RAMIN MAZAHERI—The idea that Hassan Nasrallah, who can make a fair claim to be the most popular Muslim leader and hero in the world currently, is about to fall due to decades of corruption in Beirut is an absolute fantasy which can only be taken seriously in the West.
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MoA—After the U.S. invaded Iraq its viceroy Paul Bremer planned to install a proxy government without any elections. It was Ayatollah Sistani who prevented that when he publicly decreed that the U.S. had to let the Iraqis decide for themselves. The Marja had spoken, the U.S. had to back down and elections were held. His statement today is of similar importance and weight.
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JIM KAVANAGH—That Iran has been the ultimate target is also made clear in an exceptionally important and detailed NYT report, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran” (published before the Syria decision), which I urge everyone to read. It chronicles how “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for war against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program,” and asks “Will Trump finally deliver?” It details Benjamin Netanyahu’s obsessive “personal crusade” against Iran, and his attempts to cajole, browbeat, and bluff the US into attacking Iran for the Jewish state…
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TOM LUONGO—Trump ordering US troops out of the region put the Kurds on notice that they either make a deal with Russia and the Syrian government or get slaughtered by the Turks. That took all of a day. It also, as the great Pat Buchanan points out in his latest article, put the Saudis on notice that they no longer set US foreign policy objectives because they sell their oil in dollars and splash some money around D.C. and the media. Their bloodthirst for war with Iran can be done on their dime or not at all. The most shocking part in all of this is Trump just made the same statement to, of all people, Israel. And that’s where the highest concentration of anguish is coming from in the media and elsewhere.
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ELIJAH MAGNIER—The initial agreement between the Kurds and Damascus (via Russia) consists in the ending of the self-administration of NES, the integration of the Syrian Kurds under the command of the Syrian Army, and the pursuit and destruction of all ISIS forces. A US withdrawal from the al-Tanaf border crossing between Iraq and Syria is also expected when a solution is found for the 64,000 refugees at the Rukhba camp.