Iran-backed militias want to move arms into Iraq army bases to avoid US strikes

Iran-backed militias want to move arms into Iraq army bases to avoid US strikes
Iran-backed militant factions in Iraq are worried about being targeted in more US strikes in the coming days, as tit-for-tat attacks have continued.
2 min read
04 February, 2024
The US struck at least 85 targets across Syria and Iraq's border region Friday night, bombing Iran-backed militia sites [Getty]

The Iraqi government has come under increasing pressure from Iran-backed militias who seek to store their weapons in government depots following US strikes, in fear of further attacks, security sources said.

The US struck at least 85 targets on Friday night in Syria and Iraq, targeting Iran-linked militant groups.

The attack came days after three American troops were killed in a drone strike on a US base in northeastern Jordan, which Washington blamed on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq group.

Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, US forces in both Iraq and Syria have repeatedly come under fire over Washington’s unwavering support for Tel Aviv in its brutal onslaught on the enclave.

Iraqi security sources told The New Arab’s Arabic-sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that armed factions want to move their weapons to military bases to spare them from being bombed, given that the US would be unlikely to target Iraqi army bases.

It is not clear if the Iraqi government will in fact host such an arsenal and what repercussions the move might have.

Iran-backed militias are also expected to put more pressure on the Iraqi government to demand US-led forces pull out of the country, Iraqi political sources said.

The Iraqi government is concerned that any response to the recent US airstrikes will further complicate negotiations between Baghdad and Washington, which began discussions late last month regarding the future presence of American and other foreign forces in Iraq.

While Baghdad anticipates a timeline for the withdrawal, US officials have stressed that the talks do not involve American forces pulling out of the war-ravaged nation. 

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US-led forces entered Iraq in 2003, overthrowing former dictator Saddam Hussein in a legally contentious war which had major ramifications on the country and the wider region.

After withdrawing in 2011, US troops returned in 2014 to combat the Islamic State (IS) group as part of an international coalition.

Currently, the US maintains approximately 2,500 troops in Iraq.