On Monday, May 24th, the United States-led international military coalition reported a rocket attack on the Iraqi Ain al-Asad airbase at approximately 10:35 GMT. Currently, no party has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but an investigation has been launched to uncover who may have been behind the action.
In a tweet, United States Army Colonel Wayne Marotto confirmed that while there were no human casualties, the damage from the attack was still “being assessed.” Additionally, according to an interview given to the Army Times, an Iraqi security official detailed that “the rocket struck close to a village outside the base.”
These actions are immensely damaging and pose a threat to the surrounding areas and their inhabitants, and they further contribute to the unstable relationship between the Middle East and the United States. In addition to endangering United States officials whom the rocket targeted, the attacks pose a significant risk to the Iraqi community who must deal with the aftermath and destruction of such attacks. When analyzing the ongoing conflict between the countries, it would be far more productive to reach a peace agreement and reduce the use of armed forces in mediating frictions. Not only would this bring increased safety and stability to both regions, but it would also provide opportunities for cooperation and mutual diplomacy between the respective governments.
According to the Army Times, “rocket and missile attacks against U.S. installations have been frequent since a Washington-directed strike against top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani outside [the] Baghdad airport last year.” These attacks have continued to occur throughout the United States’ executive transition of power. Recently, many of the strikes have also utilized drones, such as in the attack on the Ain al-Asad base in early May. While responsibility for the attack has not yet been confirmed, the United States has continued to hold an unstable relationship with Iran, so these actions further escalate tensions between the countries.
Previously, former President Donald Trump implemented economic sanctions on Iran when he pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement, negatively impacting the quality of life for many Iranians. Additionally, Trump was primarily responsible for the assassinations of two prominent leaders of the militia forces in Iraq, potentially serving as additional motivation for the recent attacks on the United States’ presence in Iraq.
While both Iran and the United States would like to reenter the nuclear plan, the states have different wishes when it comes to the terms of the agreement. After the United States pulled out of the agreement, Iran installed new nuclear-fuel production equipment, which they wish to keep in the reestablishment of the plan. However, the United States has strong reservations against this plan due to the possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons in the works, leaving the two countries at a standstill when it comes to negotiations.
Because of this halted response, the threat of violence continues to pose a threat to both regions. Furthermore, it is imperative the United States and Iran reach a sustainable and effective agreement that will satisfy both sides in order to quell the possibility of further attacks and ensure both the United States and Iran feel their needs are being adequately met. With such an agreement implemented, peace can be restored between the nations as well as the impacted regions of Iraq.
Despite suspicions, the responsible party has not yet been identified, and the investigation is still underway with updates to come. As attacks continue to occur, the conflict with the Middle East increases in its uncertainty. Taking into account the danger it poses to Iraqi territory, Shiite militia groups have insisted on a withdrawal of United States troops from the region. However, with prospective action left unconfirmed, Iraq remains vulnerable to future attacks unless the states address the conflict peacefully and swiftly.