US Demands Iraq Protect Baghdad Embassy After Rocket Attack

Iraqi militia umbrella denies responsibility for attack

The US State Department issued a new statement Sunday after rocket fire hit the Baghdad Embassy, demanding the Iraqi government fulfill its obligations to protect diplomatic facilities.

Legally speaking, a host nation has an obligation to protect embassies. In practice, with no claims of credit, it’s not clear what Iraq is actually supposed to do about a few Katyusha rockets hitting the dining hall. Neither they nor the US has a reliable way to intercept such rockets.

In practice, the US is very keen to blame Iran, or at least some Iraqi Shi’ite group, to try to demand a crackdown on them. The evidence is lacking, however, and Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the large umbrella group of government-aligned militias, denied having anything to do with this incident.

They make a convincing case, too, arguing that this would be a particularly bad time for them to try to provoke the US with such an attack, coming as the US and Iran are trying to calm tensions. One of the PMF factions, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, also noted the type of rockets involved are very old, and haven’t been in the inventory of government-aligned militias in years.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.