Shafaq News / The “resistance” factions in Iraq are preparing to turn to the third phase of the conflict with the United States of America by responding to sources of fire by targeting their bases in neighboring countries or that embrace American forces.
It comes after the United States, at 11 o’clock on Friday evening, began the first round of U.S. retaliation for the killing of 3 soldiers in the Jordan attack.
U.S. fighter jets began launching strikes in areas of Iraq and Syria, and lasted for more than two hours, at a time when US President Joe Biden warned that these strikes would continue.
These strikes on Iraqi security sites in the areas of Akashat and Al-Qaim, west of Anbar province, led to 16 victims and 25 injuries, including civilians.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani directed, on Saturday, the announcement of general mourning in all state departments and institutions, in order to have mercy on the lives of the victims from the armed forces and civilians.
Switching to the third stage
In this context, the spokesman for the Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades, Sheikh Kazem Al-Fartousi, says that “the targetings that affected the popular crowd and civilians are not a stranger to the occupier and the American enemy, and this is a part of the ongoing war between us and the occupier.”
On the news that spoke about Jordan’s participation in the implementation of these strikes, Al-Fartousi explains to Shafaq News that “a clear and clear message was delivered to these countries that embrace American bases and participate in targeting Iraq such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, with the possibility of turning to the third stage, which is to respond to the sources of fire by targeting US bases located on their territory, and we are able to do so, as evidenced of our arrival at the port of Ashdod and Haifa.”
According to some information, on Saturday, F-16s belonging to the Royal Jordanian Air Force participated in the U.S.-led airstrikes last night.
This was likely in response to the drone attack that took place against a US base on the Jordanian border, known as “Tower 22,” in late January, press sources said.
The sources pointed to the Jordanian planes joining after their targets were identified, according to the Wall Street Journal, and pointed out that Jordan’s role came to show solidarity with the United States in the wake of the drone raid on Tower 22, a military site in Jordan near the Syrian border.
But an official military source at the General Command of the Jordanian Armed Forces, said on Saturday, that the Royal Jordanian Air Force did not participate in the airstrikes carried out by the US Air Force inside Iraqi territory.
The source said, according to the official Jordanian agency Petra, that “there is no truth in the press reports that were circulated this morning about the participation of Jordanian aircraft in the operations carried out by US aircraft inside Iraq.”
The source stressed that “the Jordanian armed forces – the Arab army, respect the sovereignty of brotherly Iraq,” stressing “the depth of brotherly relations that bring Jordan with all Arab countries.”
An attempt to stir sedion between countries
For his part, Jordanian writer and political analyst Amer Al-Tal says that “the American strikes are show, as President Biden needs to save the face of the United States of America in front of the American public as he is running the election race.”
Al-Tal believes in an interview with Shafaq News that “the United States of America does not need the Jordanian Air Force to launch strikes, it has enough and is able to hit any area you want, so this talk comes within an attempt to fragment the region politically and morally by provoking strife between the surrounding countries.”
Taking American troops out of the region in general
In turn, the deputy for the Sadiqun bloc, Mohammed Al-Baldawi, confirms that “what the United States of America has done and its agents in the region by bombing and targeting Iraqi territory, violating Iraq’s sovereignty and elevating this good three of martyrs indicates the treachery and cowardice of these actions, and indicates the great danger that threatens the world because of the American presence in this region.”
Al-baladawi adds to Shafaq News that “these criminal acts confirm the need to remove American forces from the region and not only from Iraq, to maintain the security and stability of this region.”
He explains, “The Gulf region is the heart of the beating world and its source of power is located in Iraq, and that the survival of these forces threatens the security and stability of Iraq and the region, so these criminal acts that try to drag the world into a new war must be stopped,” stressing that “the House of Representatives is supportive of the government by removing American forces from Iraqi territory.”
The presidency of the Iraqi Council of Representatives expressed its strong condemnation of the American aggression on the Iraqi security positions in the areas of Okashat and Al-Qaim at dawn today, and neighboring civilian places, which led to 16 victims and (25) injuries, including civilians.
The presidency confirmed in a statement that “the House of Representatives is determined to hold an extraordinary (emergency) session in the coming days, to identify the recurrence of American attacks on the country, and to put an end to the violations by the international coalition forces of the sovereignty and lives of Iraqis,” noting that “the repetition of American targets of Iraqi security headquarters is a great disregard that cannot be accepted.”
“The situation is out of control”
For his part, political analyst Ali Al-Sahib says that “the American strikes are a blatant attack on the sovereignty of Iraq, and as long as there is an occupying power trying to impose its domination on the Middle East in general and the Gulf region in particular, these strikes will remain, which will confuse the political scene in the region in general.”
Al-Sabib continues his talk to Shafaq News, that “the Iraqi-American crisis has begun to worsen, as the armed factions consider the American presence a serious intervention that must be removed, while American forces refuse to leave the country, at a time when the Iraqi government is trying to calm the situation, but it seems that the situation is out of its control.”
