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Trump Blackmails Iraq to Keep US Troops, Threatening to Close Their Oil Account at Fed


ECONOMIC WARFARE: The White House has now resorted to financial extortion tactics in order to maintain its 17 year-long military occupation of Iraq.

It wasn’t enough to mount drone attacks which assassinated Iraq’s military leadership, along with killing some 50 Iraqi police and soldiers in the process. Now, faced with the prospect of seeing its 5,000 troops and military personnel kicked out of Iraq, the Trump Administration has now resorted to blackmailing Baghdad by threatening to close the country’s crucial oil trading account at the US Federal Reserve. 

More than any single move, this latest episode of international racketeering demonstrates the financial power Washington has accrued in the post-World World II era, which allows the US government to subjugate its client states by gaming the global financial system – currently dominated by the fiat US dollar.

Trump’s latest provocation came just one week after the Iraqi parliament had voted to notify caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to begin the process of expelling all foreign troops from their country.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the White House warned Iraq that if it dared to kick US forces out of their country, then Washington would respond by closing down Baghdad’s access to its own dollar-denominated central banking facility located at the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York – a move which would surely trigger administrative and economic instability for Iraq.

Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed al-Halboosi outlined the risks to his country’s day-to-day operations during a floor debate on the motion, stating, “One of the steps the international community could take is to stop financial transactions with Iraq, and we would be unable to fulfill our commitments to our citizens at any moment.”

Last week, the Trump Administration also threatened Baghdad with economic sanctions as punishment should the Iraqi government proceed with ordering US troops out of their country.

The Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has stated that US troops leaving the country is the only real option remaining, following a series inflammatory standoffs which have taken place over the last two weeks, after which the US no longer ‘trusts’ his country to provide security for US troops stationed there.

Wall Street Journal reports…

The Trump administration warned Iraq this week that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out American forces following the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, according to Iraqi officials.

The State Department warned that the U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a move that could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy, the officials said.

Iraq, like other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as an important part of managing the country’s finances, including revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could restrict Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system and constricting a critical lubricant for the economy.

The prospect of U.S. sanctions against Iraq arose after the Jan. 3 U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport. The Iraqi parliament voted Sunday to urge Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to work toward the expulsion of the approximately 5,300 U.S. troops.

The economic threat is real. Similar restrictions have been imposed before, as the WSJ also points out:

The financial threat isn’t theoretical: The country’s financial system was squeezed in 2015 when the U.S. suspended access for several weeks to the central bank’s account at the New York Fed over concerns the cash was filtering through a loosely regulated market into Iranian banks and to the Islamic State extremist group.

It remains to be seen whether or not Washington and Baghdad are able to negotiate a friendly divorce settlement. The US has militarily occupied Iraq since 2003, with the latest extension granted under the guise of “fighting ISIS”, even though it was the United States who were directly responsible for the formation and proliferation of ISIS.

“Whenever you have any amicable divorce, you still have the worry about the children, pets, furniture and plants, some of which are sentimental,” remarked a senior Iraqi politician to the Wall Street Journal.

READ MORE IRAQ NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Iraq Files

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