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Pompeo Spreads Manure All Over Southwest Asia

Nov. 19, 2019 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared in the State Department briefing room to, to put it charitably, spread manure around the Middle East. First, on Iran, Pompeo condemned what he said were “acts of violence committed by this regime against the Iranian people and [we] are deeply concerned by reports of several fatalities” and then demanded that “The Islamic Republic must cease violence against its own people and should immediately restore the ability of all Iranians to access a free and open Internet. The world is watching.” Secondly, Pompeo announced new sanctions against Iran because of President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement, earlier this month, that Iran would begin enriching uranium at its Fordow plant as the next step in the reduction of its commitments under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which the U.S. withdrew from in May of 2018. “Iran’s most recent action is yet another clear attempt at nuclear extortion that will only deepen its political and economic isolation from the world,” Pompeo claimed.

Then turning to Iraq, Pompeo announced that the U.S. would be using its legal authorities “to sanction corrupt individuals that are stealing Iraqis’ wealth and those killing and wounding peaceful protesters.” In discussing Iraq, however, not once did Pompeo mention that more than 300 demonstrators have died in the anti-government protests that began Oct. 1, as he did with respect to Iran. Pompeo also failed to mention that the roots of the crises in both countries lay in U.S. policies in Iraq with the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation, and in Iran, with the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the reimposition of severe economic sanctions which have led to the collapse of Iran’s currency and the contraction of its economy.

To top it all off, Pompeo followed these crocodile tears for the people of Iran and Iraq with the announcement that the Trump Administration would be reversing the policy of several previous administrations to declare that “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” His arguments were based on Israeli judicial opinions and “on the unique facts, history, and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank.” In December 2016, the UN Security Council passed a resolution affirming Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation of international law.” The U.S. abstention from that vote is what Pompeo is seeking to reverse.

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