Prelims & Mains: International relations – Iraq and US
1. What has happened?
Iran has confirmed it launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at two military bases — Al Asad and Erbil in Iraq — that house US troops.
The Pentagon says the bases came under fire from “at least a dozen ballistic missiles” and it was clear the missiles were launched from Iran.
It’s currently unknown if there are any casualties from the revenge operation or the extent of the damage to the bases.
2. Why has this happened?
On January 4, the United States killed Iran’s most powerful military general, Qassem Soleimani, by firing three missiles at Baghdad airport.
General Soleimani was the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and responsible for many of the nation’s proxy wars in the Middle East.
In a statement after the attack, the Pentagon said the strike was aimed at “deterring future Iranian attack plans” and it carried out the attack to “protect US personnel abroad”.
For context, academic Ranj Alaaldin described the attack as “bigger than taking out Osama bin Laden”.
On Tuesday millions of people attended funerals for General Soleimani, the first time Iran honoured a single person with a multi-city ceremony.
3. Is this actually the start of World War III?
It’s far too early to tell what might happen next, despite #WorldWarThree trending on social media in the days since the US killed General Soleimani.
Journalist with Al Jazeera based in Doha, and a former global affairs and Indigenous affairs analyst for the ABC, Stan Grant, wrote that Iran was dwarfed by the United States by any measure.
More Details: Read below;
Two airbases of the United States and coalition forces in Iraq were hit by more than a dozen rockets early this morning. It is unclear if there were any casualties.
The Pentagon said, at least two sites were attacked, in Erbil and Al-Asad.
White House Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said, in a statement, that the White House is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with the national security team.
The attack on the Ain al-Asad airbase came after pro-Tehran factions in Iraq had vowed to join forces to respond to an American drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.
United States President Donald Trump has said that pulling out US troops from Iraq will be the worst thing for the country. He made the statement yesterday, after the Iraqi Parliament demanded expulsion of American forces.
Some 5,000 US soldiers are deployed in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the IS terror group. On Sunday, the Iraqi Parliament had passed a resolution to terminate the agreement that allows for US troops in the country.
Mr Trump said, if we leave that would mean that Iran would have a much bigger foothold and the people in Iraq do not want to see Iran running the country. In a brief interaction with reporters at the Oval Office of the White House, President Trump said at some point the US will want to get out of Iraq.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has issued a statement saying it has fired tens of ground-to-ground missiles at the airbase occupied by the terrorist and aggressive army of the United States known as Ein Al-Assad in reprisal for the martyrdom of IRGC Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
The IRGC warned the US to avoid retaliating the Wednesday attack or else it will face a more painful and crushing response.
The IRGC statement also warned all the US-allied states where the terrorist army has a base, any territory that becomes the origin of any hostile and aggressive action against the Islamic Republic of Iran in any way will be targeted.
The IRGC also called on the American nation to pressure the White House to pull their troops our of the region to avoid further damage and not allow the US rulers to endanger the lives of their military men through increasing hatred.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said the attack was in retaliation for the death of Soleimani on Friday.
Source: News on Air, ABC News