On December 27, 2019, a number of Katyusha rockets were fired from the back of a Kia pickup truck at the K-1 airbase in Iraq which hosted both US and Iraqi forces, killing one US contractor (a spy) and injuring several Iraqis. The US blamed a faction of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Kataib Hezbollah, which it also claims is an “Iranian proxy,” for the attack.
This attack “started a dangerous spiral of events,” as The NY Times put it, which led the US to the brink of an all-out war with Iran; a series of airstrikes launched against various Iraqi military targets across the country, starting with a large US air attack targeting several PMU sites on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border hosting Iraqi fighters on the frontline of the war to eradicate remaining ISIS cells in the region, followed by several more attacks and culminating in the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of the PMU Abu al-Muhandis at the Baghdad airport, in a drone strike targeting the vehicle they were traveling in shortly after Soleimani arrived in the country on a diplomatic mission, which prompted a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on the largest US base in Iraq, the al-Asad airbase.
As it turns out, however, all the evidence points to the initial rocket attack actually being carried out by ISIS terrorists, not Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi military investigation has found, as a bombshell in-depth investigative report published by The NY Times on February 6 reveals, in a piece entitled ‘Was U.S. Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started War on Iran?’
“These facts,” Alissa Rubin writes, referring to all the evidence cited by the Iraqi side, “point to the Islamic State, Iraqi officials say.”
“All the indications are that it was Daesh,” said Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the Iraqi chief of intelligence for the federal police at K-1, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State
For the chief of staff of the Iraqi side of the base, Brig. Gen. Amer Isa Hassan, the logical conclusion was that the Islamic State was responsible.
These facts present a compelling case indeed that ISIS is the group responsible for firing these rockets. As described in The NY Times report:
The rockets were launched from a Sunni Muslim part of Kirkuk Province notorious for attacks by the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist group, which would have made the area hostile territory for a Shiite militia like Khataib Hezbollah
Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014.
The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces.
And the abandoned Kia pickup was found was less than 1,000 feet from the site of an ISIS execution in September of five Shiite buffalo herders.
The Islamic State has been increasingly active in this part of Kirkuk Province in the past year, carrying out near daily attacks with roadside bombs and ambushes using small arms.
In contrast, Kataib Hezbollah had not had any presence in the province since 2014, and Iraqi military forces don’t typically enter the area because of the high security risk posed by the presence of ISIS there.
“We as Iraqi forces cannot even come to this area unless we have a large force because it is not secure,” General Ahmed Adnan told The NY Times. “How could it be that someone who doesn’t know the area could come here and find that firing position and launch an attack?”
Furthermore, a local farmer and mayor of a small town only a mile from the launch site of the rocket attack, witnessed the Kia pickup drive into the area from “territory friendly to the Islamic State,” which traveled another half mile before parking and turning off its lights. About 30 minutes later the first of the rockets were launched from the back of pickup.
Such an attack had actually been anticipated, and didn’t come as a surprise to the Iraqis, as it was known that ISIS was seeking to gain ground near the K-1 base, and had been attempting to target the base itself for months. On November 6, Iraq’s National Security Council had sent a report to the US stating that for the past year, “ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base in Kirkuk district by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets).”
General Adnan had even warned American commanders about the possibility of an ISIS attack on the K-1 base over lunch on the very day of the attack!
The US nonetheless continues to maintain that the PMU militia carried out the attack, as it has from the beginning, citing “multiple strands of evidence indicating that Khataib Hezbollah carried it out.” US officials also blames the PMU for 11 similar previous rocket attacks on Iraqi bases carried out over the course of the year, and one official said that for over half of those attacks, it has “high confidence” Kataib Hezbollah is directly responsible.
Iraqi military personnel arrived at the attack site shortly after the barrage of rockets were fired, and carried out a preliminary investigation determining that 11 rockets had been fired, before turning the truck over to the US military, which claimed 31 rockets had been fired.
US officials claim their own investigation of the truck “yielded evidence that helped attribute the attack to Khataib Hezbollah,” while another official said they had “intercepted communications showing the group’s involvement.”
The US refused to identify specifically what it was about the truck that they claimed linked it to the Iraqi militia, and none of the alleged evidence in their possession has been shared with either the public or Iraqi investigators or officials.
Kataib Hezbollah denied any involvement in the attack, and said the US should share any evidence it has with the Iraqi side.
The former Iraqi Prime Minister’s office also requested any evidence the US had, but its request was denied.
“We have requested the American side to share with us any information, any evidence, but they have not sent us any information,” Lt. Gen. Muhammad al-Bayati, the chief of staff for former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, said in an interview.
Another oddity is that the director general of Iraqi Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Abu Ali al-Basri, was not notified of the ‘retaliatory’ strikes on PMU positions on December 29.
“They did not ask for my analysis of what happened in Kirkuk and neither did they share any of their information,” he said. “Usually, they would do both.”
Iraqi officials said that the US removal of all rocket fragments and an unexplored rocket from the pickup truck used to launch the attack made it difficult to conduct their own forensic investigation, and that it was difficult to assess the US claims without seeing their intelligence and evidence.
The US cited Iranian entrenchment within and penetration of the Iraqi government as reasons it doesn’t always share “sensitive intelligence” with the Iraqis in cases like this, for fear the Iranians will get their hands on it. How evidence taken from the Kia pickup truck which linked the rocket attack to a PMU militia would constitute “sensitive” information, is beyond me.
It seems far more likely in such a scenario that the real reason they have refused to share any information, evidence or intelligence they claim links Kataib Hezbollah to this rocket attack, is simply because they have no such evidence, and these were fabricated claims used to push a pre-planned agenda.
It wouldn’t be the first time US officials falsely claimed to have evidence in their possession indicting a pre-chosen designated ‘enemy’ as the perpetrator of what turned out to be a false flag attack carried out by their own proxies, and used to push their pre-planned agenda.
For example, in April, 2019, US officials claimed to have in their possession material evidence of Sarin gas being used in the alleged Douma chemical attack in Syria, used to blame President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) for carrying out the attack, creating the pretexts for US coalition strikes on Damascus government facilities.
As it was later revealed, however, the US had no such evidence, but had entirely fabricated the claims in order to justify the planned military reaction. No traces of Sarin were ever found at the ‘attack’ site, no US ‘evidence’ was ever handed over to the OPCW to be used in their investigation, and as it turns out, the OPCW investigation found zero evidence of any chemical attack being carried out whatsoever, as the attack itself turned out to be a complete hoax, a propaganda stunt staged by the US-funded White Helmets to garner western foreign intervention on behalf of the US-backed al-Qaeda terrorists and their moderate head-chopping rebel counterparts, which had joined forces in Douma under the banner of Jaish al-Islam.
Considering the US also has a long history of arming, actively supporting, and protecting ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, it is not unreasonable to assume that this attack was not only carried out by ISIS, but was likely also a false flag attack used as the pretext to carry out a pre-planned agenda, namely the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. After all, we now know that this assassination was carried out on behalf of Israel, which had long sought Soleimani’s death and was actively involved in the operation, and had also been planned and approved months in advance.
As summarized by Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge:
“Ultimately, the United States stood on the brink of major war with Iran which could have spiraled into a World War 3 scenario — all of which was potentially initiated by an ISIS false flag event designed to unleash more regional chaos.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that US intelligence assets have instigated a false flag attack, followed by US officials lying about possessing nonexistent evidence indicting their pre-chosen enemy target, in order to further their pre-planned geopolitical agenda abroad; and it likely won’t be the last.