Leader Of Iraq Embassy Attack Pictured With Muslim Brotherhood Sympathizer Obama At White House

Posted by on January 2, 2020 10:07 pm
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Categories: NATIONAL HEADLINES

Barack Obama welcomed leader of US embassy attack at the White House

The leader of an Iran-backed US embassy siege in Baghdad was welcomed to the White House by Barack Obama eight years ago before becoming Tehran’s ‘point man’ in Iraq.

Hadi al-Amiri was Iraq‘s minister of transport under then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and stood in the Oval Office as part of Maliki’s delegation on a visit to the White House in December 2011.

On Tuesday, al-Amiri was among those leading the charge against the US embassy in Baghdad when it was stormed and set alight by pro-Iran militants. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shared a photograph of Amiri amid the rioters, condemning him as an ‘Iranian proxy,’ and calling those shoulder-to-shoulder with him ‘terrorists.’

The head of a leading pro-Iran Shia faction, Amiri exerts great power within Iraq’s state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and was highlighted by Pompeo among three other men as the ringleaders of the siege.

The ease with which Amiri and these other commanders breezed through the heavily fortified ‘Green Zone’ has alarmed US officials, who have noted their militia’s increased presence around diplomatic buildings in recent weeks.

A former guerrilla fighter who fought for Tehran in the Iran-Iraq War, Amiri has been accused of terrorism against the US, of helping Iran to ship arms to Bashar al-Assad in Syria and has been pictured bowing before the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

As Commander of the Badr Corps, an Iranian vassal within the PMF, Amiri’s men helped the US in their fight against ISIS in 2014 and 2015. But a recent spate of missile attacks by the Kataeb Hezbollah branch of the PMF, climaxing last Friday with the death of an American contractor at US base north of Baghdad, has revealed that Washington’s friends in the region can soon become enemies.

President Donald Trump ordered USAF jets to decimate Kataeb Hezbollah bases and 25 were killed on Sunday night. Amiri joined thousands who flocked to funerals for the fighters in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday and then spearheaded the crowds who rushed through the Green Zone and breached the US embassy.

The 65-year-old, who was of ‘grave concern’ to lawmakers as Obama’s guest in 2011, stood at the forefront of riots which prompted Donald Trump to deploy 750 Army paratroopers on Wednesday, with another 4,000 on standby.

President Obama sitting alongside Iraq’s then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the Oval Office of the White House in December 2011. Hadi al Amiri, who led a pro-Iran siege on the US embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday stands behind the sofa wearing a blue tie as part of Maliki’s delegation

 

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq and United States President Barack Obama (seated behind lamp) US President Barack Obama meets Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq at the Oval Office on December 12, 2011. Hadi al Amiri is seen behind the sofa, wearing a blue tie.

U.S. Army paratroopers of an immediate reaction force wait to board their C-17 transport aircraft to leave Fort Bragg for Kuwait amid soaring tensions with Iran

Amiri would have been well known to the Pentagon as the former commander of the Badr Corps, which received funding, training and arms from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated a terrorist group by Trump earlier this year.

The transport minister from 2010 until 2014, Amiri’s guerrilla past fighting on Tehran’s side during the vicious Iran-Iraq War remained clear even in the seemingly innocuous government position.

Amiri’s nepotistic reign as Transport Minister, turning back a passenger jet because his son missed his flight

In March 2014, Amiri got a call from his son Mahdi al-Amiri from the business class lounge at Lebanon’s Beirut airport.

Mahdi and his friend had missed their flight.

Amiri arrived at Baghdad airport to furiously tell Middle East Airlines staff: ‘I will not allow the plane to land in Baghdad.’

Twenty-one minutes into the flight, the Baghdad airport station manager called MEA operations to tell them there was no clearance to land. The plane then returned to Beirut and the passengers disembarked.

No more flights from MEA were allowed to land in Baghdad that day.

Marwan Salha, acting chairman of MEA, said at the time: ‘It’s very disturbing because this is pure nepotism.’

The Transport Ministry denied that the plane was turned around because Amiri’s son was missing, claiming that all flights were halted because ‘cleaning operations’ were being carried out at Baghdad airport.

However, an unnamed official at Baghdad airport that day revealed air traffic was normal with all 30 flights landing as planned. The only one turned around was the one from Beirut.

He was allegedly acting on the orders of the fearsome IRGC Major General Qassem Suleimani by allowing Iranian jets to fly weapons to the Syrian regime during Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on his own people.

Amiri denied this, but told The New Yorker five years ago: ‘I love Qassem Suleimani! … He is my dearest friend.’

General James Mattis told the magazine that without allies like Amiri in the Iraqi government, Assad’s government would have collapsed in the early years of the Syrian Civil War.

Amiri has since re-taken his role at the helm of the Badr Corps, which was previously the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and which is made up of thousands of pro-Iranian former officers and soldiers who fled Saddam Hussein’s reign.

Louis J. Freech, FBI director under the Clinton administration and into the early months of Bush’s administration, had been stunned by Obama allowing Amiri to step foot in the White House.

He condemned it at the time saying that Amiri, along with the IRGC, was engaged in ‘countless acts of terrorism, which are acts of war against the United States.’

Freech also said he would ‘love to sit down and talk to him (Amiri), show him photographs and ask him questions,’ with regards to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which killed 19 USAF personnel in Saudi Arabia.

Iranians were not indicted for the attack and it was blamed on Saudi Hezbollah, another pro-Iran terror group.

Meanwhile Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, then-Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had told The Washington Times that it was ‘extremely disturbing that the White House would see fit to welcome Al-Amiri to a discussion on the future of Iraq.

‘If anything, he should be subject to questioning by the FBI and other appropriate U.S. law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies.

‘The victims of Khobar Towers and the families of thousands of U.S. troops who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq deserve no less.’

The man referred to as an ‘Iranian proxy’ by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on New Year’s Eve, was the source of ‘grave concern’ to Republican lawmakers when he sat with Obama in the Oval Office in 2011

Militiaman claims nobody will be left alive inside US embassy

 

Iraqi protesters set ablaze a sentry box in front of the US embassy building in the capital Baghdad to protest against the weekend’s air strikes by US planes on several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades near Al-Qaim

Protesters set fire to gate outside United States embassy in Baghdad

US soldiers watch from behind a smoke screen as Iraqi protesters surround the US embassy building in the capital Baghdad. They fired warning shots, followed by stun grenades and tear gas

The Obama administration had downplayed Amiri’s presence in Washington, pointing out meetings George W. Bush had held with unsavory Iraqis in the fight against Saddam, including the leader of the SCIRI Sayyed Abdul Aziz al-Hakim in 2006.

‘We have the power to break them several times over’: Iranian general warns he is not afraid of war after Donald Trump threatened to make Tehran pay a ‘BIG PRICE’ for embassy attack

An Iranian general declared today that Tehran was not afraid of war after Donald Trump threatened the country after the siege at the US embassy in Iraq.

President Trump said that he was holding Iran ‘fully responsible’ for Tuesday’s carnage which saw the consulate in Baghdad besieged and set ablaze by a pro-Iran mob.

‘We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war and we tell America to speak correctly with the Iranian nation.’ Islamic Revolutionary Guards Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami warned. ‘We have the power to break them several times over and are not worried.’

Trump had said in a tweet on Tuesday that Iran would be ‘held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.’

The US embassy siege by pro-Iran protesters, many from militia groups of the PMF, has highlighted the struggle for Iraq in balancing its allies in Tehran and Washington following the American withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear pact.

The regional rivalry was partly playing out among Iraq’s security forces: the US has trained army units and elite troops, while Iran has assisted the PMF (also known as Hashed al-Shaabi).

On Tuesday, hundreds of Hashed supporters stormed the high-security Green Zone and besieged the US embassy.

The ease with which they breezed past US-trained forces demonstrated the PMF’s dominance in Iraq, said Harith Hasan, an expert at the Carnegie Middle East Center.

‘A political-military faction imposed its will on everyone and commandeered all decisions,’ Hasan wrote.

As a result, he predicted, ‘this new year will be the beginning of Iraq’s lean years, leading to its isolation.’

Founded in 2014, the PMF is formally part of Iraq’s government forces and its nominal head, Faleh al-Fayyadh, also serves as the country’s national security adviser.

But the US fears the network’s Shiite-majority units – many of which fought American troops following the US-led invasion in 2003 – is being used to exert Iran’s clout.

Those tensions boiled over last week when a US contractor working in Iraq was killed in a rocket attack by Kataeb Hezbollah, a hardline and pro-Iran PMF faction.

It was the latest in a string of attacks on American troops and the embassy in Iraq that the US has blamed on groups loyal to Tehran.

Under siege: US soldiers keep watch on the US embassy in Baghdad from an observation post

Rioters protest with fire outside the US Embassy in Iraq

Protesters burned the property in front of the U.S. compound on Tuesday waving flags and banners for their specific groups in protest of the US airstrikes in Iraq on Sunday

Both US and Iraqi officials told AFP they were especially alarmed to see PMF units deploy in recent weeks inside the Green Zone, home to government buildings, United Nations offices and key foreign embassies.

The clearest sign of the PMF’s effective control of the zone came during the embassy attack, when its backers breezed past US-trained units to reach the embassy.

Tuesday’s dramatic scenes at the embassy sparked comparisons with both the 1979 hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran, and the deadly 2012 attack on the US consulate in Libya’s second city Benghazi.

‘Isolation, diplomatic and economic sanctions, the lack of trust – this is what has happened to the Iranian, Syrian and Libyan regimes as well as the old Iraqi regime,’ said Iraqi expert Hisham al-Hashemi.

‘The tables could turn for Iraq just like they turned for those countries.’

‘We have the power to break them several times over’: Iranian general warns he is not afraid of war after Donald Trump threatened to make Tehran pay a ‘BIG PRICE’ for embassy attack

An Iranian general declared today that Tehran was not afraid of war after Donald Trump threatened the country after the siege at the US embassy in Iraq.

President Trump said that he was holding Iran ‘fully responsible’ for Tuesday’s carnage which saw the consulate in Baghdad besieged and set ablaze by a pro-Iran mob.

‘We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war and we tell America to speak correctly with the Iranian nation.’ Islamic Revolutionary Guards Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami warned. ‘We have the power to break them several times over and are not worried.’

Trump had said in a tweet on Tuesday that Iran would be ‘held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.’

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Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire while U.S. soldiers fired tear gas during a sit-in in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday

The first wave of 750 U.S. Army paratroopers from a rapid reaction force were dispatched from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Kuwait yesterday.

Iran-backed militiamen have withdrawn from the US embassy compound in the Iraqi capital but tensions remain high after two days of clashes.

On Tuesday, some 6,000 pro-Iran Shiite militia fighters stormed U.S. embassy in Baghdad, set walls ablaze and chanted ‘Death to America!’ in a violent retaliation for American air strikes.

There were no reports of American casualties, and the attack was repelled after 100 Marines rapidly reinforced the compound.

Pompeo said in a statement that the attack was ‘orchestrated by terrorists’ and ‘abetted by Iranian proxies’, tweeting pictures that he said showed US-designated terrorists with Iranian ties outside the embassy.

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A protester places a shoe at a placard with U.S. President Donald Trump illustration outside the U.S. Embassy during a protest yesterday to condemn air strikes on pro-Iran militia

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday condemned U.S. attacks on Iranian-allied militias in Iraq, blaming the United States for violence in Iran’s neighbour.

Iran’s Army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Thursday his forces were ready to confront the ‘enemy’.

‘Our armed forces … monitor all moves, and if anyone makes the slightest mistake, they will decisively react, and if the situation heats up, we will show our abilities to the enemy,’ Mousavi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

Iran protested on Wednesday to a Swiss envoy, who represents U.S. interests in Tehran, over what it called ‘warmongering statements’ by American officials.

ESCALATING TENSIONS BETWEEN THE US AND IRAN

May 2018: Trump withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was drawn up in 2015 under President Obama.

August 2018: The Trump Administration imposes first round of sanctions, prohibit trade with a number of business sectors

November 2018: The Trump Administrations imposes a second round of sanctions which target oil and banking industries. The sanctions have a crippling effect on the Iranian economy

April 2019: Trump designates one arm of the Iranian military as a ‘terrorist group’ – an inflammatory move that prompts the Iran to hit back and call the US a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’

May 2019: Four tankers – including two belonging to US ally Saudi Arabia – are struck and damaged in the Gulf of Oman. The US blames Iran for the attack

May 2019: A rocket lands near the US embassy in Baghdad, prompting Trump to tweet ‘If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!’

June 2019: Iran shoots down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz. An enraged Trump who considers launching airstrikes in retaliation

July 2019: Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that if any more American drones violated Iranian airspace ‘then they will receive the same response’ as the one that was blasted out of the sky the previous month

July 2019: Additional troops and fighter jets are put in place in the Middle East ‘to defend American forces and interests’ amid escalating tension

September 2019: Iran is blamed for an attack on two Saudi oil fields responsible for five percent of the global oil supply – or about 5.7 million barrels per day. Secretary of State Pompeo described the attack as ‘an act of war’

September 2019: US national security officials reportedly presented President Trump with a ‘menu’ of options that include military strikes and cyber attacks

November 2019: Rocket attacks increase on Iraqi military bases which are hosting American service personnel. Intelligence officials believe Hezbollah is behind the attacks

via Mail Online https://ift.tt/39xEZpr