The US air force has conducted an airstrike on units of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) volunteer militias operating with the blessing of both the Iraqi and Syrian governments in the war against Salafist terrorism.
The strike took place near the border with Syria in a move that has led many in Iraq to question the ethics and morals of US involvement in the country.
America’s presence in Iraq has been fiercely criticised by Iraq’s Vice President Nouri al-Maliki who has stated that he does not want any US bases in his country. He further said,
“They (the United States) say – and I regret this and reject this – that the victory is their achievement because they led this war, but really this is a victory of the Iraqi army. Yes, they supported us with their aviation, but the main credit belongs to the Iraqi soldiers, the people’s militia, Iraq’s air force…
The US doesn’t have the right to say that people’s militia, which is comprised of the sons of Iraq, of whom 20,000 have been killed and wounded, are terrorists. If it weren’t for the people’s militia, there wouldn’t be any Sunnis or Shiites left”.
The people’s militia that al-Maliki was referring to was the very militia that the US has just bombed.
According to PMU commander Ali Hasim Huseyni,
“US planes bombed fighters of the Seyid Suheda unit. The wounded have been taken to various hospitals in Iraq for treatment. Some of them are in a serious condition. The region in which they were attacked is located on the Iraqi-Syrian border, 20 km from the city of El Baac. We strongly condemn this deliberate attack”.
While the United States claims its presence in Iraq is merely a function of a commitment to fighting terrorism, the real reason is to attempt to derail an alliance between Iraq and its neighbours to the east and west, Iran and Syria respectively.
The United States has long term geo-strategic goals for Iraq and will almost certainly not vacate the country of its own accord.
Iraq’s increasingly good relations with Moscow are almost certainly a symptom of Baghdad trying to court a super-power that is more than comfortable with a Baghdad–Tehran–Damascus alliance.
Of course, if the United States was afraid of such an alliance, the best thing they could have done was toleave Saddam Hussein in power. Saddam Hussein vigorously opposed Iran and had permanently frosty relations with Syria. Instead, the US illegally overthrew Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath party. Later, the US presided over the extra-legal execution of Saddam Hussein. In this sense, if an alliance between Iran, Iraq and Syria develops, the United States will only have itself to blame.
In this sense, America’s Iraq policy has come full circle. The US supported Ba’athist Iraq in the 1980s, opposed it in the 1990s, toppled it in the 2000s which led to the formation of a pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian government in Baghdad. Now America seems desirous to have a leader in Baghdad with the same foreign policy as the former Iraqi President it helped to depose and execute.
Today’s attack demonstrates that the US is increasingly taking measures to stop to consolidation of the existing alliance between Iraq, Syria, Iran and popular Shi’a militias ranging from Iraq’s PMU to the forces of the Lebanese political party Hezbollah.