By Killing Iraqi Soldiers & Police the US Ensures Attacks on Its Forces Will Continue
Desperate to appear strong to his home audience Trump is hurting the US position in Iraq, playing into attackers' hands
A day after the U.S. and England hit five Kataib Hezbollah targets in Iraq for the deaths of two American and one British soldiers at Camp Taji in Baghdad that same facility was hit again by rockets. 33 missiles rained down on Taji from seven launchers. That resulted in three more U.S. soldiers and 3-4 Iraqi Security Forces being wounded.
The attack showed that pro-Iran elements within the Hashd (Popular Mobilisation Units) are undeterred by the threat of retaliation from Washington. This was the ninth assault on U.S. personnel since January 27, and the fifth in March.
The goal of these operations in fact, may be to provoke the Americans into overreacting and killing Iraqis that would re-ignite the move to force foreign troops from the country.
Recent Attacks Upon Iraqi Bases That House U.S. Forces:
|Jan 27||Rockets hit U.S. Embassy, Green Zone, Baghdad|
|Feb 13||Rockets hit K1 base, Kirkuk|
|Feb 15||Rockets hit Green Zone, Baghdad|
|Feb 21||Mortars fired at base, Makhmour dist, Irbil|
|Mar 1||Rockets fired at Sadiq base, Salahaddin|
|Mar 2||Rockets hit Green Zone, Baghdad|
|Mar 5||Rockets hit Green Zone, Baghdad|
|Mar 7||Rockets hit Camp Taji, Baghdad|
|Mar 13||Rockets hit Camp Taji, Baghdad|
The raid on Kataib Hezbollah sites on March 13 showed the problems the U.S. is facing. The strikes ended up killing three Iraqi soldiers and two police from the 19th Division and 3rd Babil Police regiment respectively. This was widely condemned by the Iraqi leadership not just groups aligned with Iran.
The Joint Operations Command condemned the attack and said it violated Iraqi sovereignty, while the Foreign Ministry called in the U.S. and British ambassadors to complain to them.
As Michael Knights of the Washington Institute pointed out in an article in Politico the need for a quick response meant that the targets struck were likely empty and had no real value to Kataib Hezbollah, and in fact hurt the U.S. position with the Iraqi fatalities.
If that’s the kind of response the Trump administration is going to make groups like Kataib Hezbollah will gladly continue on with their rocket assaults.
Source: Musings on Iraq