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Analysis

What’s Driving US Patriot Missile Deployment In Iraq?

Monday 6 April 2020
What’s Driving US Patriot Missile Deployment In Iraq?

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Alwaght- While Iraq is having struggling to control the coronavirus spread after the months-long ordeal of the street protests, the US is busy evacuating its military bases across the Arab country as it amasses its troops in a couple of big bases. 

As the US gathers its troops in its large bases like Ein Al-Asad in Al-Anbar province and Harir in the capital of the Kurdish region Erbil, an important issue has grabbed the attention of the media and political experts and it is the deployment of Patriot and Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) systems to the Arab country. 

Whereas the US initially said that the interceptors were moved to Iraq in coordination with Baghdad, Iraq officials deny they have authorized Washington to import the batteries to Iraq. Having in mind that the US has sent the systems to Iraq without consent from the Iraqis, what do US President Donald Trump and military leaders seek behind the deployment? How successful would they be in realizing their goals? 

Countering Iraq’s internal attacks 

The first drive behind the US deployment of anti-missile and aircraft systems is to offer protection to the American forces and weaponry operating in Iraq. The American forces over the past few months came under more than one rocket and mortar attacks in the country as the Iraqi resistance groups now recognize them occupying forces. Washington sees vulnerability in its forces in various bases and that is something even highlighted by the American response to the Iraqi leaders’ questioning of the Patriots dispatch to the country. 

Al-Arabi Al-Jadid news outlet, citing a senior official in the office of the Iraqi prime minister, reported that the Iraqi government has told Washington that installation of such systems should come as part of a new and official agreement between the two countries and that the American reference to the 2008 US-Iraq security pact to justify the deployment should trigger a review of the deal and add new terms. 

The Iraqi official, the news website added, said that the White House has offered no explanation to Baghdad about the move. 

“This is the way the US, especially after the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdu Mahdi, has taken in dealing with Baghdad,” the Iraqi official told the news website, adding “the only response the US officials have given to Iraq is that the Patriot systems are moved into Iraq as part of defensive measures to protect the American and also international coalition forces in Iraq.” 

Defensive cover to Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime                

Beyond the US excuse of self-defense for the anti-missile defense systems deployment, Washington has a long-term plan to provide anti-missile protection to Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime as part of a broader regional strategy. To put it differently, factors beyond Iraq are motivating the Americans to send their anti-missile batteries to Iraq. Odds are that the White House plans to offer cover to the occupied Palestinian territories and the northern regions of Saudi Arabia. 

Deployment of Patriots to Iraq is a strategic move the scope of the goals of which goes well beyond the Iraqi borders “because this system can counter any ballistic missile attacks on the Israeli territories. The deployment of the system in Al-Anbar and Erbil can confront such attacks,” an Iraqi official said. Iraqi officials also suggest that the Patriot can cover a vast range of the Iraqi borders with Saudi Arabia which means they can set up a shield against any anti-Saudi missile strikes. 

The final goal: Long-term stay in Iraq 

Aside from the two above-mentioned Washington drives, the key drive is related to the US struggle not to pull out of Iraq using any possible trick. Since the Iraqi parliament approved the foreign troops' exit bill earlier this year, the American political leaders more than any other time understand that their stay plan in Iraq is on a shaky foundation. This understanding over the past few months pushed them to go any path to prepare the ground for their military stay in Iraq, a country where the anti-American sentiments have been surging since Trump ordered on January 3 the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani and his friend Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), both of whom were marked leaders who led ISIS terrorist group obliteration operations in Iraq. 

The Patriot batteries dispatch marks the latest in a series of US efforts to forge the necessary excuses to stay in Iraq. The latest effort apparently wants to use force to secure an Iraqi agreement to keep the Americans in Iraq. 

Just unlike other parts of the West Asia region, Iraq is of extraordinary significance for Trump and his security team. So, the US does not seem to have a plan for easy exit from the country. The deployment seems to carry a warning message to the anti-American forces, especially PMF, that even if they carry out missile strikes, they cannot force the Americans out of Iraq. 

Will the US succeed to release its goals? 

Though the deployment has multiple goals, it does not seem the Americans will make any advances towards their aims. It must be taken into account that a majority of the Iraqi people are opposed to the US military presence on their soil. Add to this the daily increasing number of Iraqi politicians calling for the US pullout. 

In such an atmosphere, anyone serving as Iraq PM cannot stay silent to the US stay. Moreover, the US reinforcements, including the Patriot missiles, have shown severe vulnerability in other places of experience. In fact, the several-hundred-thousand-dollar missiles are not logical to be fired against several-hundred-dollar mortars and rockets. 

As the historical records prove, the use of military force cannot guarantee the stay of an occupying power in another country against the people’s will. The US defeat in Vietnam, a country where the US went to stay, and also the Soviet Red Army’s failure in Afghanistan, very well tell the story of the defeat of the occupation’s military power by the nations’ resolution. Iraq is no exception. 

 

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