Iraq should fulfill its commitments to protect all bases hosting US troops, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Iraqi Prime Minister in telephone call on Friday.
“The Secretary called on the Iraqi government to fulfill its commitments to protect all installations hosting U.S. personnel at its invitation and to pursue those responsible for attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq,” the State Department said in a statement describing the call with Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani.
The call came after Iranian-backed militant groups in Iraq launched dozens of attacks on military bases hosting US and coalition troops since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza.
Iran-backed Shiite militants have taken responsibility for the attacks claiming that their actions are in retaliation for US support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas.
The Iranian government has denied any responsibility, claiming that “resistance” groups are acting on their own, angered by the war. However, Iran is in control of all forces it labels as the “Resistance Front” in the region and has repeatedly vowed that their mission is to expel the United States from the region. PM al-Sudani is part of a coalition backed by the Iran-supported groups.
The US military conducted retaliatory strikes against some of the Iraqi groups on November 21, but this has failed to deter the militants. Many critics in the United States have accused the Biden administration of not responding forcefully enough to Iranian-backed groups, some suggesting that retaliation should be directed against the Revolutionary Guard.