Iraqi Officials Say Israeli Strikes Are "Declaration Of War" - Demand US Forces Exit

One of the obvious and expected consequences or instances of 'blowback' from Israel's unprecedented decision to extend its "anti-Iran" campaign into Iraq, with three airstrikes widely blamed on either Israeli drones or possibly F-35s in the last five weeks, is that it will force a deepening conflict between Iraq's military and US coalition forces.

There's long been a broad base of Iraqi support that would like to see the American presence completely out of the country with the Islamic State long defeated, but now that political bloc just got a lot stronger in the wake of the alleged Israeli raids, at least one of which US officials have already admitted Israel bore responsibility for (a July 19 attack on a Popular Mobilization Forces base in Amirli). A powerful pro-Iran faction of parliament has called Israel's alleged attacks "a declaration of war".

Aftermath of the recent 'mystery blast' at a military base southwest of Baghdad. Image source: AP

The Associated Press reports in the aftermath of yet another Israeli drone strike targeting and killing a Kataeb Hezbollah leader in al-Qaim, Iraq near the Syrian border that, "A powerful bloc in Iraq's parliament is calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq following a series of airstrikes blamed on Israel targeting Iran-backed Shiite militias in the country."

The influential and powerful Fatah Coalition, representing the country's pro-Iranian Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) issued a statement Monday holding the United States responsible for facilitation Israeli aggression on Iraqi soil, “which we consider to be a declaration of war on Iraq and its people,” the statement said. The statement noted further that American troops are no longer needed and only now serve to jeopardize Iraqi national security. 

PMF commanders and officials have over the past weeks been the most vocal part of Iraq's military and government blaming the recent spate of devastating attacks on Israel; however, following last week's explosion at a base outside Baghdad - believed the result of an Israeli airstrike - it appears this view is now gaining support even from the prime minister's office amid an ongoing official investigation into the blasts.

Footage showing the August 12th arms depot blast, widely blamed on Israel. Another strike on a munitions storage depot occurred on Aug. 20, and before this a July 19 attack grabbed headlines. 

Last week Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi had called for an end to all “unauthorized flights” including US drones, spy planes, jets, or helicopters. The directive demanded that all aerial vehicles comply with Iraqi law and operations must be under Iraqi government authorization.