Iraqi militias seek truce with US, report says
Iranian-sponsored Iraqi militias have reportedly agreed to suspend operations against US troops if the US ends attacks on militia positions in Iraq and Syria.
The Middle East Eye website reported that the commanders of key groups in Baghdad were ready to resume an informal truce, “provided the Americans also remain calm.” The United States has yet to respond to the proposal.
The militias’ goal is to “contain” a dangerously worsening situation after US air raids on militia positions in Syria and Iraq prompted militia to fire rockets at a US base near the field. al-Omari oilfield in eastern Syria.
As four Iraqi fighters were killed in US strikes, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition tweeted that US troops suffered no casualties.
Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Badr Organization, a leading Shiite militia and political party, allegedly attended the Baghdad rally; and Abu Fadak al-Mohammadawi, chief of staff of the People’s Mobilization Authority, the umbrella body for the mainly Shiite militias that have united to fight the Islamic State.
“Death to America”
Among those who sent representatives were Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada, the two targets of the US raid as they were primarily responsible for attacks on Iraqi bases hosting US forces. Although some factions have threatened to resume attacks, they are likely to respect the consensus.
Nonetheless, thousands of fighters mourning their fallen comrades marched to Liberation Square near the walled Green Zone of Baghdad, site of the United States Embassy, chanting “Death to America” and “Vengeance. for the martyrs ”.
Since the January 2020 assassination in Iraq by American drones of Iranian force commander Quds Qassem Suleimani and deputy popular mobilization leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi parliament, in which the militias are strongly represented, has been lobbying on Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi to demand the total withdrawal of American troops. Instead, he tried and failed to subdue the militias.
“Risk of escalation”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby called the US strikes, the Biden administration’s second, “defensive” and said the United States had taken “necessary, appropriate and deliberate measures designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message. ”.
The administration launched its first strikes against the same factions in February.
So far this year, Iranian-backed Shiite militias have launched at least 40 attacks against US forces in Iraq. Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr Jessica McNulty told the Military Times that five armed drone strikes triggered the latest strikes.
The United States has become particularly concerned with the introduction of these weapons. Unlike rockets and artillery shells, which have fixed launch sites that can be knocked out, drones can be flown from anywhere.