Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: US said to be planning attacks on Iranian-supported Iraq militias

By Ken Hanly     Apr 3, 2020 in World
The United States and Iran both badly hit by the coronavirus appear to be on the verge of military action against each other. After earlier engagements this year both sides seem to be preparing for a new imminent conflict.
US said to be planning offensive against Iran-supported Iraqi militias
The US offensive, said to have been planned over the last two weeks, is to be directed against Iranian supported Iraqi militias that the US blames for attacks on US bases. However, the militias are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces(PMF) that are approved and paid for by the Iraqi government. They are in effect part of Iraqi security forces and have been instrumental in helping fight the Islamic State. The US is supposed to be in Iraq to also fight the Islamic State (ISIS). However, ISIS is mostly defeated and in survival mode. Iraqi forces are probably quite able to handle any remaining threat from ISIS. The US likely wants to stay in Iraq to counter the influence of Iran.
In early January
the Iraq parliament voted 172 to 0 in favor of all foreign troops withdrawing from Iraq. However, many lawmakers were not present. Trump reacted by threatening severe sanctions if the US were forced to leave. The US refused to discuss any mechanism for withdrawal with Iraq. In effect the resolution which did not have the force of a law was simply ignored. There were protests against the government and the US and attacks on US bases one killing two Americans and a UK soldier. In response the US attacked a militia base angering the Iraqi government.
US accuses Iran of planning a sneak attack
President Trump also claimed this week that Iran was plotting a “sneak attack.” Presumably such an attack would not be directly from Iran but an attack from some of the PMF militia that had already been attacked by the US and are likely to be planning retaliatory attacks.
Iran had denied that it is planning any attacks. It is obviously busy trying to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic which has hit the country hard. On Thursday, Iranian military chief of staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri stated his forces were "closely monitoring the activities and moves of Americans," who would face the "fiercest reactions" should they strike. Bagheri denied that Iran was responsible for the rocket attacks launched against US military positions in Iraq. He said they were a natural reaction by the Iraqi people against a foreign power who acted unilaterally. The US consider the militia Bagheri refers to as simply Iranian proxies although they are in effect part of the Iraqi armed forces.
General Kenneth McKenzie, CENTCOM commander is arguing that the pandemic actually makes Iran more dangerous. Some analysts are saying that both countries will be prone to escalate using the pandemic as cover. The only cover it provides is that the mainstream media are likely to ignore attacks as they concentrate upon coronavirus stories. As a result, important publicity and any political backlash will be muted.
Iraq's position
Iraq is strongly opposed to its territory being used by the US to fight Iran. US has not only attacked militia that are part of its own security forces but also assassinated a key Iranian commander near the Baghdad airport. Such actions Iraq takes as a clear violation of its sovereignty. Just recently the US has deployed Patriot missile defense systems in Iraq but without requesting permission from Iraq to do so.
It appears quite likely that there will be more attacks on US bases and further retaliatory attacks on Iraqi militia. There are bound to be more protests against the Iraqi government and demands that the US exit Iraq. Iraq's objections to the unilateral actions of the US will continue to be ignored exacerbating relations between the two countries.
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
More about US Iraq relations, US ib Iraq, Iraq Shiite militias
More news from
Latest News
Top News