Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nzimande's Removal 'Long Overdue' - Limpopo ANCYL
2017-10-17 22:17
Jeanette Chabalala
News 24

Polokwane – The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in Limpopo has welcomed the removal of former minister of higher education and training Blade Nzimande from Cabinet. 

In a statement on Tuesday, provincial secretary David "Che" Selane said Nzimande's removal was "long overdue".

"The ANCYL in Limpopo believes that Mr Nzimande's presence in Cabinet has not only contributed to the demise of the SACP as a vanguard of the alliance, but has concentrated more selfishly on himself than on his primary mandate (sic)."

News24 reported earlier that Hlengiwe Mkhize, former home affairs minister, had been shifted to the higher education portfolio to replace Nzimande.

The only new addition is the relatively unknown Bongani Thomas Bongo, who was appointed state security minister.

Selane said the ANCYL in Limpopo rejected comments made by the South African Communist Party's (SACP) first deputy general secretary, Solly Mapaila, that Nzimande's removal was an attack on the SACP by President Jacob Zuma.

"The SACP of Solly Mapaila remained silent like a corpse in a mortuary when fellow SACP leaders in Limpopo were treated with disdain under the leadership of a central committee member of the SACP and former provincial chairperson of the SACP, who is the provincial chairperson of the ANC in Limpopo, Cde Stan Mathabatha."
BEF Welcomes Cabinet Reshuffle, Has Full Confidence in New Ministers
2017-10-17 18:53
Amanda Khoza
2017-10-17 17:31

Johannesburg – The Black Empowerment Foundation (BEF) on Tuesday welcomed President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle and said it had full confidence in the new ministers.

On Tuesday, Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet for the second time in seven months. While most of the reshuffling involved moving ministers between portfolios, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande was axed from the Cabinet.

Nzimande was replaced by former Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.

"We have confidence in the members who have over the past years demonstrated their commitment to ensure solid service delivery," said BEF spokesperson Zola Qoboshiyane.

"The comrades who have been assigned new responsibilities have always worked within the collective and have displayed impeccable integrity.

"We have no doubt that their deployment will strengthen the national Cabinet and ensure that the ANC, as the ruling party, meets its objectives of the transformation of society."

Nzimande was 'pulling in the wrong direction'

The foundation said the deployment of Mkhize and Buti Manamela as minister of higher education and deputy minister, respectively, would usher in a new era in the education sector.

"While as the BEF we have the utmost respect for Dr Blade Nzimande, we, however, believe that he was pulling in the wrong direction. He invested so much energy in discrediting the president of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, instead of dealing with complex challenges facing students.

"The higher education sector remains untransformed, with an unacceptable mismatch between skills produced by institutions of higher learning with what is required by industry and what is needed to grow the economy of the country. The mismanagement of funds by SETAs (sector education and training authorities) happened under Nzimande's watch. The [less] said about him, the better," said Qoboshiyane.

READ: Nzimande's removal regrettable – Higher Education Transformation Network

The foundation also said it was pleased with the deployment of Mmamoloko Kubayi as minister of communications.

"We are confident that the new minister will ensure that the national broadcaster is at the forefront of the restoration of African human values and the promotion of social cohesion."

Qoboshiyane said under Ayanda Dlodlo, the former minister of communication, the Department of Home Affairs was in capable hands.

"We are confident that the new minister will also help transform our international migration policy to ensure, in particular, that we strengthen the solidarity among African people," Qoboshiyane said.  
South African Prof. Mkhize Shifted From Home Affairs to Higher Education Minister
17 October 2017 - 11:53
BY KYLE COWAN

Former home affairs minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.

As Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize was named the Minister of Higher Education and Training on Tuesday by President Jacob Zuma‚ MPs issued a statement critical of her.

The Select Committee on Social Services expressed its concern that she‚ as the Minister of Home Affairs‚ "has not shared with the Committee the reasons for the suspension of the Director-General".

"While the Committee acknowledges that the Director-General has taken the matter for judicial review and that the matter is between an employer and employee‚ the Committee is of the view that the Minister could have taken the Committee and Parliament into its confidence about the suspension‚ especially as it relates to service delivery.

"This is because the Director-General‚ as the accounting officer according to the Public Finance Management Act‚ is critical to service delivery and governance of the department‚" it said.

Zuma announces cabinet reshuffle

In a shock move on Tuesday morning‚ President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet‚ swapping around six of his ministers.

Cathy Dlamini‚ the chairperson of the committee‚ said: "The rules of Parliament make provision for Committees to hold close meetings where they deem necessary. This matter could have been handled in this manner if the Minister was reluctant to share the information in an open setting due to the judicial review the Director-General has undertaken."

The committee added it "is hopeful that the Minister will urgently inform the Committee of the reasons for the Director-General’s suspension".

Mkhize was appointed to the home affairs post on March 31 this year.

Her director-general‚ Mkuseli Apleni‚ was expected to challenge his suspension by Mkhize in September‚ in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

President denies he supports suspension of Apleni

He has argued that Mkhize did not have the authority to suspend him and the grounds she provided were flimsy.

Apleni has argued that critical matters would go unresolved without him at work to manage the department.

Mkhize went on a public tirade in the days after the suspension‚ calling Apleni delusional and saying that his accusations were baseless.
MANTASHE: CABINET RESHUFFLE WILL HURT ANC ALLIANCE WITH SACP
Mantashe says that Zuma's axing of SACP leader Blade Nzimande has worsened what he has described as an alliance at its lowest.

FILE: ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe briefing the media. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says that President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, which saw Blade Nzimande being axed as Higher Education Minister, will impact negatively on the alliance between the ANC and the SACP.

The president announced his 11th Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, which included moving ministers who started new portfolios less than 8 months ago.

Mantashe says that Zuma's axing of SACP leader Blade Nzimande has worsened what he has described as an alliance at its lowest.

He says that the ANC and the SACP were just starting to pull towards each other.

"After about six months we had just had an allaince secretariat meeting to pull it together again and this reshuffling of the general secretary of the party is going to undo some of the work that was done in that meeting.

He says he hopes Nzimande will still be with the party as an MP.

Mantashe described Nzimande's axing as a pity, saying that he is highly regarded in the ANC.
Students at CPUT Welcome Blade Getting the Chop
17 October 2017 - 16:39
BY FARREN COLLINS
Times Live

Blade Nzimande. File photo.
Image: Avusa

Students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town have waited "a long time" for the firing of Minister of Higher Education‚ Blade Nzimande.

Nominated student representative Sivuyise Nolusu said that they welcomed the decision by President Jacob Zuma to axe Nzimande in his latest cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday.

"We are very happy about Blade Nzimande being fired‚ because the way he was handling things at CPUT in particular was [poor]‚" Nolusu said. "We've been waiting a long time for it to happen. He gave a mandate to the university management to do whatever they wanted to calm the situation at the university‚ including arresting students."

Nolusu was referring to the violent clashes between students‚ private security and police that have plagued CPUT campuses for over a month and resulted in property destruction‚ arson attacks and the arrests of students. Students want management to deal with the issues of financial exclusion of students‚ in-sourcing of workers and the securitisation of campuses.

Last week‚ the university announced an indefinite suspension of activities in order to meet with students over a resolution.

University spokesperson Lauren Kansley said that university management decided to resume classes on Wednesday‚ after they met with students on Saturday for a "good" meeting that ended "positively".

"One of the outcomes was a commitment to the issue of financial exclusions – namely that no academically deserving student will be financially excluded‚" said Kansley.

But on Tuesday‚ workers and students from various campuses met in Woodstock to announce that they would prevent classes from going ahead.

They said that a meeting late on Monday between students‚ members of the SRC‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Pan-African Students Movement of Azania (PASMA) had resolved that nominated student representatives should request a sitting of a university assembly before classes could resume.

"We need a fully fledged university assembly‚ where we are going to raise our concerns‚ discuss our problems and resolve them‚" a nominated student representative said.

"We want it to be chaired by an independent mediator and to include all stakeholders‚ including [university] council‚ so that all decisions made there are binding. We would like the university to remain closed until the assembly sits."

CPUT student Tammeryn Links said that students couldn't write exams while armed private security remained on campuses

"Our environment is not conducive [to learning]. There is barbed wire around the campus and only one entrance in and out‚ so my question is what if something happens on campus?"

Kansley said that private security would remain on campus for "as long as they are required".
Cabinet Reshuffle: South African Media Speculates on the New Team Around President Zuma
REBECCA DAVIS
17 OCT 2017 11:30 (SOUTH AFRICA)

 Photo: The newly installed Minister of Energy David Mahlobo and President Jacob Zuma at the ANC Policy Conference, 5 July 2017, Nasrec.

President Jacob Zuma’s Tuesday Cabinet reshuffle was greeted with almost unanimous concern from quarters unconnected to the ANC. While the axing of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande is widely seen as the underlying motive, particular unease also accompanies the move of State Security Minister David Mahlobo to the vexed Energy portfolio. And aside from the specifics of the new appointments, one fact is obvious: it serves nobody’s interests, except the President’s, to have such a rapid turnover of ministers in such key positions. By REBECCA DAVIS.

“It has just proven that Zuma is going to purge anyone who attacks him, or who is in his way to elect a successor,” United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa told Daily Maverick on Tuesday.

Holomisa was referring specifically to the axing of Higher Education Minister and South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande, with Nzimande having been an increasingly vocal critic of Zuma in recent months.

“It is clear that the relationship between Zuma and Blade [Nzimande] has broken completely,” Holomisa added.

His view was reiterated by numerous opposition party politicians following Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle. The DA’s Mmusi Maimane characterised the shuffle as “the latest move in Zuma’s war against anyone who opposes his project of State Capture”.

“We know that Blade [Nzimande] has been a thorn in the flesh [of Zuma], especially with the SACP,” the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh told Daily Maverick, while Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald described the shuffle as “revenge on the SACP”.

This line of thinking was voiced most forcefully by the SACP itself, with deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila terming Nzimande’s removal as “an attack on the SACP”.

Not everyone was shedding tears for Nzimande, however. Deputy leader of the Congress of the People (Cope) Willie Madisha told Daily Maverick that Nzimande’s ousting was “history repeating itself”.

Said Madisha: “What is being done to [Nzimande] now is exactly what he did to Thabo Mbeki 11 years ago, [Nzimande] was together with his friends, including Zuma, mobilising against Thabo Mbeki.”

Madisha has some skin in this game: he was booted out of the SACP in 2008 following a dispute between him and Nzimande over a R500,000 donation which Madisha claimed he handed to Nzimande, who denied ever seeing the money.

In the immediate aftermath of the shuffle, the emphasis of analysis was placed on the possible implications of Nzimande’s sacking for alliance politics, with little time for reflection on Nzimande’s term as Higher Education Minister.

The DA’s shadow education minister Belinda Bozzoli told Daily Maverick: “Blade has run out of steam and I would suspect is probably quite relieved.”

She suggested that his tenure as Higher Education Minister will probably be largely remembered for the #FeesMustFall unrest.

“He was warned by many people, including me, of the risks of not increasing government subsidies [for universities] over the years and brushed those aside,” Bozzoli said. “His is not a great legacy, but on the other hand he has overseen a relatively stable department, certainly not riddled with corruption. By the ANC’s low standards, he’s done a reasonable job.”

His replacement in the Higher Education portfolio is Hlengiwe Mkhize, who has been Home Affairs Minister for the last six months. With the government’s report on student fees yet to be released, Mkhize takes on an unenviable role at a difficult time.

“I don’t think Mkhize has got any oomph rather than just academic qualifications,” the UDM’s Holomisa said.

The IFP’s Narend Singh voiced the hope that Mkhize’s academic background – she holds higher degrees in Psychology – would at least stand her in good stead in her new position.

Bozzoli pointed out that Mkhize has been the chair of the board of the University of Zululand during an extremely troubled time for the university, which has seen the institution put into administration twice.

Overshadowing the movement of Mkhize, however, was the transfer of State Security Minister David Mahlobo to the Energy portfolio.

Reflecting on Mahlobo’s time at the State Security Agency, Right2Know’s Murray Hunter told Daily Maverick: “In three years, Mahlobo went from being a little-known Mpumalanga MEC to being one of Zuma’s most prominent allies. During that time, we saw a dangerous creep of state security into our politics and public life: serious allegations of a rogue SSA unit targeting rival politicians, the use of SSA slush funds to set up a bogus union, and the rise of paranoid accusations of ‘regime change’ against critics of the government.”

It is Mahlobo who is now being handed the reins to one of South Africa’s most important government departments.

“There is speculation of course that moving Mahlobo from where he was was occasioned by the fact that [Zuma] might want to send him to Russia now and again,” said Holomisa – a reference to the nuclear deal with Russia that President Zuma is said to be desperate to conclude before the end of his term in office.

Makoma Lekalakala, an activist from the anti-nuclear group Earthlife, told Daily Maverick that the shifting of Mahlobo to Energy may be read as a sign that “the project of nuclear expansion has got to happen, through thick and thin”. She said the group would be scrutinising matters around nuclear very closely.

Mahlobo’s replacement in the State Security portfolio is Bongani Bongo, a relatively low-profile ANC MP.

“What is of significance is that [Bongo] is from Mpumalanga,” suggested the FF+’s Groenewald. Mpumalanga is shaping up as a critical province in the ANC’s leadership race, because it will send the second greatest number of delegates to the December electoral congress.

Groenewald also points out that Bongo has been deployed by the ANC to sit on a number of ad hoc Parliamentary commitees – including those looking into the selection of the public protector and the funding of political parties – which Groenewald interprets as a sign that Bongo is happy to do Zuma’s bidding.

Zuma’s appointment of a new Communications Minister, in the form of Mmamoloko Kubayi, came on the same day as a court ruling set to curtail that minister’s powers in future. The case was brought by Media Monitoring Africa, which argued that the ability of the Communications Minister to have the final say in appointing senior executives at the SABC radically undermined the power of the SABC board. On Tuesday, the courts agreed.

“It’s a massive, massive gain,” Media Monitoring Africa’s William Bird told Daily Maverick. “Go back through all these [SABC] crises over the last decade and you’ll see ministerial interference has been one of the biggest challenges.”

Bird’s enthusiasm over the court ruling was tempered by the news of the new Communications Minister – the seventh one in seven years.

“It’s just extraordinary that the communications sector can be treated with such contempt that (ministers) can be changed in this manner,” Bird said. He charged that the rapid turnover of ministers is a “deliberate strategy to create overriding chaos – to make sure the SABC is in the state that it’s in, and push through other deals”.

Possibly the most surprising aspect of Tuesday’s reshuffle, however, was the fact that presidential contender Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma did not emerge with a ministerial post – as had been widely speculated would happen in order to strengthen her hand in her leadership bid.

“Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is not stupid,” was Holomisa’s comment on the matter. “She has been at pains to try and be seen as herself, and not as a lackey of Zuma.”

Groenewald suggested that there was still time for Zuma to act to promote Dlamini Zuma. “It is not impossible that in November, Zuma can replace Cyril Ramaphosa as deputy president [with Dlamini Zuma],” he speculated.

From some of those within the ANC, a positive spin was put on the day’s events.

“The replacement of comrade Blade Nzimande is long overdue,” stated the Western Cape’s ANC Youth League. ”It has been clear for some time that he was distracted by the SACP’s debate on whether it should participate in the 2019 general election from driving the ANC’s agenda of free higher education.”

The ANC branch also commended President Zuma on the appointment of Buti Manamela as Deputy Minister of Higher Education, as “yet another indication that a younger crop of leaders are being given greater responsibility in the state”.

Its statement concluded with a call to Cabinet members to “not allow themselves to be used as cannon fodder in the run-up to the conference in December”.

With the new appointments seemingly motivated in large part by narrow political interests, that may be easier said than done. DM
SACP Red October Campaign 2017 Launching Statement as Delivered by General Secretary Cde Blade Nzimande
8 October 2017, Johannesburg City Hall

If left unchecked, violence in our communities, in the economy and society at large will plunge our nation into deeper crisis. The problem includes contact crimes, killings/murder and attempted murder, common assault and assault with grievous bodily harm, common robbery and sexual violations. Subtle forms of violence include emotional and verbal violence. All members of society, regardless of sex and age are exposed to the problem of violence. Violence is, according to authoritative statistics and police dockets, very high in metropolitan areas. Unreported instances or cases of violence make it very difficult to quantify the full extent of violence in our country.

Nevertheless, according to a report presented to Parliament in March by the South African Police Service (SAPS), covering nine months from April to December 2016, Gauteng could be described as the capital of South Africa`s contact crimes. The province accounted for more contact crimes compared to other provinces. The Western Cape was second to Gauteng. KZN was the third after Western Cape and Eastern Cape the fourth after Western Cape.

Gauteng Province was also leading in murder cases at 3, 057, followed, second to it, very closely by KZN at 3, 027. The Eastern Cape was the third after KZN in murder cases at 2, 831 while the Western Cape was the fourth after the Eastern Cape at 2, 481 cases of murder.

In politics, the province of KZN is the centre of criminal killings used to further political ends, the so-called political killings. The SACP has suffered major losses in this regard as the first, major target. The SACP called on the relevant authorities to act against the political killings, but our call appeared to have fallen on deaf ears until the violence expanded.

In the broader economy, there are industries where, violence comes across as a means of resolving conflicts, relating to consumers, or as part of organising and competition strategies. This is clearly visible in the taxi industry and is one of the serious problems in the mining industry as evidenced in, but not exclusively, the Rustenburg platinum belt.

As part of the problem of violence, sexual and gender-based violence is not only to be found in the household or residential areas. It is to be found also in industry. Females are the majority on the receiving end of sexual violations, gender-based violence and men who use their positions of authority at work to impose their sexual desires on women, either using subtle or crude forms of violence.

Very recently, Statistics South Africa released a report showing that sex crimes have increased. We must bring this problem to an end and create a society in which everybody regardless of sex, sexual orientation and age is safe!

Although there is little that has been achieved and the problem persists, the triple crisis of racialised, gendered and spatial inequality, unemployment and poverty has received more attention in social mobilisation than the prevailing problem of violence in our society. In addition, there is visible social mobilisation against corruption and state capture. We must intensify our mobilisation to radically reduce and address economic inequality, unemployment, poverty, corruption and corporate state capture. However, we must, at the same time deepen the struggle against violence and pay more attention to gender-based violence in all spheres of societal activity.

It was in this cintext, taking this call of duty into account, that at our 14th Party Congress in July we resolved that our annual Red October Campaign, the one we are launching today, must focus on building and strengthening social mobilisation towards eliminating gender-based violence in particular and violence in general. We therefore resolved to include insecurity as a result of crime and violence in our communities, industry and society at large as the fourth scourge facing our people and democracy in addition to the triple crisis of inequality, poverty and unemployment as well as corruption and state capture.

Violence against women, children, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans- and/or intersex (LGBTI) community must be brought to an end. The extent of domestic violence, abuse of women, sexual harassment, including rape and other sexual assaults, and femicide require a focused campaign to uproot this scourge and re-instate the safety of women and LGBT is in our society. We must, in this regard, pay equal attention to ensuring the safety of children, both females and males, as well as people with Albinism.

Elimination of gender-based violence and child abuse require cross-cutting mobilisation of the nation as a whole. At our Congress we resolved to forge the broadest possible patriotic front to defend and deepen our democracy and a Popular Left Front of forces to defend, advance and deepen our revolution. We need to build, as part of the strategy, a front to eliminate gender-based violence. To this end the SACP convened a consultative meeting last month attended by representatives of progressive NGOs with a focus on achieving gender transformation.

The meeting was also attended by representatives from SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority. The participants provided invaluable inputs, as well as educational guidance. On behalf of the Party I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants who attended the meeting. The SACP will deepen the engagements and the programme towards building a mass movement against gender-based violence, against child abuse and against abuse of LGBTIs.

We need to deepen social mobilisation to ensure effective prevention of violence by communities, the government and all relevant state authorities alike. This includes ensuring the provision of services and support to survivors or victims of gender based-violence by communities, progressive NGOs and the government, and the investigation, prosecution, sentencing and rehabilitation of perpetrators by the criminal justice system.

Given that patriarchy and its forms of exploitation have been given increased expression by capitalism, the elimination of violence in general and in particular violence against women, LGBTIs and children is integral to the interests of the working class who are the most affected.

As the SACP we will also be using our centenary celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution to strengthen working class women struggles against violence against women. Our struggle to build momentum towards, elements of, and capacity for socialism in the here and now is simultaneously the struggle for, and requires, the elimination of violence in general and abuse of women, LGBTIs and children.

Our immediate programme includes:

Education and awareness to combat the scourge.
Building effective street committees and Community Policing Forums that work to curb violence against women and crime in general.
Building an increasingly vanguard leadership and supportive role that enables the expertise and specialised activism of progressive organisations and NGOs dedicated on achieving transformation of gender relations to deepen their work and to work together with them in combating femicide (murder of women), child homicide and infanticide in our communities.
Equally fight sexual abuse and rape of boys and boy child learners and advance and deepen the overall struggle against patriarchy.
Intensifying our Know Your Neighbourhood and Act Campaign; streamline and strengthen a focus on violence and gender-based abuse in the campaign.
Work with the Police and the NPA to combat violence and gender-based abuse and ensure arrests, prosecution, adequate sentencing and rehabilitation of perpetrators. The fact that there are criminal elements that infiltrated the Police, as the Minister of Police recently revealed, does not mean that we must not work with the Police and recognise the good work that the Police do. We must defeat the criminal capture of the Police and decisively deal with criminals according to the law.
Let us go all out and participate in the governant initiated listening campaign and let us convene community meetings to engage and work with communities to combat crime in general and gender-based violence in particular. We do not need permission from another political organisation to convene a community meeting. All we should do is to inform others, including our allies, and further invite them to the meetings. We are an independent Party.
Deepen the struggle against economic exploitation including a strong focus on patriarchy, inequality, unemployment and poverty.
There is also this rising phenomenon called "blessing" by the so-called "blessers". This must end. We cannot leave it out in the struggle against patriarchy.

Our people, particularly the workers and poor are faced with too many serious problems.

We must defend, advance and deepen our revolution and rescue it from the trajectory of destruction it has been plunged into. We must wage the struggle on all fronts. The economic programme of this struggle must entail a deepening sense of urgency about the fundamental necessity to defeat crime, corruption and corporate state capture across all levels. This phenomenon of state capture must be characterised properly; it is in fact a counter-revolution, and we must treat it as such.

The SABC, SAA, Eskom, PretsoSA, the CEF (Central Energy Fund), Prasa, Transnet, the SA Post Office/Bank, Telkom, Denel etc.; regulatory and other national authorities such as SARS, Sentech, Usaasa etc.; development finance institutions require social mobilisation in order to work and serve the people. These public entities were forced into crisis by looting, governance decay and corporate state capture. The investigative and prosecutorial authorities that must act appear to have been lulled into passivity and turning a blind eye to the rot. Look at the Gupta leaks. Nobody has been held accountable, even if they do not deny what they are implicated in but seek to give it context. In a way the rot highlights the danger of leadership distance by the working class to state power.

At our Party Congress we resolved to play a more active role in contesting elections either within or without the umbrella of a reconfigured alliance. We have started developing a roadmap in this regard and we will be engaging with progressive and worker organisations. The roadmap will be presented to our annual Augmented Central Committee by the end of this year for consideration and adoption and will be implemented towards a Special Party Congress that will consider a report of the work and adopt the final way forward.

We are on record that the mode of functioning of our alliance as it stands is outdated and must be reconfigured. Intransigence in having the alliance reconfigured will certainly lead to it to be reconfigured through the ballot. There just no way the alliance will become successful if it is not reconfigured. This is, in summary, the way forward from our Party Congress.

We must build strategic discipline in our movement and the state. We must defeat the looters and parasites and build organic, technical and professional capacity of our state and transform it to become a capable democratic developmental state to serve the people wholeheartedly.

We need investment in the productive sector of the economy to create jobs and decent work. Capital is presently on a holiday, and over a trillion rand is held in liquid cash rather than invested in productive economic activity. This is made possible partly by the strategic discipline of the state that is has been and continues to be hollowed out and both must come to an end! Everybody, including capital, must be disciplined.
SACP Welcomes Court Judgment on Comrade Ahmed Timol
12 October 2017

The South African Communist Party welcomes the North Gauteng High Court judgment concluding that Ahmed Timol did not commit suicide but was murdered. This is an affirmation of the truth that the SACP has always believed. The judgement paves the way for justice to run its full course. Those who committed the murder must now face the music and be held accountable in accordance with the rule of law.

The SACP unwaveringly supports the Timol family and will deepen its campaign towards a wider programme to seek justice for all. Everyone who was killed by or disappeared at the behest of the apartheid regime must be accounted for. The forces behind the crime against humanity, apartheid, must be held accountable!

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

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SACP Gauteng Condemns KPMG for Economic Sabotage
16 October 2017

The South African Communist Party (SACP) Gauteng today, 16 October 2017 held a successful picket outside audit firm KPMG's Johannesburg head office. This was to protest and condemn the multi-national company for the role it played in facilitating and supporting Corporate Capture of the State by the Gupta family.

KPMG provided corrupt audit and accounting services to the Gupta linked companies and to the SA Revenue Services (SARS) on the so-called Rogue Unit, a report they finally withdrew and apologised for. In their services to the Gupta linked companies and SARS, KPMG applied the most corrupt, unethical, immoral and bankrupt auditing practices.

The SACP believes that as a direct result of their activities to legitimise and provide cover to the corrupt activities of the Guptas, KPMG has undermined South Africa and plunged it into deep economic crisis. It is because of this immoral and corrupt relationship between KPMG and the Guptas that the country is now suffering the consequences of junk investment rating.

In a country that already has a high rate of unemployment, severe poverty, and inequalities amongst the highest in the world, the working class and the poor are left more vulnerable when the economy's rating is downgraded.

Corporate Capture of the State has undermined the proper functioning of our State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and undermined the integrity and the oversight role of National Treasury and SARS as key institutions that are the custodians of our public purse. These institutions have always played a crucial role to guarantee good governance and compliance with the constitution and the laws of our country.

South Africa's economy is almost in recession, and growth forecasts indicate that the economy will not grow at the most appropriate levels to meet the needs of the working class and the poor. Whilst our tax base is very low due to low economic growth, our instruments such as bonds are not selling in the financial and credit markets. As a result SOEs that were corrupted by KPMG cannot raise money, leading to workers' pensions being threatened as they are now being looked at as alternative funds to finance the same SOEs.

The SACP believes that KPMG committed crimes against our economy and the people. They are responsible for further depressing the economic environment in our country.

