CBS Passes Along Threat of Violence Against U.S. from Iraqi Politician

On Monday, CBS correspondent Roxana Saberi used Iraqi President Barham Salih to shame the United States for the military response to threats posed by Iran against U.S. forces and interests in the region. Then on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, she appeared to up the ante by passing along a threat of violence against the U.S. made by an Iraqi politician who was part of an Iranian-backed “militia.”

The threat was shared during a report about a rumor the Pentagon was working on a plan to deploy another 10,000 troops to the region. In leading into the report, fill-in anchor and chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett noted that, “The President said he doubts it will come to that, and today a stark warning: ‘Do not do it’ -- came from the Middle East.

Saberi reiterated how a “U.S. official says Iran and Iran-backed militias in Iraq are planning to target Americans” and recalled that those militias help in the fight to defeat ISIS when they stopped attacking Americans.

“Many Iraqis credit the militias with helping to defeat ISIS and with bringing peace to cities like Baghdad,” she warned. “But if this conflict spirals out of control, some of those fighters could go back to their earlier strategy and turn their guns on American troops here in Iraq. These streets would once again be a battle zone.”

 

 

Apparently, some of those militia groups transformed into political parties. Saberi spoke with a “senior leader” of one of those parties who was very open and straight forward with his threats against the U.S.:

SABERI: Some of those militias grew into political parties, like Asa'eb al-Haq. Senior member Laith al-Azari says Iran has not directed groups like his to attack Americans, but they will use force if America attacks Iran or insists on keeping its troops here.

[Translation by Saberi] He said, "The existence of any foreign troops in Iraq is a violation of our sovereignty. And if you ask what I mean by ‘force,’ I would say ask the American leaders. They know what we're capable of doing."

If America sends more troops to this region to, as they say, counter Iranian threats, the use of force is justified.

[Translation by Saberi] "We taught Americans a lesson in the past,’ he told us. ‘And if they want new lessons, we're ready for this.”

It’s been two weeks since former anchor Jeff Glor left the program and we’re already seeing his mild-manner style being done away with.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
May 23, 2019
6:37:27 p.m. Eastern

MAJOR GARRETT: Mr. Trump later met with Pentagon officials who outlined possible plans for sending more American troops to the Middle East to counter Iran. The President said he doubts it will come to that, and today a stark warning: ‘Do not do it’ -- came from the Middle East. Roxana Saberi reports from Baghdad.

[Cuts to video]

ROXANA SABERI: Days after the U.S. sent warships toward the Persian Gulf in a show of force aimed at Iran, President Trump sent a mixed message about whether the U.S. Should send more troops to the Middle East.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I don't think we'll need it, but if we need it we'll have-- we'll be there in whatever number we need.

SABERI: U.S. official says Iran and Iran-backed militias in Iraq are planning to target Americans. Several of those Iraqi militias switched from fighting American forces after the 2003 invasion, to fighting ISIS. Many Iraqis credit the militias with helping to defeat ISIS and with bringing peace to cities like Baghdad.

But if this conflict spirals out of control, some of those fighters could go back to their earlier strategy and turn their guns on American troops here in Iraq. These streets would once again be a battle zone.

Some of those militias grew into political parties, like Asa'eb al-Haq. Senior member Laith al-Azari says Iran has not directed groups like his to attack Americans, but they will use force if America attacks Iran or insists on keeping its troops here.

[Translation by Saberi] He said, "The existence of any foreign troops in Iraq is a violation of our sovereignty. And if you ask what I mean by ‘force,’ I would say ask the American leaders. They know what we're capable of doing."

If America sends more troops to this region to, as they say, counter Iranian threats, the use of force is justified.

[Translation by Saberi] "We taught Americans a lesson in the past," he told us. "And if they want new lessons, we're ready for this."

Roxana Saberi, CBS News, Baghdad.

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