In Bernie Sanders' State of Vermont, "that giant sucking sound" is not jobs moving to Mexico — it is jobs being concocted in Montpelier. Of course, Governor Scott shields illegal immigrants working in Vermont, and Vermont provides driver's licenses to them. The capital city also grants non-citizen residents the right to vote. It is no surprise that Vermont is #1 in the country for illegal northern border crossings.
Every football team in America is patting themselves on the back right now for not signing Colin Kaepernick. With so much time on his hands, Kaepernick has decided to spend it attacking the Untied States of America. Apparently, there're not enough people doing that these days.
Following President Trump's decision to take out Qasem Soleimani, Kaepernick tweeted, "[there] is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism."
America has always sanctioned and besieged Black and Brown bodies both at home and abroad. America militarism is the weapon wielded by American imperialism, to enforce its policing and plundering of the non white world.
Kaepernick feels solidarity to a murderous monster like Soleimani simply because of the terrorist's skin color. There's no telling how bad the athlete's recent tweets about the death of terrorist Qasem Soleimani would have hurt the National Football League's ratings.
Kaepernick did not play football very long, but he clearly hit his head hard enough to do some serious damage. Lucky for him, it takes very little brain power to explain everything away on account of racism.
What just happened? Why the U.S. killed an Iranian general, and what it might mean.
By JON GAMBRELL
JAN 03, 2020 |2:54 PM
|DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The U.S. airstrike that killed a prominent Iranian general in Baghdad raises tensions even higher between Tehran and Washington, after months of trading proxy attacks and threats across the wider Middle East.
How Iran will respond remains in question as well, though its supreme leader warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting" for those who killed Revolutionary Guard Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani early Friday morning. That could include anything, from challenging U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, firing ballistic missiles or deploying the asymmetrical militia forces Iran has cultivated to cover for its long-sanctioned conventional forces.
Soleimani’s death is the latest in a series of escalating incidents that traces back to President Donald Trump’s decision in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw America from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. However, overall enmity between Iran and the U.S. date back to its 1979 Islamic Revolution, as well as a 1953 U.S.-backed coup in Tehran that cemented the power of its ruling shah over an elected prime minister.
Here’s where things stand now:
The general’s killing, what happened, who died?
A U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s international airport killed Soleimani, 62, as well as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, and five others. The Defense Department said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” It also accused Soleimani of approving the protests and attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
The Popular Mobilization Forces were a U.S. partner in the fight against Islamic State, doing much of the on-the-ground combat with the Sunni jihadi group.
Months of low-level tit-for-tat
Citing an unspecified threat from Iran, the White House in May ordered a U.S. aircraft carrier to rush to the Persian Gulf. Soon after, explosions the U.S. blames on Iranian-laid mines targeted oil tankers near the crucial Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of all oil passes. Iran denied being involved, though it did seize oil tankers in response to one of its tankers being seized off Gibraltar. Iran also shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. Trump pulled back from retaliating for the attack.
Meanwhile, attacks on Saudi Arabia’s energy industry escalated to a missile-and-drone strike in September temporarily halving its oil production.
Israel meanwhile has repeatedly struck Iran-linked targets in Syria in recent years and has warned against any permanent Iranian presence on the frontier. The attacks culminated with American airstrikes hitting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and those militiamen attacking the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
The abrogated nuclear deal
Tensions began to spike after Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw America from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. The 2015 accord saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump re-imposed American sanctions and levied even harsher ones, crippling its crucial oil industry.
Iran initially proposed a policy called “strategic patience,” hoping to wait Trump out. But as Europe largely hasn’t been able to offer Tehran a way around American sanctions, so Iran has begun taking steps away from the busted deal. That has included breaking enrichment, stockpile and centrifuge limitations, as well as restarting its program at an underground facility. Tehran appears poised to take a new step away from the deal beginning from Sunday.
How could Iran retaliate?
Iran's conventional military force is limited. The backbone of its air power remains pre-revolution American F-4s, F-5s and F-14s, with a mix of other Soviet, French and aging aircraft. That fleet is outgunned by the modern U.S.-supplied fighter jets flown by Israel and the Gulf Arab states.
