The prospects of military confrontation between America and Iran in Iraq (report)
The warning issued by the United States to Iran that it will respond «quickly and decisively to any attack on its interests in Iraq», the latest manifestations of the conflict over the years between Washington and Tehran on the Iraqi arena, which turned into a field of confrontation between the two countries. The warning came after the fall of rocket-propelled grenades On the Green Zone in Baghdad, which includes the headquarters of the Iraqi government and parliament as well as foreign diplomatic missions, led by the compound of the US Embassy in the Iraqi capital.
Several mortar shells landed inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad on Friday, the first such attack on the heavily fortified area, but caused no injuries or damage. It was followed by a rocket attack on Basra airport in southern Iraq, which is located in the vicinity of the US consulate.
The statement issued by the White House press secretary on Tuesday accused Iran of “not intervening to stop these attacks by agents in Iraq supported by funding, training and weapons,” warning that the United States “will consider the regime in Tehran responsible for any attack resulting from it Injuries or damage to US government facilities. ”
The US warning to Iran raises questions about the possibility of direct confrontation between Washington and Tehran on the Iraqi arena or through the Iraqi armed groups associated with Iran, especially in light of the escalation witnessed by US-Iranian relations, which observers see as a candidate for further tension and crisis under the current US administration.
There is a link between the missile attack on the Green Zone and the Basra airport, and the hot protests witnessed in the province of Basra last week, during which the demonstrators burned the headquarters of the Iranian consulate in Basra, and their attack against Iran, which they blamed for the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Basra, and called for an end to the influence Iranian conflict in their country. This position led observers to believe that the targeting of the Green Zone may have been a response or a message by Tehran’s allies to the events of Basra demonstrations against the interests of Iran, which in turn accused parties that said it wanted to sabotage the Iranian-Iraqi relations behind them.
However, analysts see that the confrontation between Tehran and Washington on the Iraqi arena, as well as a precedent for the events of Basra and the recent back to the period immediately following the US invasion of Iraq and the fall of the regime of President Saddam Hussein, it goes far beyond these events because it concerns the conflict on the influence and interests between the States The United States and Iran in the entire region, of which Iraq appears to be a battleground.
The atmosphere of tension between Washington and Tehran on the Iraqi arena raises questions about the possibility of a proxy war between them through their agents or allies in Iraq, especially in light of the division of the Iraqi Shiite parties themselves between Iran and the United States. Also Iran may seek through this war in the case The outbreak of the exhaustion of the American side and the disruption of direct attack on them.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated sharply after President Trump came to the White House early last year, adopting a tougher policy toward Tehran and announcing that he would address Iran’s policies in the region, which he considered threatened the interests of the United States and its allies. President Donald Trump announced a withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran and decided to impose further economic sanctions on Iran and threaten “serious consequences” if it resumed its nuclear work. At the same time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has drawn up a list of 12 demands that Iran must implement to avoid “the most severe sanctions in history.”
This move was followed by an upsurge of anti-American sentiment on the part of the Iraqi armed factions and groups associated with Iran or its pro-government. These factions escalated their anti-American rhetoric by launching a series of threats from their leaders, as well as propaganda campaigns that ended with the publication of dozens of banners and wall paintings Baghdad attacks Washington and US President.
There have recently been reports of possible confrontation between the United States and Iran’s armed forces in Iraq, especially in light of the fact that Tehran has been transporting short-range ballistic missiles to Iraqi militant groups fighting in Iraq. The range of these missiles is between 200 and 700 kilometers, which places regional capitals at a distance that can be hit if they are deployed in southern or western Iraq.
While observers believe that the transfer of these Iranian missiles to Iraq, if properly reported, is a message to the United States and Israel, especially after the air strikes on Iranian forces in Syria, this development may lead to a military confrontation on the territory of Iraq between the United States and some Iraqi factions The observers do not rule out that the United States proactively launched raids on the positions of these factions with the aim of destroying these missiles inside Iraqi territory, especially near the western border of the country, where Tehran’s allies have large training camps and financing operations inside Syrian territory.
But this scenario has many caveats, as it is not in the interest of the United States to provoke or confront armed groups in Iraq, because these groups can incite public opinion against the American presence. However, the possession of these Iranian ballistic missiles could threaten the Israeli ally or US interests, a transgression of American red lines, which could prompt Washington to respond violently.
However, analysts and experts on the Iraqi issue believe that despite the logical expectations of escalating tension between Washington and Tehran on the Iraqi arena, but the realities of the field in Iraq, the balance of power and influence and interests, and the experience of pragmatic relations between the two parties since the prelude to the US invasion of Iraq to date, Will not reach the level of military confrontation between the two parties, and if it happened will be to push the followers to confrontations limited and controlled.
These analysts believe that whatever the current tension between Washington and Tehran, whether escalating or calming, the constant is that Iraq will remain a major arena of confrontation between the parties, in which each side reveals its papers. While Washington considers this country to be a strategic investment ground for US interests, Tehran considers Iraq its last line of defense, and will mean an end to its regional project. All this makes Iraq a potential arena for open confrontation between the United States and Iran until further notice.