The picket was in protest against the role of KPMG's activities including the following:

Firstly, KPMG supported a Gupta company at the centre of all dealings and transactions that constitute the core of Corporate Capture of the State. KPMG provided audit and financial services to the listing of the Gupta Company known as Oakbay Resources Limited. KPMG made sure that the share price was fixed and manipulated to ensure successful listing by this Gupta Company. It gave legitimacy to the share price that was certainly not worth the paper it was written on. This would have helped Oakbay Resources and Energy Limited to raise capital at the JSE.

Secondly, KPMG provided accounting and auditing services to the Gupta linked acquisition of Optimum Coal Mine from Glencore. KPMG supported the negotiations influencing the acquisition price to the benefit of the Guptas.

Thirdly, KPMG manipulated information to package a set of accusations and allegations to discredit former Minister of Finance, comrade Pravin Gordhan. KPMG falsely claimed that Gordhan should have known and actually knew, and was therefore responsible for the so-called Rogue Unit at SARS. This has been proven a fabrication and was withdrawn.

Fourthly, KPMG senior partners and managers attended the scandalous and controversial Gupta wedding at Sun City in Rustenburg. This was the wedding that saw our national sovereignty being undermined with wedding guests landing at the military airbase in Waterkloof. We believe the KPMG guests were invited as a reward in recognition of their role in facilitating the Corporate Capture of State institutions.

All these events and activities of KPMG triggered a series and chain of events that led our country being rated junk investment by the rating agencies. Rating agencies relied on issues such as governance, political stability, poor state of SOEs amongst many other factors, at the core of which is corporate capture facilitated by KPMG.

The SACP thanks and congratulates all institutions (public and private) for severing ties with KPMG. We must encourage patriots and those loyal to our county and democracy to drop KPMG with immediate effect. We must warn any institution and company that is still doing business with KPMG that they are accomplices and equal partners in waging economic genocide and sabotage against our economy. We will mobilise the working class to expose and protest any institution that is party to Corporate Capture of the State.

We call on KPMG to close shop and go back to their Imperialist masters. Their presence in our country is a source of grave pain and bad memory.

Issued by the SACP Gauteng province

Contact:

Jacob Mamabolo - SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 884 1868
SACP Statement on the Removal of Cde Dr Blade Nzimande from the South African Cabinet
17 October 2017

The South African Communist Party has learnt about the factional removal from Cabinet of the Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande by President Jacob Zuma. We emphatically reject these manoeuvres that place the Alliance on the brink of disintegration. Our view is that this is not a reshuffle but the targeted removal of Cde Blade as a direct attack on the SACP. Ordinarily the aim of any cabinet reshuffle must be to strengthen the capacity of the state. But in this case that is not the intention, especially with the retention of so many deadwoods and compromised individuals in Cabinet.

The continued authoritarianism by Zuma, disregarding Alliance protocols and relations, has plunged the Alliance into unchartered waters. In fact this action, more than anything else, also compromises and further tarnishes the image of the ANC itself. Zuma`s removal of Dr Nzimande from the Cabinet without consultation with the Alliance is nothing but a response to the popular call, led by the SACP and COSATU, for the President to resign. Our call for Zuma to step down is based on the many problems of corruption, governance decay and state capture under his watch. In addition, the removal of Dr Nzimande from the Cabinet is part of Zuma`s manoeuvres to secure successful election of his ordained successor at the forthcoming ANC December national conference.

It is a well-known fact that the malady of corruption, governance decay and state capture has worsened exponentially under the incumbency of President Zuma and his friends, the Gupta family. If the President thinks that by removing Dr Nzimande from the Cabinet he will silence the SACP from the leading role it has played to expose and confront state capture, he is glaringly mistaken! Instead, the SACP is even more committed to continuing with its leading role in waging the struggle against state capture and corruption.

The SACP thanks Cde Blade for his dedication in serving our people and commitment to education transformation. Cde Blade has set very important parameters and standards in the transformation of higher education and training. As the SACP we are committed to continue the struggle for the transformation of higher education, working together with all the progressive forces in this terrain.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES ON SACP STATEMENTS CONTACT:
Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo
National Spokesperson & Head of Communications
Mobile: +27 76 316 9816
Skype: MashiloAM

CIRCULATION & MEDIA LIAISON SERVICES
Hlengiwe Nkonyane
Communications Officer: Media Liaison Services, Digital and Social Media Co-ordinator
Mobile: +27 79 384 6550

OFFICE, WEBSITE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, USTREAM TV CHANNEL
Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: SACP1921
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Facebook Page: South African Communist Party
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COSATU Statement on the Recent Cabinet Reshuffle
17 October 2017

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the latest cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma. We can confirm that the federation did receive a courtesy call from President Jacob Zuma regarding his decision to reshuffle his cabinet this morning.

While, we acknowledge that the president of the republic has a prerogative to reshuffle his National Executive as per the Constitution of the republic, we find the frequency of these cabinet reshuffles unsettling because they do not help to create the much needed stability at a government level. What compounds the situation is that some of these government departments are also witnessing an exodus of senior technocrats.

All of this is happening while workers and the poor are continuing to be victims of a system that has condemned millions of our fellow citizens to lives of brute survival. Our economy is currently haemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate and it does not help that we are also experiencing this kind of political uncertainty and policy incoherence from government.

COSATU expects cabinet reshuffles to be about strengthening the capacity of government in order to help government to better implement its developmental agenda and deliver on its promises. We are not convinced that this reshuffle is informed by that ,considering that some of the most ineffectual ministers like Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, and Minister Mosebenzi Zwane are still part of the National Executive.

These recent cabinet reshuffles have done very little to help take the National Democratic Revolution forward. We call on the African National Congress to reflect deeply about the state of the economy and the overall performance of its government. The majority of workers are facing a bleak future and the people South Africa need a clear sign that the government has a plan to rescue them from poverty and kick-start this economy.

As COSATU , we will continue to work with and support the newly elected ministers and deputy ministers with the hope that they will prioritise a people driven and people centred development. We wish them well in their new positions.

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
ANC Condemns Attacks Against Rohingya Minority in Myanmar
16 October 2017

The African National Congress condemns in the strongest terms the actions of the Myanmar military that have resulted in the displacement of some 509 000 Rohingya Muslims from the Northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh. This has led to a significant humanitarian and refugee crisis that includes an estimated 100 000 children. The ANC adds its voice to growing international condemnation of the violence directed against the Rohingya.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar and despite having lived in the country formerly known as Burma for centuries - they are not considered one of the country's official ethnic groups. This has effectively rendered them stateless.

The ANC condemns not only the violence being perpetrated against Rohingya men, women and children by the military - but also the decades long apartheid discrimination they have faced, dating back to British colonial rule.

The United Nations has described the Rohingya as 'the world's most persecuted minority'. They live in one of the poorest states in the country and are forced into a ghetto-like existence where they are routinely denied access to opportunities and services. Their freedom of movement is curtailed and they live in constant fear of attack.

The ANC calls on the Myanmar government to immediately put a halt to the refugee crisis by allowing the Rohingya people who have fled, to return to their places of birth.

The international community should put pressure on the Myanmar government to stop the indiscriminate attacks on the Rohingyan people, and continue to support the ongoing effort to alleviate the plight of the displaced.We further call on the Myanmar government to take the necessary steps to grant them nationality.

The ANC recalls the historical ties of solidarity and support that the ANC and all freedom loving people have extended to Aung San Suu Kyi over the many years of her exile and house arrest. We implore her to support the Rohingya's right to return to their country of origin and to ensure their safety and right to live and work with dignity.

The ANC urges all South African government departments, led by the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation, and South African humanitarian organisations to contribute generously towards humanitarian relief efforts.

Issued by
Edna Molewa
Chairperson: ANC NEC SubCommittee on International Relations

Enquiries:

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
National Spokesperson

Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Zimbabwe Urges ITU to Promote Universal Health Coverage
October 18, 2017
Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE has encouraged the global telecommunications industry to come up with a clear roadmap of achieving universal health coverage and to take stock of the fact that some countries do not have the infrastructure to achieve the objective. Members of the International Telecommunications Union agreed to improve universal health coverage and provide strategic opportunities for the full adoption of digital technology in the health sector by 2030.

Speaking at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Potraz director-general Dr Gift Kallisto Machengete said some countries were still struggling with diseases like malaria, hence a clear roadmap was imperative to achieve the goal. “There is need for a roadmap. What we know at the moment is that by 2030 we are attempting to achieve universal health coverage. What is not clear is how we are going to get there. We have to be clear who is doing what for us to get to 2030 with universal health coverage,” he said.

“There are already some countries which are more or less there because of their economic development, even when we look at Internet coverage its 100 percent. When you look at infrastructure its nearly 100 percent. There are some countries where infrastructure is a big impediment to any access.” He said in such situations it would be important for the United Nations to look at how they can babysit those lagging behind. It doesn’t help if only a few countries reach universal health coverage for all and yet there are some who cannot even afford three tablets to prevent malaria. In other countries, malaria is nothing to talk about anymore, but in some it is a big killer.”

