Over the past year, Iranian-aligned proxies in Iraq have carried out more than 50 rocket attacks on bases housing US troops, as well as the US embassy in Baghdad, and have launched 90 attacks on convoys carrying supplies to US troops, according to the Pentagon.
“In short, Iran is using Iraq as a proxy battleground against the United States, with Iran’s ultimate goal being to expel the United States and our forces from Iraq and the Middle East.” at large, ”General McKenzie said at a virtual Middle East conference last month.
Many US commanders and intelligence analysts say that since the death of General Suleimani, who led the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran may no longer exercise the same degree of control over Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq. made. Some of these militias could break loose without Tehran’s blessing, possibly prompting escalation and military exchange between Iran and the United States.
The senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe intelligence operations and assessments, cited no specific evidence of a larger and imminent attack on US personnel. But the official said military analysts estimated that the likelihood of Iran or its proxies miscalculating the risks of such a strike was higher than usual.
The assessment prompted additional deterrents, the official said.
The United States has also sent an additional squadron of attack jets to Saudi Arabia in recent weeks. And the aircraft carrier Nimitz, which left the Middle East on November 15 to participate in a naval exercise off the coast of India, returned to the region 10 days later, apparently to protect the several thousand forces. that Mr. Trump had ordered. withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The ability to fly strategic bombers halfway around the world on a non-stop mission, and to integrate them rapidly with multiple regional partners, demonstrates our close working relationship and shared commitment to regional security and stability.” General McKenzie said.
Tensions were high as the anniversary of General Suleimani’s assassination in Iraq approached, where the Trump administration said it planned attacks on U.S. forces.