by Michael Knights – PolicyWatch 3292 March 30, 2020 Unless Washington intervenes with cost-effective, forceful measures, Iraqi Kurdistan could be the first Middle Eastern economy to implode under the pressure of coronavirus and low oil prices. For the second time in six years, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the most pro-American part of the country, […]
Looting Documented in Nearly 30 Areas Since April 2019, Constituting a War Crime Press release: 31 March 2020 SYRIAN NETWORK FOR HUMAN RGHTS The Syrian Network for Human Rights reveals in its report released today that widespread looting by Syrian and Iranian regime forces in and around Idlib threatens the return of the displaced people […]
This analysis is co-published by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project(CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute.
Key Takeaway: Iranian proxies in Iraq have sustained attacks since the killing of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in an attempt to provoke a US response that will lead to the expulsion of American forces from the country.Iranian proxies began a campaign of rocket attacks on US positions in Iraq in October 2019. These attacks are intended to goad the US into responses that will bring political pressure on Iraqi leaders to expel American forces. Iraqi proxies have conducted at least 14 attacks since early January, indicating that Soleimani’s killing did not cause a de-escalation. An Iranian proxy instead escalated on March 11 with the largest rocket attack since Soleimani’s death, causing two US casualties. The scale of this attack—like theDecember 27th attack that caused the first US casualty—indicated heightened effort to cause American casualties. Its timing indicates an attempt to incite a US response that will make the US presence politically untenable for Iraqi politicians days before thedeadline to elect a new prime minister in Iraq.The USresponse on March 12 accidentallykilled non-proxy Iraqi citizens, prompting Iraqi leaders—including Iraqi President Barham Salih—to *accuse the US of violating Iraqi sovereignty. The Iranian regime may also welcome heightened tensions with the US as an enemy other than its own ineptitude amid its failure to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.