7 attacks within 72 hours… Who is behind targeting US forces in Iraq? And why?

Baghdad- Only 6 days passed since the new year, when the armed Shiite factions in Iraq renewed their attacks on American interests with missiles, drones and even explosive devices, in a new escalating step against the foreign presence in the country.

The international coalition across Iraq was subjected to 7 attacks in just 72 hours, the last of which took place at dawn today when the air defenses of Ain al-Assad base in Anbar Governorate, west of the country, shot down a drone that tried to approach it, according to an official statement of the Iraqi Security Media Cell, in addition to the exposure of a convoy Logistics of the coalition for two attacks with two explosive devices.

And Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi considered – yesterday, Wednesday – that targeting Iraqi camps with a number of missiles, “absurd actions” aimed at disturbing security and stability in the country.

Al-Rubaie: There is confirmed information that the US forces have not withdrawn from Iraqi territory so far (Al-Jazeera)

confrontation time

Mahmoud al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the “Sadiquon” bloc of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement led by Qais al-Khazali, said that “there is confirmed information about what he called the resistance factions, indicating that the US forces have not withdrawn from Iraqi territory so far.”

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Rubaie indicated that “the US forces so far occupy some Iraqi military bases, and what was announced by the government regarding its final withdrawal last year is untrue.” He adds that “the number of US forces in Iraq is unknown, and rumors about the presence of 2,500 are incorrect.”

Al-Rubaie continues his speech by saying that “the Iraqi airspace is under the control of the US Air Force, and the Iraqi government is unable to control it,” and that “the resistance factions have exhausted all diplomatic methods regarding the foreign presence in the country, forcing them now to turn to arms and confront the American forces.”

According to Iraqi government statements, about 2,500 US soldiers are now in Iraq in an advisory capacity, with the aim of training the Iraqi security forces.

Military vehicles of U.S. soldiers are seen at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar provinceAin al-Assad base in Anbar province, where American soldiers are present (Reuters)

New armed factions

Al-Rubaie spoke about the identity of the factions that continue to target American bases, saying that “the previous years witnessed the presence of armed factions known to all countries, and they always publicly adopt the operations they carry out, but now, after the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority and commander of the Quds Force. Qassem Soleimani, many unknown factions have formed, and they continue to target US forces even if there is a truce with them.

He believes that “the recent attacks carried out by the armed factions are the first step for a real confrontation with foreign forces in Iraq.”

Members of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force chant anti-US slogans during a protest over the killings of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, on January 6, 2020 in Karrada in central Baghdad. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)Al-Rubaie: Unknown factions formed after the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis continue to target US (French) forces

Regarding what was leaked to the Iraqi media about the possibility of imposing a 6-month truce, Al-Rubaie ruled out concluding a new truce with US forces or the international coalition forces in Iraq.

Since the assassination of Soleimani and al-Muhandis, American interests have been subjected to continuous targeting by missiles and drones, including the vicinity of the American embassy in Baghdad, the Victoria base near Baghdad Airport, and other military bases that include American forces such as Ain al-Assad (in Anbar province, western Iraq), and Harir (in the province of Baghdad). Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq) and others.

Duraid Al-Nasser Al-JazeeraAl-Nasser attributed the reason for the escalation of attacks to the failure of the parties representing Shiite factions in the parliamentary elections (Al-Jazeera)

Factions’ excuse

On the other hand, a researcher in political affairs, Ayoub Al-Khazraji, says – during his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – that “the applicable contexts and agreements between Washington and Baghdad confirm the withdrawal of US combat forces from Iraq.”

Al-Khazraji explains that “the agreements included the survival of some forces for training and advice, and this is what the armed factions took as a pretext for them to strike back at American targets in Iraq.”

The Iraqi researcher believes that the tweet of the leader of the Sadrist bloc Muqtada al-Sadr a few days ago, in which he demanded the exit of American advisers, strengthened the position of the factions, as well as the pursuit of the Shiite coordination framework – which includes the State of Law coalition led by Nuri al-Maliki, the Fatah Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri, and the bloc of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi The Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, the Ataa Movement and the Virtue Party – to use the attack card on foreign forces and exploit the file politically.”

Al-Khazraji expected that “Washington will carry out painful and fatal strikes on some factions, especially with the increase in attacks during the recent period.”

For his part, political expert Dureid Nasser – to Al-Jazeera Net – confirms that “all data indicate a real withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, and the Middle East in general, but gradually and slowly.”

Al-Nasser points out that “the slow withdrawal came as a result of the great negative responses that Washington was subjected to from the American people, especially after its withdrawal from Afghanistan and causing a major crisis for the country.”

He considered that “the reason for the resurgence of attacks against the American presence in Iraq is due to the failure of the parties representing the Shiite factions in the recent parliamentary elections, and their attempt to create a new crisis to influence the course of the political process.”

Al-Nasser concludes his speech by saying that “the factions will continue their operations against the American bases in Iraq to put more pressure on them, and Washington will respond to this by repelling these attacks, and it is possible that a harsh reaction will be issued from them at a later time.”

U.S.-led troops withdraw from Iraq's Taji baseUS forces during their earlier withdrawal from a military base north of Baghdad (Reuters)

Withdrawal Agreement

On July 27, 2021, Iraq and the United States agreed to withdraw all American combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2021, according to the final statement issued by the two governments after the fourth and final strategic dialogue between them.

Sources in the Iraqi Joint Operations Command say that “the US forces withdrew in part last November to Kuwait, as part of the annual redeployment plan.”

The sources added – in their exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that “the American forces are now present at the Ain Al-Assad base in Anbar Governorate (western Iraq), and the Harir base in the Erbil Governorate (in Iraqi Kurdistan), as well as the presence in the US embassy building in the center of the capital, Baghdad.”

In 2008, Baghdad and Washington concluded the Strategic Framework Agreement that paved the way for the exit of US forces in 2011, 8 years after the invasion of the country.

The American forces returned at the request of Iraq to help them defeat the Islamic State in 2014, after several provinces in the north and northwest of the country fell into the hands of the organization, and the United States led a coalition of about 60 countries to fight the organization, and provided full support at all levels to the Iraqi forces to defeat the organization. .

On January 5, 2020, the Iraqi parliament voted on a resolution calling for the expulsion of foreign forces, including the United States, two days after an American raid that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority.

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