The U.S. has threatened to carry out preemptive strikes on Iran’s allies in Iraq, if the country’s government does not do well in protecting U.S.-led coalition personnel.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker told reporters in a call on March 22 that the Iraqi government is at a “decision point,” stressing that the perpetrators of the recent attacks on coalition personnel in Iraq should be held accountable.
“If it doesn’t take steps to hold accountable those responsible for the attacks on coalition forces, which are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government, the US will be forced to continue to protect our forces proactively,” Schenker said on a State Department call, according to Al-Monitor.
The U.S. diplomat added that Washington is “enormously” disappointed with the performance of the Iraqi government in protecting U.S.-led coalition forces in the country.
While demanding the Iraqi government to protect U.S. forces by all means, Schenker said Washington is looking for a government that would “put Iraq first.”
“We are looking for a government of Iraq that will … be interested in putting Iraq first, in demonstrating that they are Iraqi patriots, and wanting to have Iraq be a sovereign nation rather than a vassal state of Iran,” the official said.
On March 11, three U.S.-led coalition personnel were killed in a rocket attack on Iraq’s Camp Taji. The U.S. responded with a series of airstrikes on several positions in Iraq. The strikes, which supposedly targeted Iranian-affiliated Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), killed three soldiers and two policemen.
A new Iraqi group by the name Usbat al-Tha’ireen (UT) claimed responsibility for the most recent attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces. The mysterious group appears to be a pro-Iranian Shiite organization.
In spite of the mounting pressure on U.S. military presence in Iraq, Washington is clearly still willing to do everything possible to keep its forces in the oil-rich country.
- Coronavirus Forces U.S. To Pull Some Troops Out Of Iraq. Pompeo Blames Russia For Coronavirus Hysteria