Watchdog: US-Iranian tensions ‘probably cast doubt’ among Iraqi forces over continued US support

US tensions with Iran playing out in Iraq ‘probably have cast doubt’ among Iraqi forces over their relationship with the US-led coalition fighting ISIS, according to a monitoring report released on Wednesday.

Citing responses he received from the Pentagon’s office of the Undersecretary for Policy and International Security Affairs, the chief inspector of Operation Inherent Resolve reported on Wednesday the fallout from the US drone attack that killed a senior Iranian general “” probably sowed doubt in the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces]’ to find out if the coalition would continue to provide support in the future.

The office also told the inspector general that the coalition “has restarted its full range of ISF support to the extent force protection concerns allow, but indicated that rising tensions with Iran and its agents complicated the relationship between [the coalition] and the ISF.

US-Iranian tensions began to rise in Iraq in December after US officials accused an Iran-backed militia of launching a rocket attack that killed a US contractor.

Tensions then skyrocketed earlier this year following the US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani while he was at Baghdad International Airport. Iran responded with a missile strike on two Iraqi military bases housing US troops, wounding more than 100 US soldiers.

In March, US officials accused the Iran-backed militia of being responsible for another rocket attack in Iraq that killed two US soldiers. The US military responded with airstrikes on militia weapons caches.

US-Iranian tensions prompted the US military to prioritize force protection and in turn suspend training and support for Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS in January.

The coalition told the inspector general “that relations with Iraqi counterparts have suffered because of the pause in US operations against ISIS,” according to the report.

“He said that while most relations with ISF resumed at the end of the break, they did not resume at ‘pre-break levels,'” the report added.

The report is the latest sign of US-Iranian tensions affecting US-Iraq relations.

In January, the Iraqi parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for the expulsion of US troops from the country.

“Iran-aligned factions within the Iraqi government have also sought to expel US forces from Iraq over the strike, but those efforts appear to have stalled due to the ongoing political crisis in Iraq,” the statement said. Wednesday’s report.

Iraq struggled to choose a new prime minister for months after Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in response to protests. The political crisis was resolved last week when Iraq’s parliament approved Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former US-backed intelligence chief.

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