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The first week of 2022 was a busy one for forces of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. Since the deadline for their withdrawal from the country expired on December 31, pro-Iranian forces who are on a quest to avenge al-Muhandis and Soleimani, have increased their attacks targeting the U.S. military.
Several attacks have already targeted the US Camp Victory military base near Baghdad International Airport, the Ayn al-Assad Air Base in the western Iraqi province of al-Anbar as well as the U.S. military base in the province of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria.
At the same time, at least 20 U.S. convoys came under attack in different parts of Iraq in 2022.
The latest massive attack which took place on January 9 hit seven convoys moving logistic supplies and military equipment for the US-led coalition
The convoys were targeted in the central province of Babylon, in the Yusufiya, Nebai and Abu Ghraib areas near Baghdad, and in the south: near the city of al-Diwaniyah, the capital of the southern province of al-Qadisiyyah and en route between the cities of Nasiriyah and Samawah.
Various Iraqi groups were involved in the attacks, including the al-Muhandis Revenge Brigade, the Khaybar Brigade, and the Islamic Resistance in Iraq – ‘Ashab al-Kahf.
The attacks were apparently carried out to honor the memory of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Deputy-Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units, and Iran’s Quds Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani, who were assassinated by the US around two years ago.
At the same time, on January 9, they were likely timed to the speaker elections in Iraq’s parliament, the first step toward forming a new government after a general election whose results have been contested by powerful Iran-backed factions.
Mohammed Rikan Hadeed al-Halbousi was reelected its speaker for a second term.
The meeting was marked by disarray, with the eldest member of Parliament being evacuated to the hospital apparently due to the stress.
The US-led coalition did not stay still.
Footage indicated that a state-of-the-art US system, the Raytheon Coyote, was deployed at the Ayn al-Assad Air Base along with C-RAM and AN/TWQ-1 Avenger systems.
The Coyote anti-drone system uses a small, expendable drone to intercept its target.
Most of the U.S.-led coalition troops had been reportedly withdrawn from the al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria to Jordan and the U.S. main proxy group at al-Tanf, the Revolutionary Commando Army (MaT), was deployed to guard the U.S. position.
U.S. forces and the MaT are regularly holding joint live-fire exercises in the southeastern Syrian area of al-Tanf.
The U.S. is also among the suspects behind an assassination attempt of Ahmad Abd al-Muttalib Abd al-Razzaq, commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, on January 6.
Unidentified gunmen, at least four, raided his house in the district of al-Alam in the western part of Baghdad, and killed his wife and three children, leaving the commander seriously wounded.
The involvement of U.S. special services is yet to be proved. The only thing that is clear is that the standoff between foreign forces and Iraqi Resistance groups will continue to aggravate in the near future, leading to more casualties.