He stresses the importance of “taking a serious pause from Iraqi diplomacy to denounce the American presence, and send strongly worded messages to the US ambassador and file a complaint even to the Security Council, because these attacks have fell in them many martyrs and terrified citizens.”
Speaking about the White House National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, to inform the Iraqi government before launching the airstrikes, the political analyst considered that they “lies that America fabricate to shake the Iraqi political reality, and create sedition between society or the citizen and his government.”
He explains, “The United States wants to convey a message of this claim to political parties or society, that the Iraqi government is in solidarity with it in these targets, and this is not the first time that the US administration has claimed that its operations have been completed with the approval of the Iraqi government, but this is contrary to reason, because the sovereignty of Iraq is the responsibility of the government and the state as a whole.”
The Iraqi government spokesman on behalf of Al-Awadi denied that there was prior coordination between Baghdad and Washington on strikes by US forces targeting security forces positions in the western province of Anbar.
In turn, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the charge d’affaires of the United States Embassy in Baghdad, in protest against what it called the “American aggression” that targeted Iraqi military and civilian sites.
According to a State Department statement, reported to Shafaf News, the ministry will summon the charge d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, David Berker, because US Ambassador Alina Romanowski is not present.
According to the statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Berker will hand over an official protest note regarding the “American attack” that affected military and civilian sites in the areas of Akashat and Al-Qaim on Friday evening.
Warnings of counterattacks
In a related context, the professor of political science at George Washington University, Dr. Nabil Michael, “an escalation of the military scene and the war operations currently conducted by America in both Syria and Iraq, which will lead to a kind of instability, and US strikes may lead to counterattacks, especially in Iraq.”
Speaking to Shafaq News, Mikhail describes the U.S. response as “abnormal because it creates a state of war and makes Biden a president of war,” likely “continued strikes against pro-Iran militias in Syria, with Hezbollah opening a front in Lebanon.”
Early on Saturday morning, the U.S. Army Central Command reported that its forces had carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria targeting positions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.
U.S. military forces hit more than 85 targets with several aircraft containing long-range bombers launched from the United States, the command said in a statement today.
According to the statement, the airstrikes used more than 125 precision-guided munitions, noting that the targets included command and control headquarters, intelligence centers, missile stores, darves, munitions and logistics of militias and the Revolutionary Guards.
US President Joe Biden had directed the military forces to strike targets in Iraq and Syria that are used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and its militias to attack American forces, he said, stressing that although the United States does not seek an escalation in the Middle East, it will inevitably respond to those who harm the Americans.
‘A futility war leads to disaster’
For his part, the writer and political researcher, Kifah Mahmoud, says that “Iraq’s absurd war while it is out of a group of wars that destroyed its economy and its opportunities for progress and increased the rate of poverty and unemployment, not to mention its great impact on the psychology of society over decades, will lead the country to a disaster with the presence of armed groups outside the law and tampering with peace and security of society.”
Mahmoud adds to Shafaq News that “the militias are expected and know the results of this, but it seems that the war is their source of livelihood and the legitimacy of its existence, especially as it uses Palestine as a hager for its behavior,” he said.
“What is going on is a great challenge to the Sudanese government, which the militias are working to thwart and thwart its program that it promised the people,” the writer said.
U.S. and international coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have been subjected to more than 165 attacks since mid-October, many of which have adopted the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” an alliance of Iran-backed armed factions that oppose U.S. support for Israel in the Gaza war and the presence of US troops in the region.
Washington responded to previous attacks with a series of strikes in Iraq targeting pro-Iranian groups.
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Al-Nujaba Movement revealed today, Saturday (February 3, 2024), that most of the headquarters of the armed factions were empty at the moment of the American bombing in Iraq at dawn today, with the United States announcing a military response to the attack in Jordan last Sunday, which resulted in the killing of 3 American soldiers.
The movement’s spokesman, Hussein al-Musawi, said in a statement to the Associated Press, followed by “Baghdad Today,” that Washington “must understand that every action provokes a reaction,” but he added that “we do not want to escalate or expand regional tensions.”
He stated that “the targeted sites in Iraq were essentially devoid of fighters and soldiers at the time of the attack.”
The agency considered that there was not much damage, which allows it to justify the lack of need for a strong response.
The statement of the Nujaba official draws attention to the map of the victims, according to what was revealed in the statement of the Popular Mobilization Forces, as it is clear that most of the victims were from the 13th Brigade (Al-Tafuf Brigade), a faction accused of strikes against the Americans, and most of the victims were in Akashat, where this brigade was located. This is in contrast to Al-Qaim, where the major factions involved in targeting American forces are present, which clearly indicates that the empty headquarters were for the large factions, while the Al-Tafuf Brigade did not vacate its headquarters, unlike the others.
