What Happened: An apparent airstrike on a warehouse in eastern Iraq has killed two Hezbollah fighters and injured some Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members, Al Arabiya reported July 19. According to the head of the Council of Arab tribes in Iraq, the strike targeted a Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) warehouse with ballistic missiles from Iran destined for its allies in Iraq.
Why It Matters: Details have not yet emerged on who carried out the attack, but if the United States ordered the strike, it would be part of Washington's strategy to deter Iran from conducting regional attacks from Iraqi territory. However, it remains possible that other regional powers, such as Israel, launched the airstrike in an attempt to target Lebanese Hezbollah forces.
Background: Iran has been stepping up its efforts to support its proxy forces in Iraq since the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal in May 2018. According to an August 2018 report, Iran has reportedly begun transferring ballistic missiles to Iranian-backed PMU members.
- Iran Goes All in for a Game of Nuclear Chicken (July 11, 2019)
- Tehran Journeys Down a Provocative Nuclear Path (July 8, 2019)
- Why the U.S. Plan to Protect Tankers in the Persian Gulf Won't Deter Iran (July 8, 2019)