WASHINGTON (WSJ) — The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.
Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran’s fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
While the U.S. has moved military resources in the region for a possible strike, it has other assets in the area that would be ready to respond to any reprisals by Syria, Iran or its allies. […]
The Iranian message, intercepted in recent days, came from Qasem Soleimani, the head of Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, and went to Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.
In it, Mr. Soleimani said Shiite groups must be prepared to respond with force after a U.S. strike on Syria. Iranian officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Iraqi Shiites have been sympathetic to the Alawite-dominated government of Syria and oppose U.S. strikes against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
U.S. officials said the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was one likely target. The officials didn’t describe the range of potential targets indicated by the intelligence.