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(ericzuesse) N.Y. Times Lies to Say U.S. Forces In Iraq Are Legal

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Date: Thursday, 08 February 2024

N.Y. Times Lies to Say U.S. Forces In Iraq Are Legal

Eric Zuesse (blogs at

On February 7th, the N.Y. Times headlined “Iraq Hosts Both U.S. and Iranian-Backed Forces. It’s Getting Tense. As Iranian-backed groups and American forces, both of which have bases in Iraq, lock horns around the Mideast, things are becoming uncomfortable for the Iraqi government.” It opened:

For years, Iraq has managed to pull off an unlikely balancing act, allowing armed forces tied to both the United States and Iran, an American nemesis, to operate on its soil.

Now things are getting shaky.

When Washington, Tehran and Baghdad all wanted the same thing — the defeat of the Islamic State terrorist group — the relationships were fairly tenable, but in recent months, as the war in the Gaza Strip sends ripples across the region, American and Iranian-backed forces have clashed repeatedly in Iraq and Syria. A U.S. strike on one of those militias last week killed 16 Iraqis, and Iraq is saying it has had enough.

“Our land and sovereign authority is not the right place for rival forces to send messages and show their strength.” the office of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a statement on Sunday.

For many years, both Iran and the United States had their proponents within the Iraqi government, and the Iranian-backed armed groups and the American troops lived in a tolerable if uneasy balance.

That started to change in 2020 after the United States killed one of Iran’s top security and intelligence commanders, Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a widely revered figure at home, in a drone attack as he was visiting Iraq. The Iranians began pushing hard for the U.S. military to be ejected.

Iraqi leaders resisted, in part because of divisions over which country Iraq should lean toward. …

It pretended that the status of U.S. forces inside Iraq is legally comparable to that of Iranian-backed forces in Iraq.

On 22 July 2021, Reuters headlined “U.S. set to formalize readjustment of troop role in Iraq -officials”, and reported that “The United States and Iraq are expected to formalize the end of Washington's combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year and continue the transition toward training and advising Iraqi forces, U.S. officials said.”

On 5 January 2020, Russia’s RT News bannered “Iraqi parliament passes resolution asking government to cancel request for assistance from US-led coalition” and reported that “Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution, urged by its caretaker prime minister, calling for the removal of foreign troops from the country, after the US’ assassination of a top Iranian general and a commander of an Iraqi militia. … According to Press TV, some Western military presence may remain for training purposes. The resolution says Iraqi military leadership has to report the number of foreign instructors that are necessary for Iraqi national security. At the same time, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad had turned to the UN Security Council with complaints about US violations of its sovereignty.”

Also on 5 January 2020, a reporter for CNN, Manu Raju, tweeted from the Air Force 1 press pool, “Trump … tells pool he will slap Iraq with ‘very big sanctions’ if they force US troops to leave. ‘We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.’ Trump added: ‘If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.’”

The next day, on January 6th, Sajad Jiyad of The Century Foundation blogged from Baghdad, “On the issue of US bases, Iraqi sovereignty and sanctions” and reported and presented the legal documents proving that (quoting now from the contract that both Iraq and U.S. had signed) “Iraq owns all the buildings and installations, the nontransferable structures on the ground that are located in the areas and installations agreed upon, including those the U.S. utilizes, constructs, changes or improves.” Furthermore, he noted that, “The US troops that are currently in Iraq are part of a request for assistance to combat ISIS that was sent in 2014. These troops are meant to advise, train and assist Iraqi troops. This request was sent by the Iraqi government and can be revoked at any time.”

On 7 January 2020, TIME magazine headlined “Iraq's Outgoing Prime Minister Says U.S. Troops Must Leave”. Trump responded that only the U.S. Government will decide when to leave Iraq.

 At the peak under George W. Bush there were 398 U.S. military bases in Iraq, but only around 250 to 300 of them still remain there. Those 250 to 300 bases that were still there on 5 January 2020 have almost all of them remained in Iraq, not been closed. Trump’s policy on Iraq is Biden’s policy on Iraq. Neoconservatism — the policy that Obama phrased as “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation” (so Iraq and each other country is “dispensable”) — is the only thing that the U.S. Congress (at least 98% of it) is united upon.  

On 16 December 2020, Dr. Jiyad headlined “Iraq’s Impossible Choice between Iran and America”, and he wrote:

Across the political spectrum in Iraq, there is recognition that Iran is a more reliable partner than the United States. When the Islamic State took over large parts of Iraq in June 2014, Iran was the first to give support to the Iraqi government, while the United States withheld extra assistance for two months until a new government more to Washington’s liking was formed. The United States is engaged in Iraq so long as it has troop presence, and its attention to Iraqi policy has fluctuated wildly over the past decade. In contrast, Iran has no declared military presence, and has been far more consistent in its foreign policy. The simple fact is that Iran will always be next to Iraq and deeply involved; the same cannot be said of the United States.

