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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Kataib Hezbollah Suspends Operations Against US Troops

Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah suspends operations against U.S. troops amid rising tensions following a deadly drone attack on a U.S base in Jordan.

Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia operating in Iraq, declared the suspension of all military operations against American troops. This announcement follows a deadly drone attack on a U.S. military base in Jordan, resulting in the deaths of three soldiers and leaving dozens injured. Kataib Hezbollah justified its decision, citing a desire not to “embarrass” the Iraqi government, though skepticism looms in the United States.

The drone attack heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with President Biden explicitly linking the incident to Iran. While holding Iran accountable for supplying weapons to the perpetrators, Biden expressed reluctance for a broader conflict in the region. Simultaneously, there are concerns within the U.S. government about potential further attacks, leading the White House to consider a “tiered response.”

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In contrast to Biden’s cautious approach, some Republican hawks are pushing for more direct military action against Iran. Figures like Senator Lindsey Graham and Roger Wicker are urging the Biden administration to strike Iranian targets, not only as reprisal but also as a deterrent against future aggression. The political landscape in Washington reflects a divided stance on the appropriate response.

Iran’s Hawkish Rhetoric and US-Iraq Talks

Iran responded with hawkish rhetoric, warning of reciprocal action if the U.S. takes any steps against it. Hossein Salami, chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reiterated that threats from the U.S. will not go unanswered. Meanwhile, Kataib Hezbollah, responsible for numerous attacks on U.S. forces, aimed to alleviate pressure on the Iraqi government, engaged in talks with U.S. military officials about the withdrawal of coalition troops from the country.

While the motive behind Kataib Hezbollah’s decision to suspend operations remains unclear, there are indications that Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani’s diplomatic efforts played a role. The U.S. and Iraq are poised to begin discussions on the future of the American military presence in the country. However, challenges persist as both sides grapple with the complex dynamics of regional geopolitics, and concerns loom regarding the potential for continued hostilities in the region.