White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby issued an apology on Tuesday for erroneously claiming last week that Iraqi officials were notified before a series of coordinated airstrikes. Initially, Kirby asserted that the bombing of targets linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inside Iraqi borders was communicated to national leaders beforehand.
However, he retracted this claim after State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel confirmed its inaccuracy, stating that Iraqi authorities were not informed until after the strikes. Patel made clear that “Iraq, like every country in the region, understood that there would be a response after the deaths of our soldiers.
As for this specific response on Friday, there was no pre-notification. We informed the Iraqis immediately after the strikes.” Kirby released a statement about the confusion the same day, attributing the error to “information that I had been provided at the time.”
Addressing the issue in a Tuesday press conference, Kirby expressed regret, stating, “I’m sure many of you saw the statement that I issued yesterday correcting what I had said Friday night about pre-notification to Iraqi officials on Friday night before the strikes that we took on facilities related to the Iran-backed militia groups,” Kirby told the press.
“And I deeply apologize for the error and regret any confusion it caused. It was based on information we had or that was provided to me in those early hours after the strikes. Turns out that the information was incorrect. And I certainly regret the error.”
He emphasized that there was “no ill intent behind it, no deliberate intent to deceive, to be wrong,” adding, “I take those responsibilities very, very seriously. And I deeply regret the mistake that I made.”
The strikes were in response to the deaths of three U.S. service members on a U.S. base in Jordan. The White House clarified that the United States is “not looking for a war with Iran,” highlighting that the retaliatory strikes in Syria and Iraq aimed to “de-escalate” tensions and “put an end” to attacks on U.S. troops in the region.
“I absolutely don’t agree with your description of a ‘same larger conflict,'” Kirby said in response to a question about the regional fighting. Although he was not directly asked about the Israeli war, Kirby added, “There’s a conflict going on between Israel and Hamas.”
A drone attack targeted a military base in eastern Syria, where U.S. troops are stationed, resulting in the deaths of at least six allied Kurdish soldiers, officials reported. Militia fighters have been launching assaults on U.S. forces and civilian targets in the region since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October.
The U.S. maintains a force of about 2,500 troops in Iraq, a nominal U.S. ally with tight ties to Iran, its neighbor. The presence of American soldiers, at Iraq’s invitation, is part of an effort to keep remnants of the Islamic State at bay.
You Might Also Like: