August 3, 2021

American strikes against pro-Iran militias in Iraq and Syria, “a strong message” according to Blinken

In response to the increase in drone attacks against US forces stationed in Iraq, President Joe Biden ordered strikes against pro-Iranian Shiite militias on the Iraqi-Syrian border on the night of Sunday 27 June to Monday 28 June. . Pentagon says air offensive targeted operational centers and weapons depots in Syria and Iraq used by Iranian-backed militias “Involved in attacks using unmanned aerial vehicles against US personnel and installations in Iraq”, killing ten people. Popular Mobilization units, an Iraqi government force dominated by pro-Tehran militias, have confirmed the deaths of four of their fighters in strikes near Al-Qaim in western Iraq.

Despite protests from Baghdad – Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi denounced a “Flagrant violation of sovereignty” Iraqi and called “To avoid escalation” – and calls for revenge from pro-Iranian militias, the US administration has shown its firmness. “This action of self-defense (…) to prevent further attacks sends a very important and strong message “, assured, on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of a meeting in Rome of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) organization. On Monday evening, pro-Iranian militias responded by firing several shells at a US military base in the Al-Omar oil field, near Deir ez-Zor, in eastern Syria, without causing any casualties, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).

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Since the death of Iranian General Ghassem Soleimani, the head of the Al-Quds force in charge of the Revolutionary Guards’ external operations, in an American strike in Baghdad in January 2020, pro-Tehran Shiite militias have vowed to end the American troops outside Iraq. Against a backdrop of tension between Iran and the former administration of Donald Trump, attacks against American interests have multiplied, raising fears of an open confrontation on Iraqi ground. The truce decreed in the fall of 2020 by the pro-Iranian militias, after threats of American reprisals and the announcement of the planned withdrawal of the 2,500 American soldiers still deployed in Iraq, has fizzled out. A resurgence of attacks has been observed since April, when indirect negotiations have been held in Vienna between the Biden administration and the Iranian authorities on the nuclear issue.

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