What a time for war to be brewing in the Middle East yet again: Washington warned Iraq's government on Monday it is ready to act “self-defense” if American forces come under attack. This follows last week's rocket attacks on Taji base just north of Baghdad, which houses US troops. At least two Americans have been killed in the recent attacks, blamed on Iran-backed militias, especially Kataib Hezbollah.
Pompeo told Iraqi PM Adil Abd al-Mahdi in a phone call that Baghdad “must defend Coalition personnel supporting the Iraqi government's efforts to defeat ISIS,” according to a Monday State Dept. press release.
Those “responsible for the attacks must be held accountable,” the statement warned. The US “will not tolerate attacks and threats to American lives” and will take “military action as necessary in self-defense,” it added.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week "all options" remain on the table, and that President Trump had authorized a military response. An initial Pentagon response did come last Thursday in the form of broad airstrikes across southern Iraq, targeting at least 5 Kataib Hezbollah military sites.
Iraq was prompt to condemn the US strikes which left at least 6 dead, most Iraqi national military personnel, as well as one civilian.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry says it will submit a formal complaint to the UN Security Council condemning the repeat US violations of Iraqi sovereignty.
"Iraq will complain to the United Nations and the Security Council about overnight U.S. air strikes, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Friday," Reuters reports. "The Iraqi military said earlier on Friday that the air strikes had killed six people and described them as a violation of sovereignty."