The Iraqi government announced that the bombing, which it described as a “blatant aggression,” led to “16 martyrs, including civilians, in addition to 25 wounded, and also caused losses and damage to residential buildings and citizens’ property.”
She stressed, “The presence of the international coalition, which has deviated from the tasks assigned to it and the mandate granted to it, has become a reason for threatening security and stability in Iraq and a justification for involving Iraq in regional and international conflicts.”
The Prime Minister’s financial adviser, Mazhar Mohammed Saleh, announced on Saturday a significant improvement in the efficiency of Iraq’s foreign exchange reserves, stressing that it indicates that Iraq’s financial situation is the best in its history.
Saleh explained, in an interview with the official agency, followed by NRT Arabia, that Iraq’s oil revenues will remain the main source for the growth of the country’s foreign currency reserves, pointing to the high efficiency indicators in these reserves.
Saleh pointed out that Iraq’s oil revenues constitute up to 98% of the assets of the investment portfolio of foreign currency reserves, indicating that all indicators indicate that Iraq is currently living in its best financial conditions, and that these reserves are booming and increasing with the growth of the current account index of the balance of payments.
He stressed that there are standard investment mechanisms and evidences in line with global standards in the management of Iraq’s foreign exchange reserves, stressing that with the increasing cycle of oil assets, the size of Iraq’s foreign reserves increases and rises in its investment portfolio.
Shafaq News/ A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, confirmed on Saturday that the Iraqi government has already been informed before launching airstrikes.
“The American response has started tonight, and it won’t end tonight,” Kirby said.
“We believe the strikes were successful, and we don’t know how many militants may have been killed or injured,” the U.S. official noted.
The White House confirmed the success of all airstrikes in hitting their targets in Iraq and Syria.
“Facilities that have been targeted are being used by IRGC groups to target U.S. forces in the Middle East,” Kirby said.
“There have been no contacts with Iran since 3 U.S. soldiers were killed in northeastern Jordan,” he noted.
Following the announcement of the strikes, US President Joe Biden said that US military forces, at his direction, “hit targets in Iraq and Syria used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their affiliated militias to attack US forces,” stressing that although the United States does not seek an escalation in the Middle East, it will inevitably respond to those who harm the Americans.
In a statement published by the White House on Friday, he confirmed that the U.S. response “began today and will continue at the times and places we choose.”
He added that “the United States is not seeking conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, but for everyone who may seek to harm. The following: If you hurt an American, we will respond.” This came according to Reuters
Shafaq News / The World Gold Council revealed on Saturday that Iraq, Libya and Qatar came in the list of the top 10 most Arab central banks buying gold in 2023, amid the countries continuing to strengthen their reserves of the yellow metal as a safe haven, especially with the current economic and geopolitical crises.
According to that data, global central banks’ net gold purchases last year fell to 1037.4 tonnes, compared to 1081.9 tonnes in 2022, but remains the second highest level in more than 55 years.
The People’s Bank of China topped the list of the most central banks buying gold in 2023, with a volume of 224.88 tons, followed by Poland second with 130.3 tons, followed by Singapore a third with 76.51 tons, followed by Libya fourth by 30.1 tons, followed by Czech Republic fifth with 18.71 tons, followed by India sixth with 16.22 tons.
While Iraq came in the seventh with the most gold-buying bank in 2023, reaching 12.25 tons, followed by Qatar eighth with 7.44 tons, followed by the Philippines ninth with 7.10 tons, followed by Kyrgyzstan tenth with 6.95 tons.
According to the World Gold Council report, global demand for gold, excluding the over-the-counter market, fell to 4,448 tonnes in 2023, from 4,699 tons the year before.
ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Saturday reported that 13 members of Iranian-backed groups were killed in airstrikes that are believed to be carried out by US forces in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor.
“The airstrikes destroyed 17 positions sheltering Iranian militias in Al-Mayadeen (the capital of Iranian militias in Syria) and Al-Bokamal near borders between Syria and Iraq, in addition to airstrikes targeting positions near Deir Ezzor City,” SOHR said.
The U.S. military forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups, U.S. CENTCOM confirmed on Saturday.
The U.S. military said they struck more than 85 targets in both Iraq and Syria.
The strikes are a retaliation for the death of three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers at a remote US base in Jordan by a drone attack carried out by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group.
The Friday strikes are part of an anticipated air campaign that is set to be launched against the IRGC and its affiliated forces in the coming weeks, per US officials.
Following the retaliatory strikes, Biden issued a statement in which he affirmed, “Our response” to the attacks “began today,” and “it will continue at times and places of our choosing.”
That statement was repeatedly echoed by John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, who briefed reporters, alongside Sims, later that day.
Kirby also provided the strongest expression of any Biden administration official in explaining the administration’s objective in the retaliatory strikes that had just occurred.
“We want the attacks to stop,” Kirby said. “We want them to stop right now.”