An ITU director Mr Yushi Torigoe said achieving universal health coverage would transform healthcare. “I strongly believe that universal health is a key to better, more equitable and affordable health care. More and more people are accessing internet from mobile devices and this can foster systematic change and can transform healthcare, even in the most remote and isolated area in the world,” he said.

World telecommunication development conferences (WTDCs) are convened in the period between two Plenipotentiary Conferences to consider topics, projects and programmes relevant to telecommunication development.
Zimbabwe First Lady Sues Fugitive Businessman for $1.2 Million
October 18, 2017
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe is suing fugitive Lebanese businessman Mr Jamal Joseph Ahmed for $1 230 000 over a diamond ring deal that went sour last year. The First Lady in April 2015 approached Mr Ahmed, who was in the business of diamond-cutting and polishing and ordered a 100-carat special ring worth $1 350 000 for her wedding anniversary.She paid in advance through her CBZ Bank account. However, in breach of the agreement, Mr Ahmed failed to deliver the ring, triggering a legal wrangle. An attempt to refund the First Lady hit a snag as Mr Ahmed only paid $120 000, leaving a balance of $1 230 000. In her suit filed at the High Court yesterday, Dr Mugabe is claiming the principal debt plus interest calculated from April 1, 2015 to the date of payment in full. Harare lawyer Mr Wilson Tatenda Manase of Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners is representing the First Lady in the million-dollar lawsuit.

The First Lady is seeking an order declaring Mr Ahmed’s shareholding in three companies — Thatchfree Investments, Zulaf Investments and Super Earth Properties — executable. She also seeks an order allowing her to attach the businessman’s immovable properties in Avondale and Vainona, Harare, if he fails to settle the debt. Mr Ahmed holds a Zimbabwean residence permit. He is into diamond-cutting, polishing and selling. Dr Mugabe, in her declaration, stated that she contracted Mr Ahmed to supply the diamond ring in April 2015.

“The plaintiff wanted to purchase a unique diamond ring for her wedding anniversary celebrations. The parties agreed that the diamond ring would be at least 100 carats and the agreed price was US$1 350 000. The plaintiff duly instructed her bankers, CBZ Bank, to transfer the money into defendant’s bank account, to which the bank duly complied,” reads the declaration. Mr Ahmed, according to the declaration, became evasive and could not be located for some time after receiving payment. After the First Lady put pressure on Mr Ahmed to deliver the ring, the businessman reportedly supplied a diamond ring which was far much less in value than the one paid for.

“In response, the defendant tendered a diamond ring worth US$30 000 and naturally, the plaintiff refused to take possession of an inferior ring,” the declaration reads. Mr Ahmed later agreed to pay back the $1 350 000 that had been advanced to him, and he only paid $120 000.

“Despite repeated demand, the defendant has neglected and failed to refund the full amount. The plaintiff has no other remedy but to seek redress from this very Honourable Court,” reads the court papers. Meanwhile, Mr Ahmed is on the police wanted list over an assortment of commercial crimes and a warrant of arrest has since been issued against him. In his other court cases, his lawyers have been defending him in absentia. Mr Ahmed is yet to file his response to the $1,23 million claim.
Zimbabwe First Lady Donates to Women’s League

October 18, 2017
Herald Reporter

FIRST Lady Dr Grace Mugabe yesterday donated 3 000 day-old chicks to the ZANU-PF Women’s League Harare chapter as she steps up her empowerment drive in all the country’s 10 provinces. The First Lady, who is also the ZANU-PF Women’s League Secretary, plans to donate 30 000 day-old chicks, with each province receiving 3 000. The donations in Harare were conducted at the party’s provincial headquarters.

ZANU-PF Harare Province Women’s League chairperson Cde Joyce Kasinamunda expressed gratitude to the First Lady for the programme. Dr Mugabe’s countrywide campaign is focussed on capacity building and entails training programmes for would-be beneficiaries. The training programme is meant to impart proper poultry rearing skills to ensure successful projects. ZBC Online/Herald Reporter.
Zimbabwe President in Uruguay for WHO Meeting
October 18, 2017
From Takunda Maodza in Montevideo, Uruguay
Herald

PRESIDENT Mugabe arrived here yesterday morning where he is expected to join other global leaders for the World Health Organisation (WHO) global conference on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). President Mugabe is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Walter Mzembi, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba and other senior Government officials.

The conference is divided into three segments, starting with the dialogue of member states, United Nations agencies and non-state actors. The second segment will be for ministers from member states and United Nations organisations and national non-communicable diseases directors. Finally, there will be a high-level segment for member States and United Nations organisations at the level of Heads of and Government and Heads of UN organisations.

The conference is being held at a time when the world is battling NCDs such as diabetes and cancer, which killed 40 million people globally in 2015. Some countries have been considering introducing a cancer levy to help mobilise resources to fight cancer. President Mugabe left Harare on Monday.

He was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko; Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa; Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Simon Khaya Moyo; Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi; Minister of State Security Kembo Mohadi; service chiefs and senior Government officials.

VP Mnangagwa is Acting President. The conference is running under the theme “Enhancing policy coherence between different spheres of policy making that have a bearing on attaining Strategic Development Goal target 3.4 on NCD by 2030”. SDG 3.4 by 2030 seeks to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one-third through prevention and treatment and promoting mental health and well-being.

The conference seeks to provide guidance to member states on how to reach SDG target 3.4 by 2030 by influencing public policies in sectors beyond health and enhancing policy coherence. It also seeks to launch a set of new global initiatives to help countries accelerate progress in reducing premature mortality from NCDs and to fast-track efforts to attain SDG target 3.4. The meeting will also see delegates exchanging national experiences in enhancing policy coherence to attain the voluntary global NCD targets for 2025.
Zimbabwe President Leaves for Uruguay to Address WHO Conference
October 17, 2017

President Mugabe talks to Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko at Harare International Airport

Takunda Maodza News Editor—

PRESIDENT Mugabe left Harare yesterday for Uruguay where he will join other Heads of State and Government attending the World Health Organisation (WHO) conference on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, service chiefs and senior Government officials. VP Mnangagwa is Acting President.

The conference is running under the theme “Enhancing policy coherence between different spheres of policy making that have a bearing on attaining Strategic Development Goal target 3.4 on NCD by 2030”. SDG 3.4 by 2030 seeks to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one-third through prevention and treatment and promoting mental health and well-being.

The conference seeks to provide guidance to member states on how to reach SDG target 3.4 by 2030 by influencing public policies in sectors beyond health and enhancing policy coherence. It also seeks to launch a set of new global initiatives to help countries accelerate progress in reducing premature mortality from NCDs and to fast-track efforts to attain SDG target 3.4.

The meeting will also see delegates exchanging national experiences in enhancing policy coherence to attain the voluntary global NCD targets for 2025. The conference will also highlight the health sector as the key advocate for enhancing coherence for the attainment of SDG target 3.4. Also expected to attend the conference are Ministers of health, agriculture, development cooperation, finance and foreign Affairs. The United Nations organisations, public policy decision makers, global experts and advocates and non-state actors will also attend the conference.

The conference is made up of three segments — the dialogue of member states, UN organisations and non-state actors; the ministerial segment for member states and UN organisations at the level of ministers and national NCD directors; and a high-level segment for member states and UN organisations at the level of Heads of State and Government and Heads of UN organisations.

The conference is being held at a time the world is burdened by NCDs like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular dieses and chronic respiratory ailments. NCDs killed 40 million globally in 2015, which represented 70 percent of all deaths worldwide. Zimbabwe has not been spared from the burden of NCDs like cancer and diabetes. Some interest groups are now proposing the establishment of a cancer levy to help raise resources to deal with the disease.

The conference will come up with a document that is expected to be endorsed by participants. The outcome document is also expected to serve as an input into the discussions at the 71st World Health Assembly on the preparations for the third High-level Meeting of the United General Assembly on NCDs in 2018.
Missile Production Will Not Stop Under Any Conditions: IRGC Commander
Mon Oct 16, 2017 06:21PM
presstv.ir

The new Iranian long-range missile, Khorramshahr, was displayed in Tehran during the military parade marking the annual Sacred Defense Week, on September 22, 2017

The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Division says Tehran will not stop boosting its missile capabilities under any circumstances, shrugging off US President Donald Trump’s call for constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

“[Even] if a wall is constructed all around the country, the production of missiles will not be halted, because this is a completely indigenous and domestic industry,” Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on Monday.

He added that the IRGC was defending the Iranian nation’s interests and would not be deceived by enemies, emphasizing that the IRGC would continue to boost its capabilities on a daily basis, because security is paramount in all conditions.

The IRGC commander played down concerns about a possible war against Iran, saying, “This is the enemy’s psychological warfare and our country is so strong that no one will dare attack or confront the Islamic Republic.”

Hajizadeh also pointed to Washington’s hostile approaches to Tehran adding: “The US enmity is
an unchangeable issue and strategy. [Therefore,] its tactics may change but the strategy itself never changes.”

