Iran’s ongoing resistance to US imperialism and its regional attack dogs (Israel and Saudi Arabia) drew the ire (and the fire) of former president Donald Trump, and now his successor Joe Biden is faithfully following suit.
In response to Iranian support for Syria’s president Bashir al-Assad against external western intervention, and for the popular resistance in Yemen in defiance of the western-armed Saudi coalition, America’s rulers are becoming increasingly bellicose.
More websites seized by the Department of Justice
The latest episode of this saga is the seizure of 36 website domains by the Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DoJ). The domains in question belong to several broadcasters and news outlets that the US claims are connected to Iranian ‘disinformation’ efforts.
Among those targeted are Iran’s PressTV and al-Masirah TV, the latter being owned by Yemeni resistance group Ansarullah. Similarly targeted is the Kata’ib Hezbollah group that played a key role in liberating Iraq from the grasp of Islamic State.
The DoJ, without any evidence, asserts that “components of the government of Iran, disguised as news organisations or media outlets, targeted the United States to subvert US democratic processes”.
After the seizure of their web domains, these outlets became inaccessible worldwide, with a visit to any of the sites bringing up a graphic with the headline: “This website has been seized,” and a message declaring that the domain has been taken offline as a result of a “seizure warrant”.
The targeted broadcasters and news outlets are all part of the middle-eastern axis of resistance. They share an anti-imperialist stance that exposes US foreign policy and exposes the death, starvation and suffering it has inflicted upon the people of the region via endless wars and sanctions. The US is therefore sending a clear message that anyone who challenges its official narrative will find themselves targeted.
It should come as no great surprise that President Biden’s move follows that of his predecessor, Donald Trump. In 2020, the DoJ seized dozens of domain names it claimed were being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for the purpose of a “global covert influence campaign”.
Iranian resistance to sanctions provokes US airstrikes
The timing of the latest web domain seizure was not an accident. It came just days after the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, who has already vowed to take a hardline approach to negotiations with the US. His government will refuse to discuss compliance with the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) until sanctions are lifted, he says.
Further ramping up tensions, the US has also targeted two Iranian-allied militias belonging to Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) in air strikes on the border between Syria and Iraq. The PMF is considered an integral part of Iraq’s state security, having been at the forefront of the war against Islamic State.
The Iraqi Resistance Coordination, an umbrella group that claims to represent pro-Tehran militias, said in a statement that three fighters had been killed in the strikes. A spokesperson for Kata’ib Sayid al-Shuhada pledged “open war” with America in response. Local news reports put the death toll at between four and six.
However, the move has only weakened the US’s already shaky position in Iraq. The Iraqi military condemned the attack, calling it “a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty”, and adding that the country “renews its refusal to be an arena for score-settling”.
The US has also embarrassed Iraqi prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who one day before the strikes attended a celebration of the anniversary of the creation of the PMF. Mr al-Kadhimi issued a scathing condemnation of the US attack, accompanied by a promise to “study all legal options” to try and prevent such action being repeated on Iraqi soil.
Even worse for the US is that attacks on bases that host American forces in Iraq have continued in the wake of the strikes. The US position in in the middle east is fast becoming untenable, and its headlong retreat from Afghanistan may be a sign of further defeats to come.
The election of Joe Biden has not served to camouflage the naked face of American imperialism around the world, which persists in using threats, sanctions, provocation and attacks against Iran, all the while painting that country as the aggressor. But the desperate warmongering of a declining imperial power will inevitably prove futile – the spirit of General Qasem Soleimani lives on, and the right of nations to their own peaceful and independent development will be maintained.