Iraqi security sources told AFP that the US shot down an explosive-laden drone near its embassy in Baghdad on Monday night. Earlier in the day, three rockets were fired at another facility hosting US troops in western Iraq.
The attempted drone attack comes after President Biden targeted an Iraqi militia in airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in June. When trying to justify the strikes, the Pentagon cited recent drone attacks on US bases.
According to AFP, there have been 47 attacks against US interests in Iraq in 2021. The problem is, it’s hard to know who is responsible for these attacks since many elements in the country have their own reasons to fire on the US.
Washington almost always blames Iraqi Shia militias that fall under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a group formed in 2014 to fight ISIS. The Biden administration said the airstrikes were a “message” to Iran, but Tehran did not seem to be affected, and the bombings have only caused more violence against the US.
Since Biden’s latest airstrikes against PMF fighters, which some reports say killed civilians, there seems to be an uptick in attacks against the US in Iraq, and attacks have also been reported in Syria.
Washington justifies the presence of its troops in Iraq as part of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. Although ISIS has not controlled significant territory in years, the coalition still frequently bombs what it says are ISIS targets in Iraq’s remote mountains.
Bombing the Shia militias who are sworn enemies of ISIS is a trend that started under the Trump administration. It led to the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and PMF leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad. After the killings, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to expel US troops. But Washington refuses to leave, causing more violence in a country the US has been bombing for over 30 years.