Tensions in the Middle East rose again this week after an Iran-backed militia attack the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
The brazen attack lasted for approximately a day, with rabble-rousers setting fire to sections of the embassy while scaling walls and shouting “death to America”. US personnel were quickly shuffled into safe rooms, where they huddled for hours on end while the US military prepared to disperse the protesters.
When Marines did arrive, the protesters were quickly subdued and sent scurrying, but the US consulate has been forced to suspend operations for the time being on account of the damage sustained in the attack.
Worse still, the Pentagon doesn’t seem to believe that the trouble is over just yet.
Iran or its proxy forces may be planning further strikes on American interests in the Middle East, and the U.S. is prepared to take preemptive military action if it gets sufficient warning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday.
“The game has changed,” Esper said, citing a series of violent attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq in recent months by Iran-supported militia groups. “We’re prepared to do what is necessary to defend our personnel and our interests and our partners in the region.”
On Tuesday, after a crowd of Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, the Pentagon sent a Marine quick-reaction force to the embassy, and later it dispatched several hundred Army paratroopers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The paratroopers are in Kuwait as what Esper called “defensive support.”
Iran has been a nuisance for the United States for several decades, ramping up their anti-American actions in recent years with several attacks on Middle Eastern oil infrastructure and downing a US military drone over the Strait of Hormuz just months ago.
President Trump has vowed to take action again Tehran, but has yet to provide specific details as to what that would entail.
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