April 1, 2020
As Baghdad and commanders of Iran’s close ally, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (P.M.F.) warn of an imminent U.S. attack on Iran’s Shi’ite militia proxies in Iraq, some top military and political figures in Tehran are warning Washington against the move.
In a tweet on Tuesday, March 31, former (1980-97) Chief-Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major-General Mohsen Rezaei, compared a U.S. possible attack to an assault by the ISIS, adding, “America should leave Iraq; otherwise Iraqis will kick them out.”
Meanwhile, in a statement on Tuesday, IRGC said, “Even one little mistake by the evil and adventurous enemies at any point against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be their last mistake.”
Evil is a term used by the Islamic Republic authorities to refer to the United States.
Furthermore, the statement cautioned, “The Islamic Republic’s response will be definitive and devastating and will not even give them the opportunity to regret their actions”.
The statement boasted that Iran’s influence has expanded to regions beyond West Asia, creating “a nightmare” for the U.S., Israel and their allies.
In the meantime, speaking to the IRGC-run news agency, Tasnim, the Guards’ deputy in political affairs, Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, echoed Rezaei’s comments and said that any U.S. military action in Iraq would turn into America’s “greatest defeat”.
Highlighting what he described as the “unity” and “power” of Iran’s allies and “resistance forces” in the “strategic region” of West Asia, Javani cautioned Washington against new attacks in Iraq.
Iraqi militia’s have vowed to take more revenge for the January U.S. air attack that killed Iran’s Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
In the meantime, reports said on Monday that the U.S. had increased the number of its Patriot anti-air defense systems around Iraqi military bases where American troops are deployed.
One of the Patriot batteries was deployed to the Ain al-Asad base last week and was being assembled, according to a U.S. defense official and an Iraqi military source, AFP reported on Monday.
The base was targeted by Iran in January, following a U.S. drone strike that killed the IRGC’s Chief Commander of its extraterritorial military operations, Major General Qassem Soleimani.
Furthermore, AFP said that the U.S. is also set to transfer two more Patriot anti-air systems from Kuwait to Iraq.
New deployments in Iraq have strengthened the speculations that possible military engagements in the region are imminent.
New York Times and Washington Post also reported in recent days that Pentagon was planning attacks against Iraqi forces allied with the Islamic Republic.
“Annihilation of Kata’ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades), in particular, is on Pentagon’s agenda,” New York Times reported.
Washington Post also said that, in recent months, the Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups had intensified their attacks on the U.S. military and diplomatic targets.
According to AFP, Iraq’s caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi warned on Monday against any “offensive military action without the approval of the Iraqi government” but did not specifically mention the Patriots.
Nevertheless, U.S. coalition officials have said the ultimate aim of new anti-air deployments is to continue the U.S. support for Iraqi forces battling extremist groups like the Islamic State, but “from fewer bases and with fewer people”.