during his last meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last Tuesday, the US Secretary of State renewed his country's old offer which entails a trade-off aimed at easing the economic siege on Iran in exchange for reducing its influence in Syria and allowing Moscow to fill that vacuum. But this failed offer appears to underscore the narrow options available to the Americans rather than serve as an indication of the multiplicity of tools available for confrontation.
In the face of successive disappointments and the growing number of voices in the US administration rejecting the war on Iran, it seems that Washington will re-focus its calculations on economic strangulation. It believes that this blockade will bring people to the street and reduce the resources of the Revolutionary Guards to zero, which would weaken it in the region. This means Iran will be unable to seize the initiative in the region. It will, hence, lose its vital role at all major junctions, most important of which is the Deal of the Century. Iran is spearheading efforts to thwart this project at all levels.
In the last few months, there have been several media leaks about "Iranian missiles in Iraq attacking “Israel”." Tel Aviv, which considers Iraq part of its strategic depth, is trying to enter this arena as it does in Syria. The raids that targeted the border area of Al-Bukamal (between Iraq and Syria) in June of last year are proof of this. In this context, Al-Akhbar learned that last October, “Israeli” warplanes carried out sorties over three Iraqi areas believed to contain storage facilities for long-range missiles. The Americans delivered the “Israeli” message "to whom it may concern". At the same time, they avoided the targeting of these sites. As the resistance factions confirmed, after the Al-Bukamal incident, it will hold Washington responsible for any “Israeli” action against it.