Biden Sees Attack on Iraq Militia as ‘Message to Iran’

Strike riles Iraq, Iran criticizes plan

Reports were that the JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna were going pretty well, with Iran saying that a deal is possible. The Biden Administration has decided that this is a good time to send an overtly hostile message by attacking Iraqi militias, which they framed as pro-Iranian.

The US sees the attacks as a “clear message” to Iran, and coming just after the Iranian elections, which the US also condemned, this does not seem to be the sort of message that suggests diplomacy is being facilitated.

So far, other than criticizing the attack, Iran isn’t reacting in any specific way to the attack. This may not be a priority for them since the militia’s status as “pro-Iranian” is a lot more definitive in US eyes than it is to anyone else.

US officials think they sent a message, but in practice it’s not clear that the message was any more worthwhile than the US assassinating Iran’s Gen. Soleimani at the Baghdad Airport. It’s a message of broad hostility, and there’s no good way to take it.

The nation that got the “message” more than Iran was Iraq, which condemned the US violation of sovereignty, and has promised to seek legal avenues to prevent future US attacks.

The US “message” may not mean much to Iran, but it has complicated relations with Iraq. In that regard, it’s the same old story.

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.