’Tumor’ of Israel will soon be destroyed: Ahmadinejad

Updated 18 August 2012

’Tumor’ of Israel will soon be destroyed: Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN: Israel is a “cancerous tumor” that will soon be finished off, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday told demonstrators holding an annual protest against the existence of the Jewish state.
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel’s existence) will repeat,” he said in a speech in Tehran marking Iran’s Quds Day that was broadcast on state television.
“The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists,” he said.
The diatribe took place amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
The Jewish state has in recent weeks intensified its threats to possibly bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent it having the capability to produce atomic weapons.
Iran, which is suffering under severe Western sanctions, denies its nuclear program is anything but peaceful. Its military has warned it will destroy Israel if it attacks.
State television showed crowds marching under blazing sunshine in Tehran and other Iranian cities to mark Quds Days, whose name, derived from Arabic, designates the city of Jerusalem, the disputed future capital of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Demonstrators held up Palestinian flags and pictures of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and banners reading “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” A group in Tehran was shown burning an Israeli flag.
The marches have been an annual event during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Iran, ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
They underline Iran’s antipathy to Israel and its ally the United States, and support for the Palestinian cause, which Khamenei on Wednesday called “a religious duty.”
The supreme leader described Israel as a “bogus and fake Zionist outgrowth” in the Middle East that “will disappear.”
The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told the Fars news agency as he attended the Tehran rally that “the Iranian nation has always been at the forefront of the (regional anti-Israeli) resistance in showing its animosity with Israel.”
He added that Iran intended to maintain that virulent stance.
Ahmadinejad, in his speech, claimed that “Zionists” triggered the first and second world wars, and had “taken control over world affairs since the moment they became dominant over the US government.”
He asserted that major governments, banks and media were in thrall to a Zionist cabal whose aim was to “destroy the cultures, values and sovereignty of nations.”
Ahmadinejad’s past broadsides against Israel and its Jewish supports, and his denial that the Holocaust occurred, have earned him opprobrium from Western and other nations, and walk-outs during his addresses to the UN General Assembly.
Israel has been employing its own invective against Iran and its leaders, invoking the image of Hitler and the Nazis on the eve of World War II and accusing Tehran of being bent on Israeli genocide.

 


Iraqi PM tightens government grip on country’s armed factions

Updated 17 September 2019

Iraqi PM tightens government grip on country’s armed factions

  • The increasingly strained relations between the US and Iran in the region is casting a large shadow over Iraq

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is putting increased pressure on the nation’s armed factions, including Shiite-dominated paramilitary troops and Kurdish guerrillas, in an attempt to tighten his control over them, Iraqi military commanders and analysts said on Monday.

Military commanders have been stripped of some of their most important powers as part of the efforts to prevent them from being drawn into local or regional conflicts.

The increasingly strained relations between the US and Iran in the region is casting a large shadow over Iraq. 

Each side has dozens of allied armed groups in the country, which has been one of the biggest battlegrounds for the two countries since 2003. 

Attempting to control these armed factions and military leaders is one of the biggest challenges facing the Iraqi government as it works to keep the country out of the conflict.

On Sunday, Abdul Mahdi dissolved the leadership of the joint military operations. 

They will be replaced by a new one, under his chairmanship, that includes representatives of the ministries of defense and interior, the military and security services, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Ministry of Peshmerga, which controls the military forces of the autonomous Kurdistan region.

According to the prime minister’s decree, the main tasks of the new command structure are to “lead and manage joint operations at the strategic and operational level,” “repel all internal and external threats and dangers as directed by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces,” “manage and coordinate the intelligence work of all intelligence and security agencies,” and “coordinate with international bodies that support Iraq in the areas of training and logistical and air support.”

“This decree will significantly and effectively contribute to controlling the activities of all combat troops, not just the PMU,” said a senior military commander, who declined to be named. 

“This will block any troops associated with any local political party, regional or international” in an attempt to ensure troops serve only the government’s goals and the good of the country. 

“This is explicit and unequivocal,” he added.

Since 2003, the political process in Iraq has been based on political power-sharing system. This means that each parliamentary bloc gets a share of top government positions, including the military, proportionate to its number of seats in Parliament. Iran, the US and a number of regional countries secure their interests and ensure influence by supporting Iraqi political factions financially and morally.

This influence has been reflected in the loyalties and performance of the majority of Iraqi officials appointed by local, regional and international parties, including the commanders of combat troops.

To ensure more government control, the decree also stripped the ministers of defense and interior, and leaders of the counterterrorism, intelligence and national security authorities, and the PMU, from appointing, promoting or transferring commanders. This power is now held exclusively by Abdul Mahdi.

“The decree is theoretically positive as it will prevent local, regional and international parties from controlling the commanders,” said another military commander. 

“This means that Abdul Mahdi will be responsible to everyone inside and outside Iraq for the movement of these forces and their activities.

“The question now is whether Abdul Mahdi will actually be able to implement these instructions or will it be, like others, just ink on paper?”

The PMU is a government umbrella organization established by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki in June 2014 to encompass the armed factions and volunteers who fought Daesh alongside the Iraqi government. Iranian-backed factions such as Badr Organization, Asaib Ahl Al-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah represent the backbone of the forces.

The US, one of Iraq’s most important allies in the region and the world, believes Iran is using its influence within the PMU to destabilize and threaten Iraq and the region. Abdul Mahdi is under huge external and internal pressure to abolish the PMU and demobilize its fighters, who do not report or answer to the Iraqi government.

The prime minister aims to ease tensions between the playmakers in Iraq, especially the US and Iran, by preventing their allies from clashing on the ground or striking against each other’s interests.

“Abdul Mahdi seeks to satisfy Washington and reassure them that the (armed) factions of the PMU will not move against the will of the Iraqi government,” said Abdullwahid Tuama, an Iraqi analyst.

The prime minister is attempting a tricky balancing act by aiming to protect the PMU, satisfy the Iranians and prove to the Americans that no one is outside the authority of the state, he added.