The scene of the use of Iraqi lands for the conflict between Washington and Tehran is being repeated at a time when the Iraqi state is still suffering from political instability due to political differences between the ruling parties, which is often the reason for the loyalties of those parties to regional countries, as well as the financial and administrative corruption issues that led the country into a state of chaos that caused citizens exit with continuous popular protests in Iraqi cities due to poor public services and widespread poverty and unemployment.
The role of the official security and military forces in Iraq has declined due to the increasing role of the armed Shiite militias, which took an official framework during the events of the war against the terrorist organization ISIS, as these armed militias fought alongside government forces against ISIS. The growing role and influence of the armed Shiite militias was at the expense of the official government forces, which put everyone who holds the position of prime minister in Iraq in a difficult position, especially since many of these armed militias persist in exercising great influence over government institutions using weapons as a striking force, which made the government position in a state of weakness more than once, especially since these armed militias are supported by Iran, which provides it with indirect protection cover for its continuation as a strike force in Iraq that it uses whenever it wants against US interests, or against the Iraqi government, if it wants to build an independent foreign and domestic policy regarding Iran’s policy, and achieving full Iraqi interests away from Iranian influence and influence.
A TURNING POINT IN THE SHAPE OF THE US-IRANIAN CONFLICT
In January 2020, an American aircraft carried out an air strike near Baghdad International Airport, targeting the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, along with the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
It was not the first time that the US forces carried out air operations against targets belonging to armed militias loyal to Iran in Iraq or Syria, but it was the first time that Washington made a decision to assassinate an Iranian military commander such as Qassem Soleimani inside Iraqi territories. As the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) stated in a statement following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, which the US operation was carried out at the direct direction of US President Donald Trump.
On January 3, 2021, the Arabic-language BBC website published an investi-gation in which it spoke about threats and assassinations against Iraqis working with the US and British forces in Iraq by armed militias loyal to Iran, in revenge for the assassination of the Iranian Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani.
During an official speech delivered by Ismail Qaani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, on the occasion of the first anniversary of Soleimani’s memorial service, he said that his country is still ready to respond to the United States and take revenge for the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
MUTUAL RETALIATORY OPERATIONS
During February 2021, in a dangerous security development, Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, was subjected to violent missile attacks targeting an air base of the international coalition forces led by Washington.
In March 2021, the Iraqi military air base of Ain Al-Asad, which hosts the US-led coalition forces, was subjected to missile attacks with more than 10 Iranian-made missiles, and the missile attack came days before a historic visit by Pope Francis to Iraq. Days after an American air strike, Washington said it targeted Iranian-backed Iraqi militias in Syria in response to a missile attack on an American base in Erbil, and no group has claimed responsibility, but Iraqi militias linked to Iran had claimed responsibility for similar missile attacks in the past.
IRAQ TO WHERE IN 2021?
Iraq is still a major theater for military operations between Washington and Tehran, especially since the nature of the conflict includes complex regional and international files and issues such as: the Iranian nuclear file, Iran’s expansionist policies in the region, threatening US and Western interests in the Middle East, Russian and Iranian interference in Syria, and other issues. For the Iranian and American players, the Iraqi arena is a great theater for settling scores and conveying messages exchanged through military and security operations. It is expected that the security deterioration in Iraq will continue the longer the US – Iranian conflict over These Regional Files Continues, Especially with the Continuing State of Political Weakness in Iraq and the lack of independence of political leaders Iraqis in government decision-making because of regional interactions and the countries economic, security and social weakness.