US Embassy, Ain al-Asad base targeted in Iraq as militias up tension
Following the US strike on militias' bases last week, the US Embassy and Ain al-Asad base were targeted by a drone and rockets.
Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images
Al-Monitor Staff
July 6, 2021
The US Embassy in Baghdad, in the heart of the Iraqi capital's Green Zone, was the intended target of an armed drone the night of July 6. The C-RAM defense system of the embassy was able to bring it down before an attack.
Just hours before, Ain al-Asad base in Anbar province of western Iraq was hit by three rockets. The attack left no casualities.
The drone was launched from a residential area near the airport in Baghdad. This is the first time that militias have used a public place for launching an attack against US sites.
This comes a few days after US airstrikes were carried out against targets belonging to Iran-backed militias along the Iraqi border with Syria. The airstrikes — targeting two sites in Syria and one in Iraq just before dawn June 28 — left several militia members dead and came in response to continued attacks by the militias against US bases and convoys.
In a strong reaction to the US airstrikes, militias declared open war against the United States, according to a statement issued by the Coordinating Committee of the Iraqi Resistance.
In the near future, the escalation can be expected to increase based on the current circumstances, due to the following reasons.
First, the militias are not willing to stop the attack against the US interests, despite the previous promise of their leaders to the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to allow him to reach an agreement for the withdrawal of US troops within a set period of time. Although over 2,500 US troops have left Iraq during three rounds of strategic dialogue that began last year, the militias' attacks continued without pause. This includes even during the time that the Coordinating Committee of the Iraqi Resistance declared a cease-fire with the United States last year following mediation by UN representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in a meeting with the Popular Mobilization Units chief of staff Abo Fadak.
Second, the attacks put renewed focus on the US force deployment in Iraq, as Washington considers next steps in a drawdown of combat troops at the request of the Iraqi government.  Although the attacks have yet to lead to serious causalities — which is a red line for Washington — the circle of attacks has expanded to include a variety of targets in different parts of Iraq, including in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, and the United States, as well as NATO and the Iraqi government, will need to consider measures both to respond to and deter future attacks.
Third, the negotiations among the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the United States have yet to begin the seventh round of talks on a new Iran nuclear deal. The provocations by Iran-backed militias in Iraq can be linked to tensions and developments in US-Iran relations.
In such circumstances, Iraq faces a very sensitive time, as the government is trying to promote calm in advance of the upcoming elections scheduled for October. An escalation in US-Iran hostilities will be felt in Iraq.
UN says Iran advances nuclear enrichment amid Vienna talks
Al-Monitor Staff | Iran | Dec 2, 2021
UAE detects first case of Omicron variant
Al-Monitor Staff | News Brief | Dec 1, 2021
Tel Aviv named most expensive city in the world
Al-Monitor Staff | News Brief | Dec 1, 2021
Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Sign Me Up!
Netflix series awakens ghosts of past for Turkey's Jews
Nazlan Ertan | Turkey | Nov 16, 2021
Egypt weighs impact of Ethiopia's civil war
Baher al-Kady | Egypt | Nov 20, 2021
Oman invests in ports with eye to becoming Gulf gateway
Sebastian Castelier | Gulf | Nov 19, 2021
AI played 'big role' in approach to pandemic, says UAE artificial intelligence minister
Week in Review | Gulf | Nov 19, 2021
Turkey's war of attrition against Syria's Kurds
Amberin Zaman | Syria | Nov 17, 2021
Najaf seminary prepares for post-Sistani Iraq
Hassan al-Mustafa | Iraq | Dec 1, 2021
Iraqi election results sent to Federal Supreme Court for approval
Hassan Ali Ahmed | Iraq | Dec 1, 2021
How Mosul’s liberators became occupiers
Judit Neurink | Iraq | Dec 1, 2021
Iraq reveals details on assassination attempt targeting PM
Hassan Ali Ahmed | Iraq | Nov 29, 2021
Michael Kofman explains why Moscow backs the Iran nuclear deal and why Iran-Russia tensions in Syria are overstated
Digital entrepreneur Yonatan Adiri: Israel could double GDP with startup advancement
Don’t rule out eventual Erdogan-Assad reconciliation over shared fear of Kurds, says Amberin Zaman
Israeli environment minister: Country at high risk over climate change  
Trump administration’s former Syria envoy Jim Jeffrey says Turkey unlikely to invade northeastern Syria in immediate future
© 2021 Al-Monitor, LLC. All rights reserved.