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After nearly two months of daily attacks against United States convoys and positions in Iraq, on February 25th Washington carried out airstrikes in response.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that Washington was confident in what it attacked, and that it was the right target. There was no information about this incident or any damage caused by the strike from officials in Damascus or Tehran. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the US had carried out a “defensive precision strike”.
This involved airstrikes that struck alleged Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) facilities. They were located at a border control point in Eastern Syria.
The press release misspells the names of both KH and KSS, which is showing in how clearly the US is aware of who continues attacking its interests.
Both groups are part of the Iraqi Armed Forces, as they are in the ranks of the Popular Mobilization Units. One of the key forces in the fight against ISIS. Many PMU factions historically have had close relations with Iran and thus they were struck as an authorized response for the strikes on US interests in the Middle East.
According to Washington, the strikes aren’t aimed at an escalation, but rather to de-escalate the situation. Any casual observer would note that it is far more likely that US President Joe Biden will get an escalation as a result.
Two days before the “defensive precision strike” Kata’ib Hezbollah released an official statement denying that it had anything to do with the rocket strikes on US positions. Evidently, to no avail.
The last straw for the US happened during the day on February 25th. Two convoys were attacked by IED blasts. These attacks led to no casualties, similarly to the previous ones. It appears that material damage was the purpose of the incidents. The declared purpose of the attacks was to push the US forces out of Iraq. This, too, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
NATO is increasing its presence in Iraq. The US also said it could deploy more troops to the Middle East. When Joe Biden was elected US President, the MSM claimed that the two-faced international policy was done with, after Donald Trump had vacated office. This is a testament to the opposite.
On one side, Washington says that it is ready to sit at the negotiating table with Iran, and discuss restoring some normality. One the other side, it strikes Iran’s allies and accuses them of carrying out attacks that they vehemently deny.
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