Following the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip resulting in the killing of 3 US soldiers in Jordan and in response to Tel Aviv's support for the targeting of US interests in the region, Washington vowed to respond to armed factions loyal to Iran that it would punish for the attacks. Blame.
According to a report published by Agence France-Presse, what are the possible targets of this response?
After the drone attack on January 28,Last January, against the killing of 3 American soldiers at a logistics support base “Tower 22” in Jordan on the border with Syria, and on October 7, in the Gaza Strip, for the first time since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, US intelligence services specifically Pointed the finger at the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq”, a group of widely influential Iraqi factions with close ties to Tehran.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby indicated that the Iraqi “Hezbollah Brigade”, considered the most prominent faction in the “Islamic resistance in Iraq”, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The “Islamic Resistance” has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks using drones or missiles on US troops in Iraq and Syria, which are part of the international coalition against ISIS.
There have been more than 165 attacks on US forces since the war in Gaza began, revealing the extent of escalating regional tensions.
Factions that explicitly declared their affiliation with the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” include the al-Nujaba Movement and the Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades.
Washington classifies as “terrorist” organizations all groups that demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and stand in solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel.
These factions are also part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of military groups that are part of the official Iraqi security forces.
What are the goals?
Over the past few weeks, Washington has bombed Kata'ib Hezbollah and Harakat al-Nujaba positions in Iraq.
US forces said they attacked a “logistics support center for the Popular Mobilization Forces” in central Baghdad.
It also targeted the Jurf al-Sakhr area, a closed area protected by strict security measures where the activities of armed groups are concentrated and located 60 kilometers south of Baghdad.
It also targeted the al-Qaim border area, where there is an official crossing point for entry into Syria, specifically areas where pro-Iran factions are based in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor.
Military expert Riad Kahvaji says the United States “may want to attack weapons depots (in Iraq) and areas from which drones are launched, and will try to identify depots that contain missiles.”
In Syria, the areas where Iraqi factions are located are “mainly in al-Mayadeen and al-Bukamal in the Deir ez-Zor region (…) in the eastern part of Syria, close to the Iraqi border”, which These are the two biggest centers that can be targeted,” according to Kahwaji.
“The city of Deir ez-Zor, the Palmyra desert in central Syria, where there are airports from which drones fly, al-Bukamal and al-Mayadeen” are potential targets, says Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They are “the most (vulnerable) areas to target.” and “perhaps at a later stage, the Aleppo area in northern Syria.
Abdul Rahman confirmed that “several bases and sites of pro-Iranian fighters have been evacuated” in eastern Deir ez-Zor province. Meanwhile, “a large part of Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers withdrew to Damascus,” he said.
In similar measures in Iraq, Agence France-Presse reported, which it described as an official from an Iranian-backed faction, that he had responded to US threats “by relocating some equipment and evacuating some camps to alternative locations.” Took measures to cope.”
Another official said “some field commanders” have defected to Iran, while others have moved to “safe locations”.
Despite Washington's pledge of revenge, US officials reiterated that they do not want to escalate into a “widespread war” in the Middle East. Tehran also denied being behind the attack that killed three US soldiers and wounded dozens, and reiterated it was not trying to escalate tensions.
Late last January, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades announced it was “suspending” its attacks against American “occupation forces” and called on its fighters to “passively defend if there are any hostile American actions toward them.” , as he said.
The Hezbollah Brigades statement absolved Iran of responsibility for the attacks, emphasizing that Tehran “objects to the pressure and escalation against US occupation forces in Iraq and Syria.”
The al-Nujaba Movement issued a statement today, Friday, in which it pledged to continue attacks against US troops, and warned that “any (US) target will face a commensurate response.” “
Yesterday, Thursday, US Undersecretary for Middle Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf criticized the attacks launched by Iraqi factions and considered that they are an “attack on the sovereignty” of the Iraqi state and also a violation of its “arms control.” and national and foreign security policies.”
He confirmed that the file is subject to “vigorous consultation” with Iraqi authorities. The US official called on Iraqi authorities to control these groups, saying, “We would like to see more action.”