Iranian leaders hoping to seize on the United States military engagement in the coronavirus pandemic have been dealt another hard dose of reality: America’s military remains well prepared to defend our nation, both here and abroad. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper acknowledged this week that the virus, over time, may have "some impact on readiness," but will not affect our ability to conduct our national security missions.
We're reminded — yet again — that the men and women of our armed forces are further strengthened in times of crisis, and in times of political turmoil.
One of the most recent Iranian-backed militia’s truck-mounted Katusha rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq happened as the U.S. Senate was voting whether or not to impeach President Trump. The virtually non-existent news coverage of that attack in the U.S. assured Iran that the United States would not respond.
The Iranian rocket attack went unanswered.
Now, as the White House is focused on its response to a contagion predicted to infect between 70 and 150 million Americans, while urging Congress to pass emergency legislation, the Iranian-backed militia have launched yet another dastardly truck-mounted Katusha rocket attack on another U.S. base — in Iraq.
If President Trump ordered a counter-strike during the midst of the latest iteration of the coronavirus crisis, it would send a strong signal. Iranians are under the impression they can launch truck-mounted rocket attacks against our forces and bases in Iraq with complete immunity provided they do it at key points in time when attention is rightly focused on the coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary Esper has been clear all along that the United States will not tolerate Iran-backed attacks against our people and our allies; saying, "all options are on the table as we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence."
It should go without saying that American interests are gravely weakened if our adversaries believe that they can launch attacks against the U.S. military without response.
Recent attacks were not proceeded by a telephone call to warn of the incoming rockets, as the Iranians did after the heightened tensions in the aftermath of the United States taking out Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who had been responsible for the deaths and maiming of more than a thousand U.S. troops with his Iranian supplied Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
These devices have been used in Iraq for more than a decade.
No telephone calls recently.
The last three Iranian-backed truck-mounted rocket attacks on U.S. targets were bolt-from-the-blue attacks. The weapon systems bought and paid for by Iran for their surrogate militia in Iraq are standing army type-weapon MLRS systems.
In and of themselves, they represent a significant escalation of enemy threats against the United States.
The latest rocket barrage on March 11, 2020, killed two American soldiers, and one British.
There comes a point in time when restraint invites further attacks.
Our bases in Balad, Taji, and other joint Iraqi and U.S. outposts in the north of Iraq have already been hit by other recent truck mounted Katusha rocket attacks.
On Jan. 3, 2020, President Trump ordered the elimination of the Quds Force Commander, Gen. Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis via a drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport (BIAP).
The second, the March 14 truck-mounted rocket attack on Americans was significant because it likely reflects a new, more aggressive posture due to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khomenei replacing the late Gen. Soleimani with the former Quds Force Deputy, Esmail Ghaani.
As an added touch, the first of the two latest truck-mounted rocket attack was carried out on March 11, Gen. Soleimani’s birthday.
Most Mideast experts attribute this rocket attack to the PMF, the Kataib Hezbollah.
The time has come for the United States to stop these rocket barrages on our forces.
It is time for the U.S. to launch a Soleimani-like response.
Better yet, our response should include an enhanced irregular warfare approach that Iran is not anticipating.
As we proudly witness our military support President Trump’s whole-of-government response efforts to fight coronavirus, I have the full faith and confidence in our military to use all of the tools in our arsenal to protect our citizens, both here and abroad.
Cory Mills is a highly decorated combat veteran with experience in multiple theaters of operation. He is Founder and CEO of PACEM Solutions International and PACEM Defense LLC, which acquired AMTEC Less Lethal Systems, Inc., in 2018. For most of his adult life, Cory Mills has honorably served U.S. military, diplomatic, and USAID missions. After Mr. Mills was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, he served as a subcontractor for the U.S. State Department from 2005-2010. During this time, he worked with thousands of diplomatic missions in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and the U.S. Consul in Erbil. In 2016, the Republic of Iraq credited PACEM with assisting operations which led to the raising of Iraq’s flag at the Fallujah Governor’s Office for the first time in nearly three years. Prior to this, ISIS was flying the flag of the Caliph in Fallujah. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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