Escalating Iranian-orchestrated attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq are unlikely to stop until President Trump orders limited retaliation against Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targets on Iranian soil.
The growing challenge is obvious following two significant rocket attacks this week on the U.S. military’s Camp Taji.
The first attack killed two U.S. service members and one British soldier. A second attack on Saturday morning wounded three Americans and two Iraqis. Both attacks were carried out by Iran’s Kata’ib Hezbollah militia proxy, under direction from Iran’s IRGC. But what makes these attacks particularly concerning is that they are designed to kill. That might seem obvious, but the use hereof numerous rockets targeting areas of Camp Taji where soldiers congregate stands these incidents apart from other rocket attacks, which are primarily designed to harass. . .
Well, retaliating against Kata’ib Hezbollah, as following the first attack this week, is inadequate. Iran clearly didn’t view that retaliation as serious, or it wouldn’t have allowed this second attack to occur. Kata’ib Hezbollah is the sideshow here, Iran is the key problem. But the U.S. has alternate options.
At the top-line level, the loss of two Americans this week shows an imminent and continuing threat. So Trump does not need congressional authority to take limited action against the IRGC inside Iran. And that’s important because the U.S. could likely restore deterrent balance by targeting one or several IRGC military sites. The catastrophic impact that the coronavirus is wreaking on Iranian civil society means that the regime is under immense pressure. This pressure is exacerbated by U.S. efforts to support the growing protest movement. And while these attacks and Iranian escalations on the nuclear front are designed toward coercing the U.S. into sanctions relief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cannot risk an escalatory showdown with the U.S. The supreme leader won’t admit it, but he knows it’s a showdown he can’t win. (Read more from “The U.S. May Have to Target the IRGC in Iran to Stop Iraq Base Attacks” HERE)