Baghdad Is Blocking US Deployment of Patriot Air Defense Systems to Iraq
Baghdad Is Blocking US Deployment of Patriot Air Defense Systems to Iraq Joseph Trevithick for Anti-Empire
The Pentagon is trying to move one battery from Saudi Arabia but it’s stuck in Kuwait as Iraqis won’t let it in
The story is from January 30th. It slipped through the cracks at the time but it’s still relevant. Iraq has still not granted permission. Indeed, since Iraq is trying to get the Americans to leave what would be the point of allowing more of their assets in?
Perhaps if the US was willing to defend Iraqi airspace from illegal Israeli strikes on Iraq of the kind we saw last year Baghdad would think differently but that is never going to happen.
The Jerusalem Post further elaborates the Pentagon is trying to move one battery from Saudi Arabia but it’s stuck in Kuwait as Iraqis won’t let it in.
The U.S. military wants to send Patriot surface-to-air missile units to Iraq in the wake of unprecedented Iranian ballistic missile strikes aimed at American forces in the country earlier this month, which the Pentagon now says caused dozens of injuries in addition to significant damage to facilities at Al Asad Air Base. However, the U.S. government still needs permission from authorities in Iraq to do so, approval that has so far not been forthcoming, something The War Zone‘s Tyler Rogoway had raised as a likely issue immediately following Iran’s strikes. Discussions regarding the potential deployment of the air defense are ongoing, but come amid attempts by certain Iraqi factions to secure the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the country.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark Milley explained the situation in response to a question from Fox News‘ Jennifer Griffin at a press conference on Jan. 30, 2020. There were reports last week that the U.S. military was considering deploying Patriot systems to Iraq. There has been increasing attention in the press and among the general public on the issue of American air and missile defenses in the country after it emerged that there were no such assets in place when Iran fired a flurry of ballistic missiles at U.S. forces at Al Asad, as well as Erbil International Airport, on Jan. 7. Those strikes had been in retaliation for the U.S. decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, then the head of Iran’s Quds Force, on Jan. 3.