EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Multiple missiles were fired at Erbil on February 15, killing at least one civil contractor and injuring at least one American national. It is likely that the attack was conducted by Iran using Its proxies in order to put pressure on President Biden to lift the sanctions against the country and return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
On Monday, February 15, several rockets were fired at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq. Information is still scarce, but it is known that at least one US base was hit. The Independent reported that one person was killed and six injured. According to Deutsche Welle, the fatality was a foreigner and probably not an American. The official spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (the US military’s name for the international force in Iraq combating ISIS) stated that one civilian contractor had been killed and five others wounded, as well as one US service member.
Authorities in the Kurdish region have blamed the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (al-Hashd al-Shaabi, or PMF) for the attack. The PMF is an umbrella organization for dozens of different groups amounting to more than 150,000 fighters. Some of the most significant groups within the PMF are the Badr Brigade, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and the Kataib Hezbollah. They are all loyal to Iran and work closely with the Quds Forces (QF) of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The PMF is effectively not only a branch of the IRGC-QF as its proxy, but also a branch of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since its establishment, the PMF has loyally promoted Iranian foreign policy to significant effect.
It is too soon to declare the PMF responsible for the Erbil attack. However, both the modus operandi and the timing of the attack clearly point to the PMF as the culprit. For at least two months there have been no major attacks against US forces in Iraq, and this most recent attack is the first deadly strike in Iraq for a year. This begs the question: Why now?
Read the complete article at: Besa Center
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