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Op-Ed: US is critical of Israeli air attacks on Iraq

US last week confirmed Israel involvement

The US said that the attacks in Iraq last week were by Israel. When attacks happened again over last weekend Iraqi forces began to suspect the US was involved. As there are US bases and troops in Iraq this is not too surprising as the US usually supports Israeli attacks in other countries such as Syria.

Pentagon criticizes Israeli attacks

The Pentagon statement said the attacks by external actors incited violence in Iraq. The Pentagon also said it supported the right of Iraq to exercise self-defense and protect their democracy. This last statement will no doubt annoy Israel as it bills itself as the only democracy in the Middle East.

Iraq has limited air defenses

Unlike Syria Iraq has limited defenses against Israeli attacks. However Iraq’s parliament noted that Russia had promised assistance for the Iraqi Air Force. It is yet to be seen what will happen but many of Iraq’s neighbors are buying Russian air defense systems. Given Israeli actions Iraq could no doubt turn to Russia so that Israel will not be able to continue attacks without suffering serious losses.

US and Russia court both Iraq and Israel

The US support for Israel is obvious but the criticism of Israeli attacks shows that it also wants not to create more tension with the Iraq government. However, Russia too is playing a two-faced game. Although it offers to help Iraq build up its defenses it has tried to maintain good relations with Israel as well. A recent article notes: “According to Western sources, Moscow and Washington have agreed that Israel’s strikes in Iraq and Syria are “vital to ensure Israeli security” and that Israel should be allowed to continue tracking Iranian activity in Syria and Iraq, and strike Iranian targets that could pose a threat to Israel, such as long-range and precision missiles.”

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