Photo: Reuters

Iraq called upon to protect U.S. interests

Washington has called upon Baghdad’s central government to “take action” to protect U.S. interests in Iraq, after a mounting number of attacks were recorded over recent weeks Western intelligence officials charge “have been orchestrated by Iran and carried out by its local (Shi’ite) proxies.”

Ten rocket attacks targeted areas where American military and diplomatic personnel are stationed since October 28. The Islamic Republic of Iran wields significant influence in Iraq, particularly the Quds Force of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps; as well as the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces controlled by Tehran while also enjoying support from Baghdad officials.

It is important to note that while intelligence sources suggest “Iranian fingerprints” are involved in the recent rocket fire, none of the Islamic Republic’s affiliated groups have claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that he expressed “concern about the optics in attacks on bases in Iraq where U.S. troops and material might be” during a telephone conversation with outgoing-Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, who subsequently urged that no effort be spared “to prevent an escalation that will threaten all parties.”

The Shi’ite leader further stressed that “unilateral decisions will trigger negative reactions that will make it more difficult to control the situation and will threaten Iraq’s security, sovereignty and independence.”