The anti-government protests in Iran are hitting closer to home as the first direct rocket attack hits the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad over the weekend. Given recent events in Iraq and the recent missile attack on Americans by Iran, the fact that there was zero network or cable news coverage is telling, and may write a new rule of warfare: attack the U.S. during a presidential impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate — No one will notice.
President Trump drew the line in the sand in Iraq; that line has been crossed.
We cannot allow this to go unnoticed; the time to respond is now.
Five explosions were heard in the vicinity of the U.S. Baghdad Embassy Compound (BEC) Sunday morning and the Katyusha rockets were likely launched by Kata’ib Hezbollah, from their vehicle mounted multi-rocket launchers.
These Katyusha rocket launching platforms have been effective in launching numerous attacks in Iraq against U.S. and western forces. We’ve seen these same attacks in Kirkuk, at the Balad Airbase, and this tactic has been used on numerous Iraqi military outposts.
This event comes after leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, declared, "the U.S. military in the Middle East would pay the price for killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani."
It is widely known that the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known in the region as Hashd al-Shaabi, is a prominent militia and proxy force, used by Iranian Quds Force to launch attacks against the American forces in Iraq, while indirectly connecting the Iranian regime.
The PMF pro-Iranian militia was trained and armed through the Quds Force and was used to help combat Daeysh (ISIS) during the height of the attacks and invasion in Iraq.
The PMF have lost the public support of Ayatollah Ali, al-Sistani, and the Grand Iranian Ayatollah because the of the PMF’s conduct towards Iraqi citizens and because of PMF’s targeting of local Iraqis through many of his speeches on Fridays.
But this public distancing of the PMF from Iran makes them the perfect cut-out to launch missile attacks against the U.S. Baghdad Embassy Compound without directly connecting the attack to Iran.
The problem for Iran is that these types of attacks, if they continue, can leave a trail of evidence which will lead, inevitably to the U.S. targeting Iran directly.
The other potential problem for Iran is that this attack directly contradicts their public statement that Iran would not retaliate further if the United States did not respond to its ballistic missile attack.
This attack on the Baghdad embassy compound could represent a violation of that Iranian pledge, in which case so high profile military or economic targets should be hit in Iran, including key overpasses and bridges that would snarl Tehran traffic for months, acting like itching powder on population already fed up with its rulers.
But this impeachment rocket attack launched an hour after the President’s team began its defense in the senate trial, cannot continue without a proper and swift response by the U.S. against the PFM.
Was this was attack timed to be a direct insult to President Trump?
We must understand that while the sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury have been hard hitting, taking a dramatic toll on Iran’s ability to continue its funding of proxy militias, they are still active and capable of reaching out and hitting key U.S. targets.
This attack may also signal a pivot to more of a guerilla-irregular warfare tactic of Iran against U.S. forces in the region.
The United States should look a expanding its repertoire of operations beyond only Joint Special Operations Command and Counter-terrorism strikes. We too should think about irregular warfare operations against the PFM and other Iranian backed forces.
In addition to these types of military operations, combined with the effective economic sanctions against Iran, the U.S. should consider information operations to counter Iranian propaganda operations successes, such as, this recent attack on the U.S. Baghdad Embassy compound with a rocket fusillade and the U.S. media not reporting it.
If we do nothing in response, it supports Iran’s propaganda that they control the area stronger than U.S. forces. We must adhere to President Trump’s policy restricting attacks on our embassies or face the risk of future attacks.
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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