The US regime is preparing for a confrontation with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq while Iran struggles to cope with the consequences of the Corona-virus inside its borders. This looks like a good time for Americans to strike – but it isn’t.
Instead of leaving Iraq, the US military is engaged in a strategic redeployment of forces inside the oil-rich nation, including the deployment of surface-to-air missiles whose only logical purpose was to defend against an Iranian ballistic missile threat.
This movement of forces has reinforced concerns that some in the Trump administration might seek to exploit Iran’s perceived weakness brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The reality, however, is far different: Iran is prepared to defend itself using the totality of its defense resources. Any wrong US move against Iran would be a miscalculation with devastating results.
Iran has emerged as the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East. As of April 1, Iran’s health ministry reported over 47,000 confirmed cases with more than 3,000 deaths.
The severity of the Covid-19 outbreak in Iran has been interpreted by some policy makers inside the Trump administration as proof that the ongoing campaign of “maximum pressure,” based upon the application of stringent economic sanctions, has succeeded.
The US regime has long been involved in a shadow war with Iran over which side can exert the most control over the Iraqi government on Baghdad.
Some believe that, given the inevitability of an Iranian response, Pompeo and O’Brien are planning for a larger military operation which would include major attacks against Iran that could lead to the removal of the Iranian government.
Recent military moves in the region indicate that the USA is preparing for some sort of major action in Iraq. Over the past few weeks, the USA has consolidated its forces in Iraq, withdrawing from several more isolated bases and concentrating troops in two larger base complexes, one near Al Qaim and the other at the Al Asad Air Base.
The USA has begun deploying Patriot missile units to both Al Qaim and Al Asad, ostensibly to protect against missile attacks from Khaitab Hezbollah and Iran. The American military mission there is to train Iraqi troops to combat the Shi’ite Islamic state of Iran.
A confrontation between the US military and the Iraqi PMF that brought in Iran would turn into a bloodbath for all involved. For its part, Iran has shown itself able to walk and chew gum at the same time, meaning that it can simultaneously cope with the Covid-19 outbreak and prepare for a wider war with the USA in Iraq.
The same cannot be said for the Trump administration. Hopefully saner heads will prevail, and the White House will heed General White’s cautionary advice. The alternative will only bring disaster.