Iran Launches Dozens of Missiles at U.S. Targets in Iraq

Iran began to launch over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting U.S. airbases in Iraq on Tuesday, U.S. officials confirmed.

Iran is taking credit for a rocket attack targeting the al-Assad airbase in Iraq, which houses U.S. troops. They announced that the missiles were part of “Shahid [martyr] Soleimani Operation,” hinting at an extended military operation against the United States. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – not Hezbollah or one of many Iranian proxies in Iraq – took credit for the bombs.

Iranian state media did note later in the night Eastern time that the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) – a coalition of pro-Iran Shiite militias that Iraq has legalized into a formal wing of its armed forces, had “announced the start of Crushing Response Operation to the United States.”

As the PMF are legally a wing of the Iraqi military, any formal military operation on their part would constitute a military attack by Iraq against the United States. The U.S. military cooperated with the PMF in strategic operations against the Islamic State and recently suspended training operations for Iraqi troops.

“IRGC announced further details will be revealed soon,” several Iranian media outlets noted.

PressTV later carried a statement from the IRGC warning nations allied with the United States to cut ties or face military attack.

“We warn US allies providing bases for the [American] terrorist army … that any country serving as the origin of bellicose and aggressive attacks in any form against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be targeted,” the IRGC statement reportedly read.

The IRGC is a U.S. designated terrorist organization. The Iranian government branded the U.S. military a terrorist organization in response to the designation on the IRGC in April 2019.

Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement:

At approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region. As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region. Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Iranian state TV claimed that the attack is in retaliation for the death of terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani, the late head of the IRGC Quds Force. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard also issued a warning to American allies, including Israel.

“We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,” the Guard said via the IRNA news agency.

The Fars News Agency, an Iranian state broadcaster, posted a live video feed of the assault online. PressTV claimed that the assault consisted of “tens of surface-to-surface missiles.”

Since the initial reports of the attack, multiple media sources are confirming the beginning of a second wave of rocket fire.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president is “monitoring the situation closely”:

Neither Iranian media nor the U.S. government officials have confirmed any casualties in relation to the rocket attacks, nor any property damage.

After online rumors initially suggested that President Donald Trump may address the nation regarding the attack, New York Times and Fox News reporters asserted that Trump would not be delivering remarks.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued notices banning American flights over several Mideast regions following the attack.


Iran-backed Shiite militia Kataib Hezbollah Attacks U.S. Embassy in Iraq

The media, as the self-appointed janitors of Obama’s legacy, went into overdrive obfuscating the timing, context, and significance of the January 2020 attack on the United States embassy in Baghdad. Although President Donald Trump has made progress in dismantling Obama’s legacy in the region, much more remains to be done, including a halt to American taxpayer money that has been flowing into Iranian-controlled governments in Iraq and Lebanon.

In response to a missile attack on an Iraqi military base on Friday the 27th of December 2019 in which an American contractor was killed and some members of the U.S. and Iraqi militaries were wounded, U.S. forces in Iraq carried out airstrikes – killing 24 members of the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah.

Three days later on December 30th, Iran-backed militias stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, chanting “Down, down USA!” and hurling water bottles and smashing security cameras. The attackers breached parts of the embassy and were only dispersed the next day, after Trump deployed Marines to ensure the safety of our embassy personnel and property.

The attacks have been building for months, including roughly a dozen attacks on U.S. assets by these militias and American retaliatory strikes against five locations in Iraq and Syria belonging to the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah. The group represents an ongoing replication of the “Islamic revolutionary model” that Iran first “exported” to and “perfected” in Lebanon in the early 1980s. 

The New York Times has labeled the attackers “mourners” responding to the U.S. strikes, while the front page of the first Washington Post edition of 2020 labeled them “protesters.” The latter is a particularly pernicious mislabeling. The media has done its best to conflate the attacks with anti-Iran protests that have been happening across Iraq for the last three months, but of course those actual protesters are pro-Iraqi sovereignty demonstrators fed up with the corruption and the broad perception that the Iraqi government is controlled by Iran.

Confirming exactly that accusation, the Iraqi government has repeatedly attacked the anti-Iran protesters, killing hundreds and wounding thousands, while giving a free pass and ready access to the Iran-backed fighters who stormed our embassy.

The media’s goal is to characterize the protests as a wholesale rejection of Trump’s policies in the region, hence the wall-to-wall disinformation about mourning and protesting. What’s actually at stake is Obama’s legacy. The Iran Deal was a bargain in which Iran would be handed control over the Middle East in exchange for some temporary limitations on nuclear activities.

As Obama said, the Saudis — by which he meant Sunnis across the region — would just have to learn to “share the neighborhood” with Iran. The attack on our embassy shows what sharing the region actually means, and the anti-Iran Iraqi protesters are saying they reject it.

Trump has partially withdrawn from the Iran deal, and Tehran is feeling the pressure. Behnam Ben Taleblu, a scholar from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, recently said the “Death to America” chants are a “dead giveaway” that these protests are being orchestrated by Iran as an effort to shore up its position. “These are pro-Iran and pro-militia sympathizers that appear to be out of touch with the thousands of Iraqis who have been chanting ‘Iran, out!’”

Other parts of Obama’s legacy, however, persist. One of the most glaring in the aftermath of the attack on our embassy is that we continue to pour money into countries like Iraq and Lebanon that are outright dominated by the mullahs in Iran through proxies like the Hezbollah militias in those countries. 

Inside the administration, Trump loyalists have sought to cut that aid the Deep State has rushed in to preserve those policies. In Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently sent around a two-page bill titled the “Stop Sending American Taxpayer Money to Governments Controlled by Terrorists Act.” The bill smartly proposed halting assistance to any Lebanese administration that is improperly influenced by Hezbollah.

Cruz’s bill should be expanded to include any government that is under Iranian control, not just Lebanon, as Iran has made attempts to establish proxy regimes in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Given Iran is interested in expanding its hegemony in the region by reproducing the Islamic Revolution in neighboring countries, there is no realm in which American aid should facilitate such activities. 

Cruz’s proposal, and likewise an expansion of it, would amount to a full condemnation of what Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ Tony Badran has labeled the Obama Realignment Doctrine, or. Obama’s strategy to restore a power “balance” in the Middle East by empowering Iran and disfavoring our long-term allies. Such an approach achieved its heyday in the Iran Deal and its repudiation in Trump’s withdrawal.

For those on the left, the current desire to salvage the remnants of Obama’s legacy has come at the expense of revealing the true nature of Iraqi unrest. It’s not only irresponsible but further reveals the level of perpetual dishonesty needed to sustain popular support (or at minimum, acceptance) of the Iran Deal. If your strategy requires lying to justify its existence, perhaps it’s not such a fantastic approach.


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