ANBAR, Iraq. June 28th, 2021. President Biden ordered the second bombing of Iraqi military forces along the Syrian border of his fledgling administration, describing it as a “message to Iran”.
That “message” according to local news reports, struck the civilian neighborhood of al-Bukamal at 1AM local time, injuring three, and killing at least 1 child. The bombs were dropped allegedly on weapons storage sites. Between 4 and 7 Iraqi militia men were killed depending on who’s reporting.
In retaliation, Iraqi militia groups declared “open war” on the U.S. occupiers. Reports came in from a U.S. base at the eastern Syria oil field al-Omar that waves of rocket fire struck the compound. Other reports from AP report the same.
The targeted groups, Kata’ib Hezbollah and others are controlled under an umbrella organization called the PMF. Allies with the U.S. during the fight against ISIS in 2014-2017, the PMF released a statement declaring “open war on the American occupiers,” and that they would “wreak vengeance on the perpetrators of this heinous crime”. They added they would start with grounded American aircraft.
It’s the second time this group has been targeted by Biden, whose Defense Department claims they are a proxy force of the Iranian government.
In response the Pentagon used all the normal adjectives to justify it such as “defensive, appropriate, deliberate,” and claimed it was in response to drone attacks on U.S. bases and personnel by PMF militia groups, without revealing who was injured, where the attacks happened, or when.
Iraq is looking towards increased legal efforts to remove the authority or authorization of the Pentagon to conduct any attacks in their country, while Iran, to whom this “message” was addressed, reacted modestly, suggesting these attacks would lead the countries’ relations down the “wrong path”.
Following the assassination of Qassim Soleimani and the Iraqi leader of the PMF Abu al-Mohandis, the Iraqi Parliament voted 170 – 0 to revoke the authority the U.S. has to stay in Iraq. The Prime Minister at the time, was told that the U.S. military was staying no matter what his chamber said, as it was quote “appropriate”.
Earlier in June, Shi’ite militias inducted into the official Iraqi military following their heroics in the fight against ISIS, declared they had ended a ceasefire installed following this parliamentary decision, and that the failure of the Pentagon and White House to heed it meant they had a “responsibility” to kill every American they saw until we did.
This message to Iran is killing Iraqis, but the Pentagon seems as if the two are completely interchangeable. There are still 5,000 soldiers in Iraq, sitting there doing very little, and the Pentagon is giving these two-time-former-allies carte blanche to attack them.