Mar 28, 2020 - World

Iranian-backed militias increase attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq

U.S. soldiers in Iraq
Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iranian-backed militias are more frequently and boldly attacking U.S. personnel in Iraq, and for the first time some of the strikes are taking place in broad daylight, The Washington Post reports.

The big picture: "The question of how to deter further militia strikes without putting troops at greater risk highlights how much American security and influence have evaporated in Iraq," Louisa Lovelock and Missy Ryan write.

  • The Trump administration is trying to develop a game plan to counter these attacks without "sparking costly retaliation."

The state of play: More than 5,000 U.S. troops currently are stationed in Iraq. The U.S. requested that Iraqi authorities find and prosecute those responsible for the attack, but the Iraqis have had little success so far.

The Pentagon issued a directive last week for military commanders to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that's threatened more attacks against U.S. troops, The New York Times reports.

  • Yes, but: Lt. Gen. Robert P. White wrote a memo last week that a new military campaign would require thousands more U.S. troops in Iraq and would divert from current efforts to train the Iraqi military to fight the Islamic State.

Go deeper: Iran's proxies in the Middle East

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