Monday, December 30, 2019

US Under Barrage of Criticism Over Strikes in Iraq
Monday, 30 December 2019 12:01 PM
Press TV

The United States’ latest military aggression against Iraq's popular Hashd al-Sha'abi forces that left dozens of casualties continues to draw widespread condemnation from officials and groups across the region.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has said that the US airstrikes targeting forces that have helped defeat Daesh in Iraq are a “clear example of terrorism."

The US said Sunday it had targeted weapons caches or command and control facilities linked to Kata'ib Hezbollah in western Iraq, as well as eastern Syria.

"These attacks have once again proved America's false claims in fighting the Takfiri group of Daesh as the United States has targeted the positions of forces that over the years have inflicted heavy blows to Daesh terrorists," Mousavi said Monday.

"With these attacks, America has shown its firm support for terrorism and its disregard for the independence and sovereignty of countries and it must accept responsibility for the consequences of its illegal act," he said.

In a statement on Monday, Iraq's popular Hashd al-Sha'abi said the death toll from the US airstrikes had risen to 25, vowing to avenge the “aggression of evil American ravens.”

The attacks came after the US said a barrage of more than 30 rockets fired on Friday against a military base in Kirkuk had killed an American civilian contractor.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday accused Tehran, saying the US "will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy."

Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and President Barham Salih, strongly condemned the airstrikes. Kata'ib Hezbollah commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes warned of a strong response to the aggression.

"The blood of the martyrs will not be in vain and our response will be very tough on the American forces in Iraq," he said.

Iraq's Parliament speaker Mohammad al-Halbusi also condemned the airstrikes, saying they “indubitably constituted a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

Iran offered condolences to the families of those killed in the "terrorist attack" and reiterated its support for Iraq's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Mousavi also called on the United States to end its "occupying" presence in the region, which he called the cause of insecurity, tension and crisis.

The spokesman urged the US to "respect Iraq's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop interfering in its internal affairs."

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units say US forces attacked their base in the western Anbar province.
In Lebanon, the resistance movement of Hezbollah released a statement, saying the attacks amounted to Washington's “alignment with and reinforcement” of Daesh terrorists.

The strikes were carried out against the forces which protect Iraq’s stability and security, Hezbollah said, adding they were aimed at weakening the foundation of Iraq's popular defensive structure.

“The US plan for the Middle East is to deny regional countries, including Iraq, freedom of action, public security, genuine sovereignty, and a bright future,” the statement said.

"The Americans will soon see the consequence and fallout of their idiotic move," Hezbollah added.

Pentagon chief Mark Esper on Sunday boasted that the airstrikes were “successful” and pledged “additional actions” may still be taken in the region which is already reeling from US escalation of tensions.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext of “war on terror”, plunging the country into a cycle of violence which continues to this day.

In 2014, Iraq was invaded by Daesh as the US and its allies looked on, putting the Arab country on the brink of being overtaken by Takfiri terrorists.

Iran was the first country to rush to Iraq's assistance, famously preventing the fall of capital Baghdad to Daesh. Iranian military advisers also helped train Iraqi volunteers for battle following Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's fatwa for Jihad.

Those volunteers now constitute the backbone of popular forces such as Hashd al-Sha'abi which have formally been integrated into Iraq's regular armed forces. 

Iraqi President Barham Salih on Sunday decried the US airstrikes as unacceptable which contradicted security agreements signed between Baghdad and Washington.

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