Rocket Strikes Target Foreign Oil Firms in Southern Iraq

Staff evacuated, no claims of responsibility for strikes

Another incident in the Middle East that is set to imperil regional stability, a handful of rockets were fired at a site run by foreign oil companies in southern Iraq, near the major port of Basra.

Only one of the rockers actually hit the site, doing some damage and wounding three people. The companies have begun evacuating some of their staff after the strikes, though there has been no claim of responsibility, and Iraq has yet to blame anybody.

Reuters quoted an unnamed security source who blamed Shi’ite militias in Iran for the strikes, saying that they believed the attackers were “well-trained in missile launching.” They added that they’d been tipped off that the US consulate in Basra might be a target, but were surprised that was not the case.

Blaming Iran, or at least Iranian proxies, would be very convenient for hawks, which is a big part of why other recent rocket fire in Iraq has similarly been chalked up, without evidence, to unnamed militia factions.

Yet these Shi’ite militia factions in Iraq are overwhelmingly part of Iraq’s official security forces. Blaming them is meant by US officials to amount to blaming Iran, but in practice, it is really blaming Iraq, which is a big part of why Iraqi officials have bristled at such allegations and warned they don’t want to play host to any regional wars.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.