“At least 3 Rockets target US Embassy area in Baghdad,” according to initial reporting by the AFP. It comes at a sensitive moment that the Biden administration is investigating a major rocket attack on a US base in Erbil, in northern Iraqi Kurdistan one week ago. That prior attack injured multiple US military service members and killed at least one non-American international contractor.
Crucially Monday’s rocket volley, which so far according to early reports doesn’t appear to have caused damage to the embassy, marks the third attack on Western military, diplomatic, or commercial installations in a week.
Security sources cited in regional media indicated one rocket “landed in the Green Zone and others landing in nearby residential neighborhoods.” Additionally “two rockets landed in the Green Zone, with no casualties reported”.
Over the span of the past year to year-and-a-half there’s been at least a dozen such instances of rockets fired on the embassy. Most of the time they are either intercepted by the embassy’s high-tech anti-rocket defense system, or they fall into residential neighborhoods, often injuring or killing local civilians. The attacks are typically blamed on pro-Iranian Iraqi militia forces, also already the prime suspect in this latest.
The Biden administration is now facing its first significant Iraq crisis following the year-long escalation with pro-Iranian Iraqi paramilitary forces in the country on the heels of Trump’s ordered assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani and militia commander Abu Mahdi al-
Black smoke rising over the ‘Green Zone’ in the aftermath of Monday’s rocket attack:
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) February 22, 2021
After last week’s Erbil base attack, the White House warned that it has “the right to respond at the time and place of our choosing.”
Monday’s embassy attack adds to the pressure as the Biden administration mulls its next move in Iraq. While Trump previously announced a major US force reduction in his final months in office, under Biden they likely aren’t going anywhere.
This also comes as NATO has announced sending an additional 3,500 troops there, in a move that’s broadly being interpreted as possibly allowing for a continued American draw down – but at this point nothing is certain given the lack of clarity on Biden’s Middle East strategy.
Mon, 02/22/2021 – 12:15
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Author: Tyler Durden