US Warns Iran of ‘Decisive’ Response to its Proxy Attacks in Iraq
The US Embassy in Iraq on Saturday accused Iran's proxies of carrying out attacks on Iraqi military bases where US troops are stationed.
A statement by the embassy on its Facebook page recalled several attacks on military bases in Iraq, and warned "Iran's leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive US response."
"Iran must respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and immediately cease its provision of lethal aid and support to third parties in Iraq and throughout the region," the statement said.
Several Iraqi military bases with US forces were attacked recently by rockets and mortar rounds by unidentified militant groups in the provinces of Salaheddine, Anbar and at the perimeter of Baghdad International Airport. No casualties among US troops were reported.
Over 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battle against ISIS militants, mainly providing training and advising to the Iraqi forces.
The troops are part of the US-led international coalition that has been conducting air raids against ISIS targets in both Iraq and Syria.
Similarly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the spate of rocket attacks against Iraqi bases where American troops are located and warned the Trump administration would respond forcefully if US or allied forces were injured or killed.
“Iran’s proxies have recently conducted several attacks against bases where Iraqi Security Forces are co-located with US and International Coalition personnel,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Any attacks by Iran or its proxies “that harm Americans, our allies or our interests will be answered with a decisive US response,” Pompeo added.
Iraqi national security expert Hussein Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the Americans see recent turmoil in Iraq as an internal crisis and that is the position of the US State Department, but rocket attacks are another matter.”
These attacks, according to Allawi, have resulted in the US hinting to imposing economic sanctions against Iraqi figures and entities close to Iran.
He added that there could be other responses.