Over the previous yr, Iranian-aligned proxies in Iraq have carried out greater than 50 rocket assaults on bases the place United States troops are housed, in addition to on the American Embassy in Baghdad, and launched 90 assaults on convoys carrying provides to American troops, in accordance to the Pentagon.
“In short, Iran is using Iraq as its proxy battleground against the United States, with Iran’s ultimate objective being to eject the United States and our forces from Iraq and the broader Middle East,” General McKenzie stated final month throughout a digital convention on the Middle East.
Many senior United States commanders and intelligence analysts say that for the reason that demise of General Suleimani, who ran the elite Quds power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran could not train the identical diploma of management over Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq that it as soon as did. Some of those militias may lash out with out Tehran’s blessing, presumably inciting escalation and a army change between Iran and the United States.
The senior army official, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to describe operations and intelligence assessments, didn’t cite any particular proof of a bigger, imminent assault in opposition to American personnel. But the official stated army analysts assessed that the chance of Iran or its proxies miscalculating the dangers of such a strike was increased than common.
This evaluation prompted the extra deterrent measures, the official stated.
The United States has additionally dispatched an extra squadron of strike plane to Saudi Arabia in current weeks. And the plane service Nimitz, which had left the Middle East on Nov. 15 to take part in a naval train off the coast of India, returned to the area 10 days later, ostensibly to present safety to the a number of thousand forces that Mr. Trump ordered to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The ability to fly strategic bombers halfway across the world in a nonstop mission, and to rapidly integrate them with multiple regional partners, demonstrates our close working relationships and our shared commitment to regional security and stability,” General McKenzie stated.
Tensions had been excessive approaching the anniversary of the killing of General Suleimani in Iraq, the place the Trump administration stated he was planning assaults on American forces.