General

Iran Escalates Tensions, Raising Prospects of Conflict

US Secretary of State slammed Iranian-backed militias in Iraq for an attack near Baghdad International Airport that wounded five Iraqi soldiers.

Following Iran’s military threats and actions against the United States’ allies in the Middle East, on December 13, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a warning to Iran. During recent days, Iran-linked militias launched several attacks on the U.S. bases in Iraq.

Secretary Pompeo stated that Iran’s leaders will be answered with a “decisive U.S. response” if their assaults “harm Americans, our allies, or our interests in Iraq.”

“We must also use this opportunity to remind Iran’s leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response,” Pompeo said.

Notably, several days prior, the U.S. military bases in Ein Al-Assad, Balad, and near Baghdad International Airport frequently have been under rocket and missile attacks by Iran-backed militias.

“Attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were gathering pace and becoming more sophisticated,” Reuters quoted a senior U.S. military official as saying on December 11. He added that the continuation of these attacks will push “all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation.”

Reuters continued, “The military official said Iranian-armed militias were approaching a red line where the coalition would respond with force, and ‘no one will like the outcome.’”

Earlier Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) General Morteza Qorbani claimed, "If the Zionist regime (Israel) makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon. There is no need to launch attacks from Iran," Iran judiciary system’s website Mizan published on December 10.

On the other hand, on December 14, U.S. special representative to Iran Brian Hook told CNBC, “The September attack on Saudi Aramco’s facilities that temporarily shut down half of the kingdom’s oil production represented an act of war by the Iranian state.”

Previously, in late September, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir stated, “To launch an attack from your territory, if that is the case ... this would be considered an act of war.”

Factually, recent prisoners swap made many Iran’s apologists eager to incite the U.S. officials for more negotiation. Nonetheless, the regime’s attacks on the U.S. bases frankly rejected any signal of appeasing and despaired regime’s lobbies before anyone else. In addition to envisaging more escalating of tensions between the two countries in the near future.

“I expect Iran will take further provocative actions in the coming weeks,” House Armed Services ranking member Mac Thornberry said on a C-SPAN on December 13.