To counter that, Iran has put much of its money toward developing a ballistic missile program operated by the Guard. Iran could fall back on its regional militant allies or proxies to launch an attack, like Iraqi militiamen, Lebanon’s Hezbollah or Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are fighting in a war against Saudi Arabia, which is enabled by the U.S., described as genocidal by human rights observers. The U.S. has blamed car bombs and kidnappings never claimed by Iran on Tehran as well.
The Guard also routinely harasses U.S. Navy vessels in Persian Gulf and surrounding waterways, while Iran has surface-to-sea missile batteries along its coast as well.
The sprawled American military presence in the Middle East
The Persian Gulf hosts a series of major American military installations:
-The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which oversees the region, is based in Bahrain, an island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that is home to over 7,000 American troops.
-Kuwait hosts over 13,000 American troops and the U.S. Army’s Central forward headquarters.
-Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is the largest port of call for the U.S. Navy outside of America.
-The UAE hosts 5,000 U.S. military personnel, many at Abu Dhabi’s Al-Dhafra Air Base, where American drones and advanced F-35 jetfighters are stationed.
-The forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command is at Qatar’s sprawling Al-Udeid Air Base, home to some 10,000 American troops.
-In Oman, the sultanate allows thousands of overflights and hundreds of landings a year, while also granting access to ports and its bases.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Africa.
A long, bitter history
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. trace back decades. For Iranians, they point to the 1953 CIA-backed coup that toppled democratically-elected Mohammad Mosaddegh and cemented the power of the repressive Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi served as a key U.S. ally for decades after, buying billions of dollars of weapons and allowing America to spy on the Soviet Union from his country.
In the 1980s, Iran was blamed directly or indirectly for attacks on American soldiers in Lebanon and the abduction, torture and execution of the CIA station chief in Beirut. The United States sunk Iranian naval ships and mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner with hundreds of civilians aboard.
Before invading neighboring Iraq, President George W. Bush branded Iran part of the “axis of evil" — Iraq, Iran and North Korea — even though the nations are not allied and Iran and Iraq were then longtime enemies who fought a brutal war in the 80s.
Chicago Tribune staff contribut
Iraq’s Parliament calls for expulsion of U.S. military from the country
By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and BASSEM MROUE
JAN 05, 2020 |10:09 AM
Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the country Sunday in reaction to the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general, raising the prospect of a withdrawal that could allow a resurgence by Islamic State extremists.
Lawmakers approved a resolution asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces more than four years ago to help in the fight against ISIS.
The bill is subject to approval by the Iraqi government. Even then, canceling the U.S.-Iraq agreement requires giving the Americans a one-year notice for withdrawal.
But the vote was another sign of the blowback from the U.S. airstrike Friday that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a number of top Iraqi officials at the Baghdad airport. The attack has dramatically escalated regional tensions and raised fears of outright war.
Amid Iran's threats of vengeance, the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq announced Sunday it is putting the fight against Islamic State militants on hold to focus on protecting its troops and bases. The coalition said it is suspending the training of Iraqi forces and other operations in support of the battle against ISIS.
A pullout of the estimated 5,200 U.S. troops could cripple the fight against ISIS and allow it to make a comeback. It could also enable Iran to deepen its influence in Iraq.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Fox News that the parliamentary vote is “a bit concerning.”
“The Iranian government is trying to basically take over Iraq’s political system. Iran is bribing Iraqi politicians. To the Iraqi people, do not allow your politicians to turn Iraq into a proxy of Iran," he said.
The majority of about 180 legislators present in Parliament voted in favor of the resolution. It was backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.
"The government should work on ending the presence of all foreign forces," Parliament Speaker Mohamed a-Halbousi said after the vote.
Iraqi officials have decried the killing of the general a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
“The killing of Soleimani was a political assassination," outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi told Parliament, adding that the Iranian general was scheduled to meet him the next morning about relations with Saudi Arabia.
Abdul-Mahdi’s government resigned last year in response to mass protests gripping the country, and no replacement government has been forced.