US Deploys Patriot Missiles in Iraq Bases Hosting US Troops

First missiles arrive in Ayn al-Assad, Irbil

Recent US fighting with Iraqi militias has seen bases in the country hosting US troops coming under rocket fire, and this has led to the US trying to get more Patriot missiles into Iraq to intercept such rockets. The first missile systems are now set up, at Ayn al-Assad base, and in Irbil.

The US appears to be trying to move away from having troops scattered around Iraq, closing multiple bases in the west, and reportedly has missiles in Kuwait ready to be sent to two more US bases inside Iraq in the days to come.

Details on the diplomacy with Iraq on these deployments are unclear. The US has talked about wanting the missiles in Iraq since January, but it has never been confirmed that Iraq signed off on such deployment. Since the deployment is roughly intended to thwart attacks by Iraqi paramilitaries who are essentially part of Iraq’s security forces, this is potentially problematic for Iraq.

There was some speculation that the Iranians might object too, as these deployments also limit potential Iranian retaliation if the US starts attacking them again. That’s a concern, as it is by no means certain the US isn’t about to attack Iran, but since the US may well attack Iraq and its militias out of the blue, that’s probably Iraq’s bigger concern.

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.