US Troops in Iraq See Surge in ‘Indirect Fire,’ Some Look to Blame Iran

Rockets, mortars almost hit sites, no US casualties reported

The escalation of US tensions with Iran has centered greatly, at least within the narrative, on Iraq. The idea is that US troops are endangered in Iraq, and that Iranian proxies, who are actually part of the Iraqi government, are plotting against them.

And just because nothing ever happens doesn’t mean that isn’t going to continue to be a talking point, as US officials talk about “indirect fire” attacks in Iraq, with indirect in this case meaning they don’t appear to be firing directly at the US forces.

Officials say they are perceiving an increase in the amount of mortar and rocket fire in Iraq. Which would be dangerous to US troops, except US targets aren’t actually being hit. It’s just that the US has so many targets in Iraq that something they have “come close.” The military confirmed there were no casualties, but declined to report on the number of these not-really-attacks that took place.

No claims of responsibility, no US targets being hit, but experts are more than willing to tell the media that it is an “ongoing effort by Iran and its proxy militias.” US officials seem reluctant to say anything that might contradict that position. They just say Iraqi officials are investigating.

The lack of anything actually happening means this can’t be a direct pretext by US hawks to do anything. Yet Mike Pompeo mentioned rocket fire in Iraq in his litany of grievances against Iran, which suggests this will continue to be a talking point for the sake of mounting tensions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.