White House Accuses Iran of Supporting Attacks on U.S. Personnel in Iraq and Syria
The White House has officially accused Iran of "actively facilitating" a recent series of attacks on American personnel in Iraq and Syria. The statement, made on Monday, emphasized that the United States remains committed to defending its interests in the region despite the escalating tensions.
In the past week, U.S. troops stationed in Syria, western Iraq, and the Kurdistan Region have faced rocket and drone attacks carried out by pro-Iran militias. These attacks are seen as a response to Washington's support for Israel during its conflict with Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby expressed deep concern about the potential escalation of these attacks on American bases in Iraq and Syria. He also noted that the U.S. has begun taking steps to ensure it can respond decisively to such strikes if necessary.
"We know these groups are supported by the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and their regime. We know Iran continues to support Hamas and Hezbollah. And we know that Iran is closely monitoring these events and, in some cases, actively facilitating these attacks and spurring on others who may want to exploit the conflict for their own good or for that of Iran," Kirby stated during a press conference on Monday.
The group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed responsibility for several of these recent attacks. Kirby emphasized, "We know Iran's goal is to maintain some level of deniability here, but we're not going to allow them to do that."
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani held separate phone calls with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday. The U.S. officials stressed the need to protect U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq, and Iraq's commitment to achieving that was affirmed by Sudani.
Prime Minister Sudani had previously condemned the repeated strikes on bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq, emphasizing that the United States is in Iraq on an official invitation to support and train security forces.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced new deployments to the Middle East "to further strengthen the Department of Defense posture in the region." This decision followed discussions with President Joe Biden regarding "recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region." The new deployments include a carrier strike group and Patriot missile defense batteries, although their specific locations were not disclosed.
As the situation continues to develop, the international community closely watches the tensions in the Middle East, with concerns about the potential for further escalations in the region.