Assessments

The Iranian-U.S. Confrontation in Iraq Grows Hotter

Dec 30, 2019 | 21:44 GMT
Protesters waving the Iraqi flag alongside one of an armed network march in Basra to denounce U.S. airstrikes that killed dozens of Iraqi militia members.

Iraqis wave both the national flag and one from a paramilitary group in Basra on Dec. 30, 2019, during a demonstration to denounce U.S. airstrikes that killed dozens of members of an Iranian-linked militia.

(HUSSEIN FALEH/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. military response against an Iraqi paramilitary group closely affiliated with Iran has further increased the risk that an escalatory pattern of violence between Iran (and its proxies) and the United States will develop. Three U.S. airstrikes on Dec. 29 targeted positions in Iraq where the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah has a presence; concurrent airstrikes hit two of the militia's positions in Syria near Qaim, an Iraqi border city. The airstrikes came in retaliation for a Dec. 27 rocket attack against the K-1 base near Kirkuk that killed a U.S. civilian contractor....

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