The NYT’s allegations to the effect that there is comparability between the relationships that America and Iran have with Iraq, are clearly intended to deceive their readers, instead of to inform them.

However, that’s not abnormal for U.S.-and-allied ‘journalism’ (propaganda). Iraqis were and are, actually furious that the U.S. continues its military occupation — a continuation of the 2003 U.S. invasion — of their country, after the U.S. was finally ordered out by Iraq’s Government on 5 January 2020. U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media constantly lie about this entire matter, and about anything else which reveals the ugly imperialistic reality of U.S. foreign policy. Americans are deceived, and kept in the dark, by ‘our’ ‘news’-media.

First, the U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media lied and reported that U.S. troops were only ‘requested’ to leave — though Iraq’s Parliament had unanimously voted for a resolution to demand the U.S. to leave, and Iraq’s Prime Minister supported it 100% so that the entire Iraqi Government were demanding — not merely ‘requesting’ — the U.S. to leave.

Then, when on 10 January 2020 the Trump regime refused to leave, a call went out by an opponent of the occupation, Muqtada al-Sadr, for Iraqis to march in Baghdad on January 24th to demand that the U.S. regime immediately comply with their Government’s demand; and, on the morning of Friday January 24th, America’s AP ‘news’ agency bannered “Iraqis rally against US troops, demanding they leave”, and reported: “Tens of thousands of Iraqis marched peacefully through Baghdad on Friday to demand the ouster of U.S. troops from their country. … There were no official estimates of the turnout and organizers gave varying figures, but it clearly fell short of the ‘million-man’ march that had been called for by al-Sadr.” That’s a lie, because there already had been tweeted photos and videos of the march showing that “This is a Million-Man miracle for the largest human gathering in Iraq’s history. This morning in the capital, Baghdad, struck by a two-million human-flood in a demonstration to expel American troops and to end their bases in Iraq.” And: “The Chief of Police in Baghdad just estimated the number of Iraqis protesting against the US’ presence in Iraq today to be in excess of one million people.” Photos like this were shown, which would never be shown in U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media. And this tweet showed four such photos, and said, “Over 8 Kilometres of packed streets with millions of Iraqis calling for FULL withdrawal of American forces from #Iraq.” That’s 5 miles packed with people, which would be around two million people. All of this was before the AP ‘journalists’ issued their ‘news’-report saying “Tens of thousands of Iraqis marched.”

The U.S. regime uses other countries’ territory for its own purposes, regardless of what the residents in the invaded/occupied land want or need. In the case of Iraq, the purpose of invading that land was theft of Iraq’s oil. Until 2003, Iraq’s oil had been nationalized — a national instead of private investor-owned asset. George W. Bush cut U.S.-and-allied investors in on it. (Donald Trump wants not only Iraq’s oil but Syria’s, and so U.S. taxes are funding propaganda to help steal that too for American billionaires.)

The U.S. regime had invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003 based entirely on lies by the U.S. President and his Administration and the U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-media, about “Saddam’s WMD” that they had no evidence existed and which actually did not exist, but the gullible U.S.-and-allied masses believed those lies and still believe the regime’s lies — and so supported U.S.-and-allied invasion-destruction of Libya 2011, Syria 2012-now, Yemen 2015-now, and Iran-yet-to-come, and the leading U.S. Presidential candidates are Donald Trump and Joe Biden, both of whom are committed to those very same imperialistic (or ‘neoconservative’) foreign policies, in order to serve America’s billionaires, who own-control not just the ‘news’-media but the Government, in this ‘democracy’.

Who has benefited from America’s Iraq policy? The billionaires who virtually own and control not merely the U.S.-and-allied Governments but their mega-firms such as Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil. Anyone who believes the U.S. regime’s assertions that what drives its international relations are concerns for “democracy” and “human rights” has been monstrously fooled and manipulated — and learns about it only years if not decades later, after all of those corporate dividend payments and increases in stock values have already accrued to the portfolios of the crooks who run this show — this show that taxayers fund for the owners’ benefits.

The American people don’t usually suffer from this as much as the people in the targeted-for-takeover countries do, but only the few super-rich and their hired agents benefit from it. This is called “aristocracy” or “fascism.” It certainly isn’t democracy. And any dictatorship rests upon lies (and censorship against truths), in order to ‘justify’ it.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s latest book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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