He emphasized that US statesmen were under the influence of Zionists, saying, “Their core policies are dictated by the Zionists.”

The US president on October 13 refused to formally certify that Iran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

While Trump did not pull Washington out of the nuclear deal, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

Reimposing sanctions would put the US at odds with other signatories to the accord and the European Union.

Trump also said his goal was to ensure Iran would never obtain a nuclear weapon, adding, "We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout."

Shortly after Trump’s anti-Iran speech, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani questioned the US motives in expressing concern over Iran's missile program, saying Washington was providing arms to "aggressive countries" to target innocent people in the region, including in Yemen.

He said, "Our missiles are for our defense and we have always endeavored for the production of our weapons and we will redouble our efforts from now on and will continue enhancing our defensive [prowess]."

Back in July, Hajizadeh said Iran was self-sufficient in producing various types of surface-to-surface missiles, drones and smart bombs.

“[Iran’s] self-sufficiency in manufacturing advanced surface-to-surface missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, smart bombs, radar and air defense systems, electronic warfare [devices] and other issues correctly proves that we can overcome all problems by relying on domestic capabilities,” he said.

A senior IRGC commander says Iran is self-sufficient in producing surface-to-surface missiles, drones, and smart bombs.

Iran has recently made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing important military equipment and hardware. The Islamic Republic says its military power poses no threat to other countries and is merely based on the doctrine of deterrence.

The "Khorramshahr" ballistic missile, which has a range of 2000 kilometers, is capable of carrying multiple warheads.

Iran on September 22 unveiled a new ballistic missile, named Khorramshahr, which has a range of 2,000 kilometers and is capable of carrying multiple warheads.
Syria Intercepts Israeli Warplanes Near Lebanese Border: Army
Mon Oct 16, 2017 05:59PM
presstv.ir

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet is seen as Israeli soldiers take part in a training session in the Mediterranean Sea on April 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Syrian army says its air defense has responded to an Israeli aerial violation of the Arab country’s territory in the vicinity of the Lebanese border, hitting an intruding warplane and forcing the fighter jets to retreat.

According to a statement released by Syria’s General Command of the Army and Armed Forces, carried by the country’s official news agency, SANA, an undeclared number of Israeli warplanes violated Syria’s airspace on the border with Lebanon in Baalbek area at 08:51 a.m. local time on Monday.

An anti-aircraft battery of the Syrian army, located some 50 kilometers from the capital Damascus, then “responded and directly hit one of the jets, forcing [the enemy] to flee,” the statement further read, adding that the Israeli jets returned fire at 11:38 a.m. local time by firing multiple missiles from inside the occupied territories that hit a Syrian army position in the countryside of the capital, resulting in material damage.

The army further threatened Israel with “dangerous repercussions” for the airstrikes and its repeated aerial aggression attempts, stressing Syria’s determination to continue its war against the terrorist groups, “Israel’s arm in the region.”

The Israeli military, for its part, issued a statement later in the day, saying that the fleet in fact consisted of Israeli reconnaissance planes, which “were in the skies over Lebanon, and not in Syria.”

It added that neither of the Israeli warplanes sustained damage in the process and returned home “safely.”

An Israeli warplane conducts airstrikes in the occupied Golan Heights after a Patriot anti-ballistic missile allegedly destroys a reconnaissance drone from Syria.

During the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets in Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats in their fight against Syrian government forces.

Back in April 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially admitted for the first time that the regime's military had conducted strikes in Syrian territory. 

Damascus says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups operating inside the Arab country, while the Tel Aviv regime's military carries out such sporadic strikes against Syrian government forces. The Israeli regime has even set up field hospitals to treat wounded militants evacuated from Syria.

Moreover, the Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
Iraqi Forces Retake Military Base, Strategic Sites in Kirkuk
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:42AM
presstv.ir

Members of Iraqi federal forces gather near oil fields in Kirkuk, October 16, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Iraqi forces have gained control of the main military base in Kirkuk as well as other strategic locations in the oil-rich province from Kurdish fighters.

The operation is carried out to take key areas in the disputed region following last month’s referendum held for possible secession of the Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq's Joint Operations Command (JOC) said on Monday that "anti-terrorist units" had captured the K1 military base northwest of Kirkuk city following the withdrawal of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

The militants moved into Kirkuk in 2014, capitalizing on a quick withdrawal of Iraqi troops from the city amid Daesh assaults.

The JOC, which groups all pro-government forces, also said that it was making progress in its operation to "restore security" to Kirkuk.

After the capture of the military base, the Iraqi forces managed to take control of the headquarters for Iraqi state-owned North Oil Company and a nearby refinery from Kurdish forces without fighting. The central government troops also took the nearby Baba Gurgur field from the Kurds.

Despite the ongoing operation, oil and natural gas production from the region is proceeding normally, an official within the Iraqi Oil Ministry said.

''Kurdish leaders, we consider as our brothers, have agreed to hand over control of North Oil and North Gas company facilities who belong to the state,'' a military commander involved in the operation said.

"We have an agreement with some Kurdish leaders that the oil and gas facilities should stay out of the conflict," the ministry official said.

Members of Iraqi federal forces enter oil fields in Kirkuk, October 16, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
The JOC further noted that the central government forces had gained control of two bridges, two roads and an industrial zone to the southwest of Kirkuk.

The Iraqi troops also took control of a power station, a police station and three areas in the province.

The advances came hours after artillery fire was exchanged between Iraqi and Kurdish forces early Monday south of the city.

Tensions are high between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the controversial referendum.

The plebiscite took place on September 25, sparking strong objection from Baghdad. Iraq’s neighbors and the international community also voiced concerns about the repercussions of the vote, which was only supported by Israel.

Kurdish leaders have coveted Kirkuk, with some 10 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves, for long and described it as part of their proper even as, roughly two-thirds of the city's population are non-Kurd. 
Kurdish Leaders Reject Baghdad’s Demand to Cancel Referendum Results
Sun Oct 15, 2017 03:13PM
presstv.ir

Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani (C) sits next to Iraqi President Fuad Masum during a ceremony at the airport in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah following the arrival of deceased former Iraqi president Jalal Talabani's coffin on October 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Kurdish leaders have dismissed the Iraqi government’s demand that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) annul the results of last month’s independence referendum in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

During a meeting between KRG President Massoud Barzani, Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, the widow of deceased former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in the Kurdish town of Dokan on Sunday, Kurdish leaders renewed their offer to “resolve peacefully” the crisis with Baghdad.

However, they rejected what they described as “military threats” from Iraqi forces against Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and pledged to defend the Kurdistan region in case of an offensive, Barzani's aide, Hemin Hawrami, wrote on his Twitter page.

The report came shortly after Mala Karim, a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) official, told Arabic-language al-Ghad Press news agency that Iraqi Turkmen fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) had taken control of the Kurdish political party’s organizational committee headquarters in the ethnically-mixed city of Tuz Khurmatu, located some 88 kilometers south of Kirkuk.

He added that the pro-government PMU forces -- better known by their Arabic name as Hashd al-Sha’abi – had established their control over the building after PUK members evacuated it.

Karim stressed that there was no gun battle between Turkmen fighters and Kurdish forces.

The referendum on secession of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region was held on September 25 despite strong opposition from the central government in Baghdad, the international community, and Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran.

Following the vote, Baghdad imposed a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region and called for a halt to its independent crude oil sales.

On October 12, an Iraqi government spokesman said Baghdad had set a series of conditions that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) needed to meet before any talks on the resolution of the referendum crisis could start.

 “The KRG must first commit to Iraq's unity. The local authorities in the [Kurdistan] region … must accept the sovereign authority of the federal government on … oil exports, [as well as] security and border protection, including land and air entry points,” the unnamed Iraqi official added.

The remarks came in response to an offer for dialogue made earlier by Kurdish authorities.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has already demanded the annulment of the referendum results.

During a recent press conference in Paris, Abadi said his government did not seek confrontation with Iraqi Kurds, but reiterated Baghdad’s position that the referendum was illegal and that problems should be solved within the framework of Iraq’s constitution.
Iraqi Forces Take Control of ‘Vast’ Regions in Disputed Kirkuk
Sun Oct 15, 2017 09:56PM
presstv.ir

Iraqi forces drive towards Kurdish peshmerga positions on October 15, 2017, on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi forces say they have taken control of “vast areas” of Kirkuk following clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga forces who had occupied the oil-rich region.

The move was announced via Iraqi state TV early on Monday, shortly after reports of government forces advancing towards strategic locations such as airfields and airbases located to the west of the city.

According to Kurdish and Iraqi officials, artillery fire is being exchanged with government forces to the south of the city.

A Kurdish security official has denied that Iraqi forces were able to get closer to the city or take territory from the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Baghdad says the PKK militants were among Kurdish forces in a standoff with the Iraqi army in Kirkuk.

The televised report noted that the orders for the military "to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with the population and the Peshmerga" had been given by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The developments occurred several hours after Iraq’s central government accused Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities of bringing militants from Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to the Kirkuk, saying it considered the move as a "declaration of war."

