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article imageOp-Ed: Iraq condemns US retaliatory raids as another attack hits US base

By Ken Hanly     Mar 14, 2020 in World
Barham Salih, the Iraqi president, issued a statement on Friday that angrily condemned a group of US airstrikes hitting suspected Iranian-back rebels suspected of carrying out the raids.
Iraq claims raids violate Iraqi sovereignty
Salih said the US raids amounted to serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty and could provoke dangerous consequences. Salih added that the attacks amounted to a "dangerous and deliberate weakening of it abilities especially at a time when Iraq faces unprecedented challenges". Iraq is in political crisis right now which is why the president rather than the Prime Minister(PM) made the announcement. There is no PM as the acting PM resigned in recent weeks and the PM-designate has resigned as he lacks sufficient political support from lawmakers and protesters.
US narrative describes attacks as on terrorist bases
The US air attacks targeted Kataib Hezbollah a militia that is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) that are approved and financed by the Iraqi government. Wikipedia says of the PMF: "It has been called the new Iraqi Republican Guard after it was fully reorganized in early 2018 by its then-Commander in Chief Haider al-Abadi. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued "regulations to adapt the situation of the Popular Mobilization fighters," giving them ranks and salaries equivalent to other branches of the Iraqi military." The mainstream media usually just uses the phrase "Iran-backed militia" to describe the group ignoring the crucial facts that they are Iraqi and in effect part of the Iraqi armed forces. This explains the angry responses when they are attacked. The mainstream media also leave out other important information such as the 170 to 0 vote in the Iraqi parliament asking that all foreign troops withdraw from Iraq. In spite of these militia being in effect part of Iraqi forces the US feels that it can attack them with impunity.
There was one civilian killed in the US attack, a cook. The death toll included three soldiers and two policeman. Four soldiers, two policemen, one civilian, and five militia were reported wounded.
Salih has even warned that the Iraqi government could simply unravel under this US pressure and become a failed state. This might result in the resurgence of the Islamic State which the PMF had helped defeat. As of now the Islamic State is struggling to survive. The US which is supposedly in Iraq to help combat the Islamic State and other radical jihadists seems oblivious to these possible consequences. Or perhaps control of the Iraqi government is of more concern to them than defeating the Islamic State. For the US it is Iran not the Islamic State which is the enemy.
A second rocket attack on US Iraq base
The tit-for -tat actions continue as Iraqi security officials report a barrage of rockets on Saturday hit the Camp Taji base north of Baghdad that house US and other coalition troops. The officials claimed over a dozen rockets had rained down on the base some hitting coalition headquarters while others fell on a runway used by Iraqi forces. An earlier attack on Wednesday had killed two Americans plus one UK soldier. There has been no immediate word on any casualties in the second attack which was made in broad daylight rather than at night which is more common. Should the US respond again the Iraqi government may not be able to withstand pressure for the US to withdraw.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about US Iraq relations, US in Iraq, Barham Salih
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