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Hussein Ibish

The U.S. and Iran Inch Toward Confrontation in Iraq

Tehran is seeking military leverage and Washington wants to capitalize on overlapping crises.

They’re spoiling for another fight.

They’re spoiling for another fight.

Photographer: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu

At the beginning of the year, the U.S. and Iran came close to war, following a series of attacks in Iraq. Now, as all three countries grapple with the coronavirus epidemic, another round of confrontation is looming.

Once again, rocket attacks by Iranian-backed militia groups on American targets in Iraq are driving the escalation. On March 11, an attack on Camp Taji attributed to the Kataib Hezbollah group killed two U.S. and one British servicemen. The next day, the U.S. retaliated with at least five attacks on group’s weapons depots.