BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 A.M.) – A senior U.S. diplomat said on Thursday that the Iranian threat to American forces in Iraq is still present.
David Schenker, a senior diplomat for the U.S. State Department on Middle East affairs, stated that the threat of violence from Iranian-backed groups remains ‘significant’.
He added that Washington is cautiously dealing with the ceasefire announced by the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah forces.
David Schenker, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs at the US State Department, praised the previous work of Mustafa al-Kazimi, the head of Iraqi intelligence, who was appointed prime minister on Thursday.
Kazimi, however, has been accused by several Iraqi paramilitary forces of playing a role in the assassination of Quds Force commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, and Hashd Al-Sha’abi’s Deputy Head, Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes, on January 3rd in Baghdad.
Following these assassinations, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responded by firing as many as 18 missiles towards the U.S. wing of the ‘Ayn Al-Assad Airbase in the Al-Anbar Governorate.
Since then, tensions between Tehran and Washington have been at a decade-long high, with the U.S. deploying their Patriot air defense system to Iraq in order to confront a possible Iranian-backed attack.