The U.S. launched 85 airstrikes targeted at Iraq and Syria without directly informing the Iraqi government beforehand, a State Department spokesperson revealed. This disclosure contradicted earlier statements from the White House, sparking confusion and scrutiny over the notification process.
It is alleged that those airstrike targets are linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and pro-Iranian groups following a drone attack in Jordan that killed three U.S. troops.
State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel clarified to reporters that there was no prenotification to the Iraqi government before the strikes occurred. Patel emphasized that the Iraqi government was informed immediately after the strikes took place, asserting, “The Iraqi government understood that there would be a response after the deaths of our soldiers.”
“That said, we had made no secret – both to Iraqi officials and in public channels – that we would respond to the attacks on our troops. And, we did, in fact, officially notify Iraq, as appropriate with standard procedure.”
This revelation contradicted previous remarks by National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, who stated that the Iraqi government was notified before the strikes. When questioned about the discrepancy, Kirby stopped short of admitting error but acknowledged the lack of specificity in his earlier statement.
He expressed regret for any confusion caused and reiterated that the U.S. had made its intentions clear to Iraqi officials. Kirby stated that he had responded to reporters’ questions with the “information that I had been provided at the time.”
“It was not as specific as it could have been, and I regret any confusion caused,” he said.
The airstrikes, conducted in retaliation for the deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan, come amid escalating tensions with Iran-backed militants in the region. Discussions about the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and Syria have intensified in recent weeks, with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani reportedly expressing a desire to negotiate retaining U.S. troops in the country.
However, Iraqi government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi rejected the suggestion that his country had helped to coordinate the attacks, accusing Washington of making a “false claim aimed at misleading international public opinion and disavowing legal responsibility.”
The Iraqi government has condemned the strikes, which officials said killed 16 people, including civilians, as a violation of its sovereignty that placed the security in the region on the “brink of the abyss.”
Formal talks between Washington and Baghdad regarding the future of the 2,500-strong U.S. military mission in Iraq have commenced. Meanwhile, speculation persists about the potential withdrawal of approximately 900 troops from Syria despite denials from the administration. According to sources, President Joe Biden has no imminent withdrawal order.
This incident highlights the complexities and challenges of diplomatic communication and military strategy in the volatile Middle East region. As the U.S. navigates its military presence and objectives in Iraq and Syria, clarity and transparency in communication with allied governments remain paramount.”
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