Trump Admin Unenthusiastic About Another War With Iran, Iraq After 2 US Soldiers Killed in Iraq Rocket Attack
Well, well, well...it's the perfect pretext, so why not so belligerent this time?
In December an Iraqi-born US contractor (translator) was killed in a rocket attack on a US base in Iraq.
Trump blamed Iraqi government paramilitaries (Popular Mobilization Units — PMU) and used it as a supposed “justification” to bomb Iraqi government forces (paramilitaries, police, soldiers) on the Syrian-Iraqi border just two days later. He then followed it up by drone assassinating a guest of the Iraqi PM, the Iranian general Soleimani, and the second in command of the Iraqi PMU guardsmen, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The New York Times (of all the papers) later did a reportage explaining why it is unlikely Iraqi guardsmen had anything to do with the initial attack (albeit they would have been perfectly justified in the light of US-supported and US-greenlighted Israeli attacks on Iraqi military bases which preceded it), and that it was likely the work of ISIS.
In other words, Trump carried out acts of war against Iran and Iraq (a supposed ally and a supposed voluntary host of US troops) both, over the death of an Iraqi translator probably at the hands of ISIS.
This time around 2 actual American soldiers (and a British one) were killed in a very similar attack and so far the US is instead exercising relative calm. Sure enough, after a day of inactivity, the brass is now pointing in the direction of Iran (while allowing it could be a “rogue Shia militia”) because that’s the side of its bread that’s buttered, but Trump admin doesn’t seem to have much interest in an Iran escalation right now.
Even Pompeo initially balked at naming the party the Trump admin will hold responsible:
Today’s deadly attack on Iraq’s Camp Taji military base will not be tolerated. @DominicRaab and I agree – those responsible must be held accountable.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 12, 2020
Defense Secretary Esper has since pointed the finger at Iran but even he is meekly talking about “working with our partners” to “bring the perpetrators to justice” rather than getting busy fueling up strike jets:
“Yesterday’s attack by Iranian backed Shia militia groups, consisted of multiple indirect fires that originated from a stationary platform and was clearly targeting coalition and partnered forces on Camp Taji,” Esper told reporters.
“Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies,” Esper said.
“All options are on the table as we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence,” he added
He was made to clarify the focus isn’t on Iran:
NBC: That would include potentially strikes inside Iran?
Esper: “I’m not going to take any option off the table right now but we are focused on the group, groups, that we believed perpetrated this in Iraq”
Unlike in December, the Trump admin isn’t jumping on the news as a welcome pretext but is instead inconvenienced by it.
This shows you just how arbitrary and Trump-driven the US-Iraq/Iran war of December 29 to January 8 was. Surely the correct path of action back then was likewise to “work with partners” (the Iraqi government) to “bring perpetrators to justice” and not to start bombing a client state willy-nilly.
But if a possible ISIS attack that killed one US contractor was grounds to start a war vs Iraq (just two days later) and Iran (a week later) both, then surely the deaths of two more US soldiers in another possible ISIS attack are grounds to go right back to that?
At the time Trump was looking for an excuse to strike Iran and now he is not. That is the only difference.
McKenzie: “while we are still investigating the attack I will note that the Iranian proxy group Khatib Hezbollah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against US and Coalition forces in Iraq” https://t.co/HSkw9pFpLG
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) March 12, 2020
McKenzie is full of it. This was the weapon used in the attack:
They’re old Soviet 107mm rockets which aren’t exactly a rarity in Iraq. This could have been anyone.
Updated story: Top general hints Iran is behind the attack last night that killed 2 US service members in Iraq.
Despite the fact that the last time KH killed an American we almost went to war with Iran, the attack did not make front page news today. https://t.co/MnUgmEx42P
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) March 12, 2020
Just in: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Mark Milley US has "good confidence" Iranian-backed Shiite militias carried out y'day's rocket attack on Iraq's Camp Taji that killed 2 American & 1 UK servicemember & wounded 14 more. "Options are on the table," Milley says.
— Jack Detsch (@JackDetsch) March 12, 2020