The Iraqi government has announced that it will impose its authority over Kirkuk and other disputed areas.

The statement came just hours before the expiry of a deadline for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to withdraw from strategic areas in Kirkuk.

US calls for de-escalation of situation

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has called on Iraqi and Kurdish forces to "avoid escalatory actions" and revert to negotiations to defuse tensions and solve their problems.

"We oppose violence from any party, and urge against destabilizing actions that distract from the fight against Daesh and further undermine Iraq's stability," said Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Seal.

"We continue to support a unified Iraq…Despite the Kurdistan Regional Government's unfortunate decision to pursue a unilateral referendum, dialogue remains the best option to defuse ongoing tensions and longstanding issues, in accordance with the Iraqi constitution," she added.

The latest incidents come amid simmering tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over a recent controversial referendum on the secession of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region.

The plebiscite took place on September 25, sparking strong objection from Baghdad. Iraq’s neighbors and the international community also voiced concerns about the repercussions of the vote, which was only supported by Israel.

Kirkuk, with some 10 percent of Iraq’s oil reserves, has long been contested by Baghdad and Erbil.
Iraqi Government: PKK Presence in Kirkuk Amounts to Declaration of War
Sun Oct 15, 2017 06:30PM
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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand on the rooftop of a building on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk, October 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Iraqi government has accused authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of bringing militants from Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to the disputed oil province of Kirkuk, saying it considered the move as a "declaration of war."

Iraq's National Security Council, headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, said in a statement on Sunday that the presence of "fighters not belonging to the regular security forces in Kirkuk" was a "dangerous escalation."

"It is impossible to remain silent" when faced with "a declaration of war towards Iraqis and government forces," the statement said, adding, "The central government and regular forces will carry out their duty of defending the Iraqi people in all its components including the Kurds, and of defending Iraq's sovereignty and unity."

The Iraqi government has said that it will seek to impose its authority over Kirkuk and other disputed areas.

The statement came just hours before the expiry of a deadline for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to withdraw from strategic areas in Kirkuk.

Iraqi soldiers stand next to vehicles mounted with rocket launchers heading to Kurdish Peshmerga positions on October 15, 2017, on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk. (Photo by AFP)
Kurdish fighters have already rejected a call from the Iraqi government forces to withdraw from a strategic location in Kirkuk’s southern region. Earlier on Sunday, a Kurdish security official announced that Peshmerga fighters had not withdrawn from a key junction south of Kirkuk.

Peshmerga forces moved into Kirkuk in 2014, when Daesh Takfiri terrorist group launched an offensive across Iraq.

Iraqi Kurds deny presence of PKK militants

Later on Sunday, Kurdish Iraqi officials denied that any PKK militants were present in Kirkuk.

"There are no PKK forces in Kirkuk, but there are some volunteers who sympathize with the PKK," said General Jabar Yawer, the secretary general of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga Ministry.

Tensions have been simmering between the central government in Baghdad and the KRG over a recent controversial referendum on the secession of the region.

The plebiscite took place on September 25, drawing strong objection from Baghdad. Iraq’s neighbors and the international community also voiced concern about the repercussions of the vote, which was only supported by Israel.

On Sunday, Kurdish leaders dismissed the Iraqi government’s demand that the KRG annul the results of last month’s independence referendum.
Imperialists Rationalize Continuing Iraq Occupation Despite a Quarter Century of Repeated Failures
Why the United States Should Not Leave

By Emma Sky
Foreign Policy

PANW Editor's Note: This convoluted report represents the complete intellectual bankruptcy of imperialism in relationship to the situation in the Middle East. After repeated wars and occupations since 1990-91, the United States imperialists through successive administrations have brought about the deaths of several million people and the displacement of millions more. The article below provides a glimpse into why the Pentagon will suffer a total military defeat in the region before it can bring itself to make a complete withdrawal.
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In July 2017, Iraqi soldiers, backed by U.S. air strikes, liberated Mosul, the city where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), had declared a caliphate just three years before. It was a hard-won victory. For nine grueling months, Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service, an elite group of U.S.- trained forces, suffered heavy losses as they fought street by street to uproot ISIS fighters, who used the local population as human shields. Thousands of civilians were killed, and a million or so were displaced from their homes. Mosul’s historic monuments have been destroyed. And the city’s infrastructure lies in tatters.

But there is also much to celebrate. The liberation of Mosul ended a reign of terror that saw children brainwashed in schools, smokers publicly flogged, Yazidi women reduced to sex slaves, and gay men thrown from rooftops. The victory also struck a devastating blow to ISIS, killing thousands of its fighters, shrinking its resources, crushing its organizational capacity, and diminishing its global appeal.

With a military victory in hand, U.S. President Donald Trump might want to declare “mission accomplished” and seek a hasty exit from Iraq. Fourteen years after the U.S. invasion, that choice is no doubt tempting. But making it would be a dangerous mistake.

As much as Trump and other Americans may wish to end any involvement, what happens in Iraq does not stay in Iraq. ISIS has lost most of the territory it controlled in the country and is severely weakened as an organization, but the group retains the capacity to conduct attacks internationally. And U.S. support is still needed to strengthen the Iraqi state and to discourage other countries in the region from filling the power vacuum. The collapse of Iraq was instrumental in the unraveling of regional order; its stability is key to restoring a balance of power.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

In March 2003, the United States invaded Iraq on the assumption (which later proved incorrect) that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. Military success was quick—the U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam’s government within a few weeks—but political success proved more elusive. In 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority dismissed Iraqi civil servants and dissolved the security forces. These decisions led to the collapse of the state and civil war, which allowed al Qaeda in Iraq to gain a foothold and Iran to expand its influence. During U.S. President George W. Bush’s second term, however, the United States managed to reverse a seemingly bleak prognosis. The surge of additional U.S. troops into the country in 2007, combined with the cooperation of Sunni tribes (the so-called Sunni Awakening), dramatically reduced sectarian violence and brought about the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq.

When U.S. President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, both the Americans and the Iraqis believed that the sectarian civil war was over and that the country was finally on the right track. But rather than capitalizing on these successes to cajole Iraqi politicians toward compromise, the Obama administration disengaged. The 2010 Iraqi election marked an inflection point. When Iraqiya, the nationalist, nonsectarian political party led by Ayad Allawi, narrowly defeated the Dawa Party, led by Nouri al-Maliki, the incumbent prime minister, the Obama administration failed to uphold the right of the winning bloc to have the first go at forming a government. Instead, it signaled its desire to keep Maliki in power, despite the stipulations of the Iraqi constitution and the objections of Iraqi politicians.

The Obama administration insisted that Maliki was an Iraqi nationalist and a friend of the United States. But in reality, the decision to keep him in place played into the hands of Iran. Tehran pressured the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, one of Maliki’s most outspoken foes, to align his powerful political bloc with Maliki’s coalition, a move that was instrumental in securing another term for the prime minister. In exchange for Iran’s help in forging the alliance with Sadr, Maliki agreed to ensure the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by 2011, when the status-of-forces agreement between the two countries was set to expire.

Instead of marking the peaceful transition of power in a new democratic system, the 2010 election undermined confidence that change could come about through politics. Secure in his seat for a second term, Maliki reneged on his promises to the Sunni Awakening. He labeled Sunni politicians as “terrorists,” driving them out of the political process, and he ordered the security forces to violently crush Sunni dissent. In so doing, Maliki created conditions that allowed a new group to rise up out of the ashes of al Qaeda in Iraq. ISIS, as it came to be known, proclaimed itself the defender of Sunnis against Maliki’s regime. Feeling betrayed and discriminated against by the government, many Sunnis determined that ISIS was the lesser of two evils.

Maliki further undermined Iraq’s fledgling democratic institutions by politicizing them. These moves were particularly damaging to the military, where Maliki replaced many effective Iraqi security forces commanders—whom he regarded as too close to the Americans—with loyalists.

The Obama administration’s decision to disengage from Iraq ultimately brought about conditions that required it to reengage. The Obama administration’s decision to disengage from Iraq ultimately brought about conditions that required it to reengage. By 2014, ISIS had taken control of a third of the country, and the Iraqi army—trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of billions of dollars—had disintegrated, leaving behind its U.S.-supplied equipment for ISIS to capture. Confronted with a well-armed terrorist group and a weak state whose army had collapsed, the Obama administration withdrew its support from Maliki and demanded that he be replaced before once again dispatching U.S. forces to Iraq.

MAPPING THE POLITICAL FIELD

Now, with ISIS unseated from Mosul and the 2018 elections on the horizon, Iraq has reached another inflection point. The current fragmentation of Iraq’s political landscape provides a chance for meaningful cross-sectarian coalition building. But there is also a risk that other countries in the region might seize the opportunity to increase their influence as Iraqi politicians compete with one another for power.

