On the calendar January 3, the moment when the world sits at home and celebrates New Year and Christmas.

But Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and the entire Shiite world are awake today.

01:20 am - the time of the tragedy at Baghdad airport, when on January 3, 2020, an air strike from the air destroyed the car in which General Qasem Suleimani was.

Together with him, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Shiite paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah, operating in Iraq and Syria, and the founder of the Popular Mobilization Forces (pro-Iranian militias in Iraq), died.

The death of an Iranian statesman and one of the world's leading fighters against the Islamic State * caused a powerful global reaction, and on January 11, 2020, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a decree declaring January 3 World Day of Resistance.

The entire Shiite world, that very "axis of resistance", is boiling and boiling today - in Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Latin America and even in Africa.

The US and the Pentagon are awaiting retaliation, and Trump has warned Iran in advance that any strike on US targets would be followed by an immediate crushing response.

Until the strike at Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iraq does not sleep tonight: crowds of people gather in cities, who at 01:20 at night celebrate the mourning anniversary in the streets, and then march to Baghdad.

Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, commander of the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, had made a call to march a few days earlier, and by the end of the day the approximate quantitative composition of the Iranian asset in today's Iraq will be clear.

Several tens of thousands of people?

Hundreds of thousands?


And what can this "march to Baghdad" develop into?

This is the most important question today.

For example, on January 1, the Israeli TV channel @kann_news published an emergency statement: "The IDF is preparing to attack Iran, which will be carried out by Iraqi and Yemeni militias and will combine remotely controlled weapons, including missiles and drones."

The news was immediately and not without pleasure published on its official channel by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Pasdarans, as the people say).

True, five days earlier, the same IDF, through the mouth of its press secretary, Brigadier General Hedi Zilberman, vaguely commented on the information that was spread by the Iranian and Arab press that the Israeli submarine moved towards Iran: “Israeli submarines are located in different places, far and near ”.

"Far and near" was also the famous American aircraft carrier Nimitz, which patrolled the waters of the Persian Gulf.

On January 1, all Iranian newspapers, without exception, wrote that war was possible as never before and Iran was ready for it.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif: "The Islamic Republic avoids military conflict, but is ready to provide effective defense."

In general, all the parties to a possible conflict - Iran, Israel, the United States - waved to each other with the same big that they have in order to cool the mutual ardor.

But who you certainly cannot envy in this pre-war situation is the Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa al-Kazimi, who took over the leadership of the country in May of this strange 2020 and during this time managed to do a lot to bring the country to life.

Suleimani and al-Muhandis were killed on the territory of Iraq, so all the mourning movements will take place in Iraq.

There is no American embassy in Tehran, but there is one in Baghdad, and it is the simplest and happiest target for the Iranian "retaliation" to set up a storm near it or launch several missiles.

And what will fly back from an angry Trump is completely unpredictable, but predictable - where: yes, to Iraq.

Trump could close the embassy, ​​withdraw the American group and leave al-Kazimi alone with the Iranians.

Can launch airstrikes against Iraq.

It can manage to accuse Iraq of aiding terrorists and sanction it according to the Iranian or Syrian type, and then Iraq will have no choice but to enter the financial union already concluded by Syria and Iran with the creation of its own internal SWIFT.

To gallery page

Perhaps it would be a good Christmas present for Iran, as its relations with Iraq, a strategic partner in the region, have seriously deteriorated over the past year.

Taking advantage of the pandemic, al-Kazimi closed the borders with Iran for annual pilgrimages (and for everything else that entered Iraq under the guise of pilgrims).

Despite the fact that 30% of Iraq's daily electricity demand is provided by Iran, Baghdad, taking advantage of a new series of US banking sanctions against Iranian banks, has frozen all Iranian money in its own banks and vaguely answered about the timing of their unfreezing.

So Iraq left over $ 6 billion of Iranian money, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnaser Hemmati, has been trying to pull it out since October.

And this is all despite the fact that Iraq, according to the results of nine months of the current Iranian year, became the second most important Iranian exporter in non-oil trade ($ 5.9 billion).

But the trend, as they say, is that Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kazimi is trying to take the country out of the Iranian orbit of influence, bringing American energy companies into it and smoothly reconnecting Iraq to the Saudi power grids.

This cannot suit Tehran categorically: without Iraq, the entire Iranian strategy of entering Syria collapses, and therefore the many-thousand-strong marches across Iraq and promises of retaliation to the Americans for the deaths of Suleimani and al-Muhandis run the risk of escalating into a military conflict and making Iraq a battleground between Iran and USA.

Al-Kazimi understands this very well, which is why exactly a week ago, on Sunday, an emergency unofficial delegation from Baghdad flew to Tehran: to ensure that the mourning "anniversary" in Baghdad would pass peacefully and without incidents.

It is not known how this conversation went, but it is known that after the delegation returned to Iraq, an Iraqi court issued an arrest warrant for Abu Ali al-Askari, the chief of Hezbollah's security service.

Al Jazeera says the verdict is "unprecedented" against "Iraqi resistance forces" and is based on Article 4 of the Iraqi Terrorism Act.

In a word, the Iraqi prime minister has entered into a lion's fight with Tehran.

The day before the commencement of the mourning events, the "green zone" of Baghdad was cordoned off by the Iraqi security forces, all roads to it were closed.

No one will pass and will not pass to the US Embassy, ​​there will be no crowd trying to break through to the embassy, ​​as in December 2019.

But checkpoints cannot interfere with missiles.

  • From January 2 to 3, the "green zone" of Baghdad was cordoned off by the forces of the Iraqi anti-terrorist coalition

“No one should underestimate our ability to defend our forces or act decisively in response to any attack,” General Frank Mackenzie, commander of US forces in the Middle East, responds to Tehran.

Will it explode or not?

Tahrir Square today attracts the attention of the whole world.

There are two weeks left until the end of Trump's rule, and they will be decisive for the Middle East.

* "Islamic State" (IS) - the organization was recognized as terrorist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014.

The author's point of view may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.