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There have been at least four rocket attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq, including one that killed two American soldiers and a British medic, as we reported here.

One might conclude the U.S. is consolidating and relocating personnel to better fortified bases around the country.

But that’s not what the official word is, for now.

Instead, Pentagon officials are saying the moves were planned awhile back, and are a result of success in the fight against ISIS.

“As a result of the success of Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against ISIS, the Coalition is repositioning troops from a few smaller bases,” Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the anti-ISIS mission, said in a statement. “These bases remain under Iraqi control and we will continue our advising partnership for the permanent defeat of Daesh from other Iraqi military bases.”

But as with everything, the situation is a bit more complicated than that.

 

Iraq is currently in political upheaval. The country is deeply divided over whether to allow the United States to have a presence at all, and after four months of haggling, still has not formed a government.

The current Prime Minister-designate, Adnan al Zurfi, was born in the U.S. and lived in Chicago and then Dearborn Heights, MI before returning to Iraq. He was appointed governor of Najaf by then-U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer

Zurfi is seen as a brash leader who once described the Obama administration’s reluctance to devote more resources to the fight against ISIS in Iraq as “bullshit.”

But he’s also seen as a puppet of the U.S. So far, the United States has refrained from directly endorsing him.

 

The most recent attacks on U.S.-led forces, one on the Green Zone in Baghdad, where the U.S. has its embassy, and one on another coalition base in Basmaya, were relatively minor and caused no casualties. But some analysts in the region think it might be groups hostile to Zurfi.

However the earlier, more lethal attacks are believed to have Iran’s fingerprints all over them.

Per Defense One, “two of the recent attacks targeted the Camp Taji, a base north of Baghdad, and are believed to be the work of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed proxy militia group determined to oust the United States from Iraq.

In the first attack, militants fired 30 rockets from a truck bed; 18 reached their target. The second attack was launched from seven fixed eight-cell launchers in an abandoned garage. Twenty-five rockets hit the base, while 30 failed to fire.

However, Iran may soon have even bigger problems to deal with, than destabilizing Iraq and driving out the U.S.

 

The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Iran and has already claimed the lives of a number of clerics and officials in the Islamic Republic, including Seyyed Mohammad Mir Mohammadi, a member of the Expediency Council and former chief of staff for Ayatollah Khamenei.

In the Iranian parliament, at least 24 members have the virus, including two who died: Fatemeh Rahbar, from Tehran; and Mohammad Ali Ramezani, from Gilan. A local mayor of district 13 in Tehran, Mojtaba Rahmanzadeh, was also diagnosed with it.

Several senior members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are also reportedly dead, including IRGC official Farzad Tazari and High-ranking officer Abdollah Jafarzadeh .

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 80 years old and has been in power since 1989, was seen wearing disposable gloves at a recent public event.

So far, Iran has reported 14,991 confirmed cases and 853 deaths, but given the nature of Iran’s theocracy, one might be forgiven for doubting the “official” numbers.

 

In any event, we’re all for protecting the lives of our service members, whether it’s from enemy attack or illness. We’re not a nation who cuts and runs. But if we’re going to fight, let’s use all our might, and do it right.

 

Nine Line is an American Clothing Company with American made Apparel and Accessories- Veteran Owned and Operated

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