Maliki’s replacement as prime minister, Haider al-Abadi has sought to balance American and Iranian support and has tried to remain neutral in regional power struggles. He has also adopted a much more inclusive approach to domestic politics. To stay in power, he might form political alliances with a range of factions. One potential ally is Sadr, who has already announced his intention to form a political alliance with Allawi, the politician whose coalition defeated Maliki in 2010. Abadi may also find allies among Shiite Islamist political parties, such as the newly formed al-Hikma group, led by Ammar al-Hakim. The recent victory against ISIS has strengthened Abadi’s position, but he still needs to build up his own power base.

Abadi also faces strong competition. Still smarting from being deposed, Maliki is constantly working to undermine Abadi and advance his anti-American and pro-Iranian agenda. Another key player is Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of the Badr Organization, a Shiite militia–cum–political party intent on deepening Iraq’s ties to Iran and attacking secular activists.

Sunni leaders, meanwhile, remain divided and disgraced, and the old guard has been unwilling to step aside to allow a younger generation of politicians to emerge. Shiite leaders accuse the Sunnis of being beholden to neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey—a fear stoked by the Sunnis’ habit of holding political conferences abroad. Further complicating reconciliation is the desire for revenge against those who collaborated with ISIS and a widespread suspicion that many Sunnis initially welcomed ISIS into their cities.

THE KURDISH QUESTION

The Kurds, in contrast, find themselves in a stronger position, which they hope to leverage in their bid for independence. Kurdish ambitions for statehood date back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when the imperial powers drew new borders in the Middle East. Despite promises to the contrary, the Kurds did not receive a country; instead, their lands were incorporated into Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

But over the last few years, their situation has changed. During the campaign against ISIS, the Iraqi Kurds received weapons directly from the international community (rather than through Baghdad), and they were able to extend the territory under their control to include the multiethnic and oil-rich city of Kirkuk. These developments generated momentum, which led Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, to schedule a referendum on independence for September 25, 2017.

To achieve independence, however, the Kurds must surmount numerous obstacles, both internal and external. Iran and Turkey both strongly objected to the referendum out of the fear that it might strengthen the Kurdish secessionist movements in their respective countries. The United States also continues to support a unified Iraq, and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushed the Kurds to postpone their referendum. Meanwhile, Barzani faces challenges at home, as well. He has overstayed his legally mandated term as president, and young Kurds in particular have grown increasingly critical of his government’s corruption and mismanagement. To make matters worse, low oil prices and ongoing disputes with Baghdad have left the salaries of many Iraqi Kurds unpaid and lowered the standard of living.

THE VIEW FROM TEHRAN

In Iraq, domestic political dynamics are inextricably linked to circumstances beyond the country’s borders. Concern about the level of Iranian influence is particularly widespread. During the campaign to defeat ISIS, Iran not only provided military advisers; it also supported certain Shiite militias, which it wants to maintain in order to extend its political influence in Baghdad and secure the land route from Iran to Lebanon.

In Iraq, domestic political dynamics are inextricably linked to circumstances beyond the country’s borders.

These Iranian-backed militias are part of the so-called Popular Mobilization Units, which were formed in response to the 2014 fatwa of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that called on Iraqis to rise up to defend their country against ISIS. Because of their role in preventing ISIS from marching on Baghdad, the Popular Mobilization Units enjoy wide support on the Shiite street, and some of their leaders are now looking to convert their military successes into political power. But these militias undermine the legitimacy of the state; their continued presence keeps Iraq from becoming strong enough to push back against Iranian influence. And widely disseminated reports of the torture and murder of ISIS suspects at their hands have instilled fear among the Sunni population.

Despite having welcomed Tehran’s support in the past, the Iraqi leadership is now taking steps to balance Iranian influence by making significant overtures to Saudi Arabia. In February 2017, Adel al-Jubeir became the first Saudi foreign minister to visit Baghdad since Iraq and Saudi Arabia cut ties in 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait. Later in 2017, Abadi and Qassim al-Araji, Iraq’s interior minister, each paid separate visits to Riyadh. Even Sadr, a Shiite cleric, visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in August 2017, where he presented himself as an Arab and Iraqi nationalist, thus poking Iran in the eye.

For now, however, Tehran still has the upper hand. Iran has taken advantage of Iraq’s volatility to cultivate clients in Baghdad and establish land corridors to the Mediterranean Sea. These moves are not simply about resupplying Shiite militias such as Hezbollah or evading sanctions by establishing a presence beyond Iran’s official borders. They are also a reflection of Tehran’s ambition to extend its sphere of influence and create strategic depth. Iran is now the external power with the most influence in both Iraq and Syria. Left unchecked, this could lead not just to an Iranian-Saudi confrontation but to an Iranian-Israeli one as well. Increased Iranian power in the region exacerbates Israel’s fear that destructive weapons in Syria might fall into the hands of its enemies, many of whom are supported by Tehran. Already, Israel has launched strikes against several Syrian military bases that are known to produce chemical weapons and other sophisticated tools of war.

DÉJÀ VU

So what should Washington do? Both Bush and Obama made disastrous decisions on Iraq during their first terms. It was only in their second terms that they came up with sensible policies to address their mistakes. These initial missteps cost the United States influence and credibility. But given the importance of U.S. military support in the fight against ISIS, Washington has new leverage, and it should take care not to squander it. The defeat of ISIS in Mosul should not lull the Trump administration into a false sense of security. As the past decade and a half have made clear, nothing in Iraq is irreversible.

That includes Iranian gains. To reverse those, Iraqi politicians will have to reach an agreement on politically sensitive questions such as the nature of governance and resource distribution in order make the central government less vulnerable to external meddling. This, in turn, will require a commitment to strengthening institutions, imposing the rule of law, and cracking down on corruption. (Iraq ranks 166th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.)

The United States can help. But doing so would require it to view its national interests in Iraq through a wider lens than simply counterterrorism. This would entail sustained support for Iraqi institutions and a greater commitment to pushing back against Iranian expansionism, which is in itself one of the factors that rallies Sunni extremists.

In terms of Iraqi institutions, the United States should prioritize providing security assistance to the security forces and intelligence services that have proved themselves in the rollback of ISIS. Support for the Counter Terrorism Service has arguably been the most successful U.S. initiative in Iraq since 2003. Composed of Iraqis of all different backgrounds, the Counter Terrorism Service maintained morale and cohesion despite enduring heavy losses in the brutal battle to liberate Mosul. U.S. support for these forces should be continued and reinforced.

To secure the recent military gains, the United States should also help build the capacity of Iraqi battalions to control the western desert between Iraq and Syria and help bolster Iraq’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. To increase the legitimacy of the state, Washington should advise security-sector reform, including bringing militias supportive of the state into the fold of the Iraqi security forces—while disarming, demobilizing, and reintegrating into Iraqi society those loyal to Iran.

All this assistance need not entail thorny negotiations; nor would such support require U.S. bases or combat forces. The United States can work toward these goals with advisers and trainers under the terms of the existing Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq.

The United States must also develop a clear Kurdish policy. If separation is to occur—whether in the form of confederation or independence—the process should be negotiated between Baghdad and Erbil, endorsed by neighboring countries, and recognized by the international community. Either way, the United States should support the revitalization of the UN’s efforts to determine, district by district, the border between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. This process should also consider granting Kirkuk special status in recognition of its diverse population, contested history, and oil wealth. No Iraqi prime minister can afford to lose Kirkuk. International mediation could help broker a compromise.

While the negotiations are ongoing, Washington should help reduce the risk of conflict between Arabs and Kurds. In 2009, during another period of heightened tensions, the U.S. military facilitated cooperation between the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish peshmerga in the disputed territories. Going forward, the United States should again help the Iraqis coordinate among the different security forces active in the area, which now also include the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK (the Turkish Kurdish guerrilla group), and the Popular Mobilization Units. And when approaching the Kurdish question, Washington must remain mindful of Turkey’s concerns in order to alleviate the risk that Turkish forces will intervene in northeastern Syria or that Turkey will gravitate toward Iran and Russia.

No plan for Iraq is complete without taking into account the regional context. Building on Iraq’s improving relations with Sunni countries, the United States needs to encourage Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to support Abadi’s government by investing in the reconstruction of Mosul and other areas devastated by ISIS. Mosul was once renowned across the region as a cosmopolitan city, with an excellent university, a successful merchant class, and a diverse population of Arabs, Christians, Kurds, Shabaks, Turkmen, and Yazidis. Its reconstruction would restore pride and provide young Iraqis with opportunities to live for rather than dystopian causes to die for. Such assistance, provided through the Iraqi government, would help balance Iranian influence and give Iraqi Sunnis hope for a better future.

Many of Trump’s aides have considerable experience with Iraq, including James Mattis, his secretary of defense; H. R. McMaster, his national security adviser; and John Kelly, his chief of staff. One can hope that Trump’s advisers might push him to select the least bad options from the choices available. But implementing the resulting policies would require a skillful secretary of state supported by a strong State Department. And at the moment, the State Department lacks the resources to play that crucial role.

The Trump administration should learn from the mistakes of the past. At the end of the day, ISIS is not the cause of Iraq’s problems but a symptom of failed governance. And if the United States disengages now, Trump’s successor may have to put American boots on the ground yet again, to fight the son of ISIS.∂