US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, visiting Baghdad, emphasized the United States’ interest in partnering with Iraq to curb the escalating assaults on American personnel deployed in Iraq and Syria.
The attacks, directed at US and international coalition forces combatting ISIS, have seen a surge since mid-October, with heightened regional tension stemming from the conflict in Gaza.
Addressing reporters in Baghdad, Nuland stressed that these attacks pose a threat not only to the United States but also to Iraqi facilities, emphasizing the impact on Iraqi sovereignty. Following discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, Nuland outlined strategies to bolster bilateral cooperation in quelling these attacks, both originating in and targeting Iraq.
“We, the Prime Minister, and the Iraqi government would much rather see the country’s security forces prepared to handle this security danger,” Nuland stated, emphasizing the collaborative effort required. In response to the attacks, Washington has initiated several strikes in Iraq and Syria.
According to a US military official, there have been 102 attacks in Iraq and Syria since October 17, coinciding with the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. On December 8, the US embassy in Baghdad faced a missile attack that, fortunately, resulted in no casualties. The Iraqi government reported the arrest of individuals linked to the assault, some allegedly having ties to security services.
Currently, the United States maintains a deployment of 2,500 soldiers in Iraq and approximately 900 in Syria as part of the ongoing efforts to combat ISIS.