An American political expert praised a recent massive rally in Iraq against US military presence as “one of the most impressive displays of unity and support” for the Arab country’s sovereignty that delivered a strong message to Washington.
“It was one of the most impressive displays of unity and support for Iraqi sovereignty in memory that’s denied the nation and its people under US military occupation,” Chicago-based Stephen Lendman told Tasnim in an interview.
“Friday’s mass protest delivered a strong message to Washington: You’re not wanted. Get out,” the analyst added.
Stephen Lendman is a writer, syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality, and radio show host. He currently writes for MoneyNewsNow.com and VeteransToday.com and hosts, since 2007, a progressive radio show at The Progressive Radio News Hour on The Progressive Radio Network.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: Iraqi people from all walks of life took to the streets in the capital, Baghdad, on Friday for a million-man rally to call for an end to the military presence of the United States in their country. The rally was called by senior Iraqi resistance figures, a few weeks after the parliament voted to expel American troops following an illegal US airstrike in Baghdad that led to the assassination of Iranian IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the Deputy Commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. What do you think about the massive anti-US demonstration and how do you predict its outcome?
Lendman: In response to the Trump regime’s assassination of Iranian IRGC Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani and de facto Iraqi PMU head Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis rallied in Baghdad on Friday for the expulsion of US occupying forces. It was one of the most impressive displays of unity and support for Iraqi sovereignty in memory that’s denied the nation and its people under US military occupation. Iraqi men, women, youths, and children turned out en masse, calling for US forces to be expelled from the country, what Iraqi parliamentarians voted for and Prime Minister Mahdi supports. So do Popular Mobilization Forces and the vast majority of Iraqi people. Friday’s mass protest delivered a strong message to Washington: You’re not wanted. Get out.
Tasnim: As you know, the massive demonstration and the Iraqi parliament's resolution calling for the expulsion of the foreign forces from the Arab country have called into question the legitimacy of Washington’s military presence in Iraq. Do you think that the Iraqi administration would finally be forced by the people and the parliament to expel the foreign troops?
Lendman: If this spirit is maintained and resistance stays strong, US occupation of Iraq may end — but not easily, and it’s never wise to believe the US will back off from its imperial agenda. Reportedly a Trump regime Plan B aims to partition Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines, separating Al Anbar province and the Kurdish north from the rest of the country. It’s up to Iraqi ruling authorities to condemn and resist this scheme, preventing it from happening. Longstanding US/Israeli plans call for partitioning Middle East countries for easier control, notably wanting them weakened, their resources looted by corporate interests, mainly oil and gas.
Tasnim: What do you think about the impact of the US move to assassinate Lt. Gen. Soleimani and revered commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on the unity of the Iraqi people and their call for the expulsion of the American troops?
Lendman: Assassinating Soleimani and Muhandis, along with threatening other Iranian and Iraqi officials should arouse a call for sustained unity in Iran and on the Arab street against the US presence in the region. As long as its forces occupy regional countries and Washington aims to transform the ones it doesn’t control into US vassal states, endless wars and instability will continue. The only solution is unity among the people of the region against the US imperial agenda. Ordinary people have power when they use it. The spirit of Friday’s Baghdad protest shows Iraqis revile the US and want their forces expelled. Now is the time to sustain this resistance until regional peace and stability are restored.