BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:30 A.M.) – The U.S. announced on Monday the deployment of their Patriot air defense missile system to Iraq.
According to Iraqi and American officials, one of the missile batteries has been deployed to the ‘Ayn Al-Assad Airbase, where U.S. soldiers are currently deployed.
Citing a U.S. military official, the Rudaw News Agency said that “another battery arrived at the Harir base in Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and that there are two other batteries still in Kuwait pending their transfer to Iraq.
Meanwhile, a well-informed source said that “high-ranking Iraqi officials indicated during a meeting with U.S. Central Command commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie last February that Washington could give Baghdad political cover by reducing its number in Iraq with the deployment of defensive missiles.”
The U.S.-led international coalition has withdrawn its soldiers from several bases in recent weeks.
These moves by the U.S. forces come just a week after the New York Times revealed that Washington was bracing for a major conflict with the Iranian-backed forces in Iraq.
On Monday, the head of the caretaker government, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, warned against the consequences of carrying out hostilities against any Iraqi sites, stressing that “unauthorized flights were detected over Iraqi military sites.”