What to Know:
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella organization of Iran-backed Shia militias, has announced that they will fully resume attacks against American forces to “expel” them from the region. The decision comes amid American retaliatory strikes against elements of the Islamic Resistance in retaliation for last month’s deadly drone attack against the T-22 outpost in Jordan, which left three soldiers dead.
Following the attack in Jordan, Kataib Hezbollah, one of the main militias in the group, called for a pause in attacks. While the cadence of attacks slowed, explosive drone attacks against American forces in the region continued. This announcement likely signals that attacks will increase in the days and weeks ahead, which comes as Iraqi and United States-led Coalition continue discussions about the possibility of a withdrawal in the future.
In a statement posted to Telegram, the Islamic Resistance announced:
“What the Islamic Resistance gave today an opportunity to the occupation forces to get out of the land of the holy sites as a lifeline, did not get it yesterday despite their mediation and beggs before their defeat by their judgment and sacrifice in 2011, then the Mujahideen of the resistance were driving the occupation soldiers a market to the fire, and turning its bases into ruin and rubble.
The opportunity of the past days revealed with certainty to the Iraqi people, friends and the responsible parties that the occupied enemy does not leave his treachery, and does not understand anything but the language of the weapon, and this is evident in his recent targeting of the Mujahedin al-Shaabi in Al-Qaim and other sites, and his crimes have increased his assassination of the great leader Abu Baqer Al-Saadi in Baghdad, thus violating all the rules of engagement, which increases the Islamic resistance with its announced factions unless it adhering to its responsibilities towards its people, its country and its nation under any circumstances.
While we look to those we trust to seek us an excuse, as we know from others about the maliciousness of our enemy, the fields of his confrontation, and the mechanism of his kneeling, with painful strikes and widespread attacks, to be forced to submit and defeat in the interests of our people and the causes of our nation, we call on our brothers in jihad to join the ranks of the resistance, to firm their matter to actively participate in expelling the occupation at this historical stage for Iraq and the region.”
What it Means:
The announcement signals that the United States’ retaliatory strikes against the Islamic Resistance, with the goal of preventing further attacks by not emboldening militia forces, has ultimately failed for now.
American forces have been attacked over 150 times by militias forces since October and the attack in Jordan presented a major escalation in the conflict as it was the first to result in American fatalities. As I stated before in a post on Instagram, the United States was in a position where inaction or reserved retaliation would embolden further attacks by militias and decisive strikes, seeking deterrence, will still likely further escalate tensions. As evident by the Islamic Resistance’s statement, retaliatory strikes have done just that.
Much like the events that unfolded between December 2019 and January 2020, American response to militia activity appears to only further motivate them in carrying out further attacks. Strikes in Iraq and Syria aiming to degrade their launch capabilities and target key leadership appear to have had no significant effect. Kataib Hezbollah, its allied militias, and Iran’s ultimate goal its to force the United States out of the region to further establish influence. With that, the United States will continue to face attacks until they leave the region (when? who knows).