By Washington Examiner. Iran-controlled forces are launching rockets at U.S. troops in Iraq while Western leaders focus on a coronavirus pandemic that threatens to overwhelm hospital networks around the world.
“It feels like part of the American public may have forgotten that two Americans died in Iraq,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, an expert on the Iranian regime at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Examiner.
American forces targeted five weapons depots controlled by Kataib Hezbollah, a Shia militia that the United States blamed for the attack that killed two Americans and one British service member last week. Yet the militias remain undeterred, as a Tuesday morning barrage marked the third attack on bases housing U.S.n troops in the last week, even as Tehran struggles to manage one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world.
“They view this as a kind of continuing campaign to push Americans out of Iraq,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, who directs the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, told the Washington Examiner. “They’ve lost a lot of citizens to corona, but for those kinds of regimes, it’s really kind of inconsequential to them. They don’t place as high a premium on life as we do.” . . .
Some analysts believe that Iran has renewed attacks on U.S. forces in order to distract from the coronavirus outbreak. “Iranians are fiercely nationalistic,” American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin, who specializes in Iran and the Middle East, told the Washington Examiner. “And so, basically, it’s a no-brainer on the part of the Iranian regime to try to distract people from their own incompetence. And, even though — yeah, I’m a neocon, I’m a hawk, and so forth — I think the worst possible thing would be for Trump to hit Iran.” (Read more from “Iran Repeatedly Attacks U.S. Troops as Coronavirus Outbreak Distracts Public Attention” HERE)
U.S. Slaps New Sanctions on Iran Amid Renewed Rocket Attacks in Iraq
The State Department on Wednesday announced it is slapping new sanctions on Iran as renewed rocket attacks have been launched at U.S. forces in Iraq by what are believed to be Tehran-backed militias.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the sanctions will target nine entities and three individuals “who have engaged in activity that could enable the Iranian regime’s violent behavior.”
“The actions of these individuals and entities provide revenue to the regime that it may use to fund terror and other destabilizing activities, such as the recent rocket attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces located at Camp Taji in Iraq,” he said.
The sanctions mainly target Iran’s petrochemical industry and are intended to “further Iran’s economic and diplomatic isolation.” (Read more from “U.S. Slaps New Sanctions on Iran Amid Renewed Rocket Attacks in Iraq” HERE)