Iraq once again becomes the battlefield in the confrontation between Iran and the United States-Israel axis. Iranian ballistic missiles hit the “Mossad headquarters” in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, which was “destroyed” according to a statement from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IGRC) who claimed responsibility for the action, claiming that they had also attacked the bases of the Islamic State in northern Syria and describing the attack as “a response to the recent evil acts of the Zionist regime in martyring IGRC and resistance commanders.”
A clear reference to the assassination in Syria at Christmas of the Iranian general Razi Mousavi, and following the killings carried out by the Israelis in Lebanon of the number two of Hamas Saleh al-Arouri and the Hezbollah commander Wissam al-Tawil but also to the incursion American at the headquarters of the pro-Iranian militias in Baghdad in early January. “We assure our nation that the offensive operations of the Guardians will continue until the last drops of blood of the martyrs are avenged.”
The Islamic State is listed as the perpetrator of the attack in Kerman of last January 3rd, which cost the lives of over 90 people during the celebrations for the fourth anniversary of the killing of General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad: on January 4th a statement from the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack attributed to two of its suicide bombers but Tehran has always defined the IS attackers as the perpetrators of the massacre on behalf of the Israeli and US instigators.
As for the missiles that hit in Syrian territory, “the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps identified the gathering places of the commanders and the main elements linked to the recent terrorist operations, in particular ISIS, in the occupied territories of Syria and destroyed them by firing a certain number of ballistic missiles” we read in the Iranian media.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said today that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan were conducted “with the aim of defending Iran’s autonomy, sovereignty and security.” The commander of the aerospace force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh (in the opening photo), revealed to the Tasnim news agency some details of the missile operation.
The footage of General’s telephone conversation with the head of the IRGC reveals that 4 missiles were used ballistics Kheibar Shekan (1,450 kilometer range – pictured below) launched from Khuzestan province against terrorist targets in Idlib, Syria. The commander added that four more missiles fired from Kermanshah and seven missiles fired from West Azarbaijan province rained down on the Zionist base in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
The government of Iraq, which in recent days had harshly condemned the raid by a US drone on the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization Forces which caused three deaths, today condemned the Iranian attacks using the same tones, denouncing “the attack on its sovereignty ” and ensuring that it will take legal measures, including filing a complaint with the United Nations Security Council.
The US State Department condemned the attacks near Erbil, calling them “reckless”, but officials said no American facilities were targeted and there were no American casualties. “We monitored missiles that impacted northern Iraq and northern Syria. No U.S. personnel or facilities were targeted,” Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the situation, but the early indications are that this was a series of reckless and imprecise attacks,” she said, adding: “The United States supports the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq”.
The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has denounced the Iranian attack carried out with at least 10 ballistic missiles, in which at least 4 civilians died and 17 were injured, calling it a “crime”. Iraqi national security adviser Qassem al Araji called Iran’s accusation that it struck an Israeli intelligence base in Erbil “false”. “Regarding the alleged presence of an Israeli Mossad headquarters, we visited the house, we inspected every corner of it and everything indicated that it was the family home of an Iraqi businessman,” Araji told the television station Kurdish K24 after visiting the affected building. “These accusations are false and erroneous, added Araji, who was tasked by the Baghdad government with investigating the Iranian attacks
“The Iraqi businessman” was the Kurdish billionaire Peshraw Dizayee, apparently killed along with several members of his family. Dizayee (on the right in the photo above), was close to the Barzani clan in power in Iraqi Kurdistan, owned the Empire and Falcon Group companies active in the real estate and oil sectors and was considered close to the Mossad. Iranian ballistic missiles also hit the home of a senior Kurdish intelligence official and a Kurdish intelligence center.
In Syria, pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias attacked the American base at the Conoco oil field with rockets, which had already been hit previously. A statement claiming responsibility declared that the attack was conducted “in response to the recent events of violence perpetrated by the Zionist entity in the Gaza Strip”.
It must be remembered that US military presence in Syria has no legal justification since the Damascus government has never invited American troops which it considers “invaders” and no UN resolution has ever authorized the US to violate Syrian territory where less than 2 thousand soldiers support the Kurdish-Arab militias of the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State but above all they prevent Bashar Assad’s government from regaining control of the oil wells in the eastern regions.
On the “Red Sea front”, Yahiya Sarie, spokesperson for the Houthi militias defined the response to the US and British attacks in Yemen as “inevitable”. “The Houthi naval forces carried out a military operation targeting an American ship (in the Gulf of Aden with a series of naval missiles that hit the target directly and accurately. The Yemeni armed forces consider all boats and ships to be American and British war participating in the aggression against our country as hostile targets,” the statement read.
In reality, the merchant ship attacked, which according to military sources from the US Central Command did not suffer serious damage and had no casualties on board, flies the flag of the Marshall Islands but is owned by the United States.
“The response to the US and British attacks is inevitable. Each new attack will not go unanswered. The Houthi militia (in the map below, in green, the territories they control in Yemen – Editor’s note) continues to carry out its military operations to prevent Israeli navigation in the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea, until the aggression ceases and the siege of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip will not be lifted,” Sarie added.
The New York Times, citing anonymous US intelligence officials, writes that there is no “direct evidence” demonstrating Tehran’s participation behind the attacks against merchant ships transiting the Red Sea: “The aim of the Iranian perpetrators is reads in the article – is to find a way to strike Israel and the United States without starting the kind of war that Iran wants to avoid.” However, “there is no direct evidence linking senior Iranian leaders – neither the commander of the elite Quds Force nor the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – to the recent Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.”
The crisis is having a strong impact on the global economy. It not only affects the Israeli one (-85% of goods traffic in the Israeli port of Eliat, on the Red Sea) but is paralyzing the Suez Canal through which 12% of global maritime trade passes. This situation risks generating an increase in inflation, as JP Morgan already warned last Friday. In addition to increasing the price of oil and natural gas, and therefore of primary goods, container shipping rates are rising on the main global trade routes, between Asia and Europe and between Asia and the Americas. The cost of Indian exports alone has more than doubled.
Photo: Mahmood Hossein/ Tasnim, Iranmedia e Kurdistan 24
Map: Luca Gabella
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