On the second anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, tensions rose between Washington and Tehran, as the latter pushed its factions in both Syria and Iraq to launch attacks on US forces in those countries.
American forces were subjected to several attacks in less than 48 hours, one of which targeted an international coalition compound at Baghdad Airport, while another targeted the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq.
The International Coalition to Combat ISIS, led by the United States in Syria, announced that its forces had thwarted a missile attack on one of its bases in the Deir Ezzor region in northeastern Syria the day after the second anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination.
Soleiman, the late commander of the Quds Force and the architect of the Iranian expansion project in the Middle East, was assassinated in a strike carried out by a US drone near Baghdad Airport on January 3, 2020.
A spokesman for the US Department of Defense and the international coalition, John Kirby, said in two separate statements on Wednesday, January 5, that he still sees his forces in Iraq and Syria threatened by militias backed by Tehran, as thousands of American soldiers are still deployed at military bases in Iraq, as well as in north and southeast Syria.
These successive targeting of Iraqi military bases that host American forces reveal enormous security challenges facing Iraq and put it in a critical position, especially days after the mission of the US forces turned into an advisory role.
Although Baghdad confirmed the end of the combat mission of US forces, the Fateh Alliance, the political umbrella for the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), refuses to allow any American elements to stay, even if under the pretext of consulting and training.
The coalition announced that these attacks did not result in casualties, but only caused minor damage, and the statement added that “evil elements supported by Iran fired at the coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces from inside civilian infrastructure without paying attention to the security of civilians.”
The escalation of Iranian attacks on American bases in Iraq reveals messages from Tehran, confirming that it will not neglect the right of Soleimani, who was assassinated by Washington two years ago in Iraq, which was referred to by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who vowed to avenge him unless American officials are tried for his assassination, most notably former President Donald Trump.
This came days before the convening of the Iraqi parliament, which awaits great political responsibilities, represented in limiting the Iranian presence, adopting policies to neutralize militias in Iraq, and beginning rapprochement with neighboring countries in the hope of returning the country to its Arab surroundings.
Iran holds an annual funeral for Soleimani, which was attended this year in Tehran by Iraqi PMF head Faleh al-Fayyad and PMF Chief of Staff Abd al-Aziz al-Muhammadawi, known as Abu Fadak.