RT – Pulling out the ‘Iran threat’ card, the head of the US Central Command has announced that Washington is in the process of installing “air defense systems” and “ballistic missile defense systems” in Iraq.
US Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie revealed his country’s latest military maneuver in the Middle East during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.
We are also in the process of bringing air defense systems, ballistic missile defense systems, into Iraq in particular, to protect ourselves against another potential Iranian attack.
It’s unclear whether Baghdad has granted the US permission, having threatened to kick out all foreign troops after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani — one of Iran’s most influential military leaders — in a US drone strike on Iraqi soil on January 3 this year.
The US attack enraged many Iraqis back then, who demanded during massive rallies that Washington stop using their country as a middle ground for tensions with Tehran.
Iran for its part retaliated by launching volleys of missiles on January 8, targeting facilities in Iraq where US troops were based.
The attack resulted in no casualties on the US side, although over 100 service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, according to the Pentagon. Analysts alleged that the precision strikes were not designed to inflict any fatalities, rather to show the capabilities of Iran’s militar
Washington justified the assassination by alleging that Soleimani was plotting an imminent attack against the US and its allies, though they presented no evidence or details.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has insisted that, despite Soleimani being more than capable of targeting American commanders, the leader of the elite Quds Force had pursued “stability and calm in the region.”
Also in response to the assassination, Tehran further rolled back its commitments under the fragile Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA). The multinational accord was scrapped by the US unilaterally in May of 2018.