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HomeWorldIsrael-Palestine conflict: Iranian allies in Iraq, Yemen threaten US for backing Israel

Israel-Palestine conflict: Iranian allies in Iraq, Yemen threaten US for backing Israel

Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Organization, attends an election rally, along with his Fatih bloc supporters, ahead of the parliamentary election in Baghdad, Iraq October 5, 2021.—Reuters 

High-ranking leaders in Iraq and Yemen with close ties to Iran and control over well-armed groups have issued threats to target US interests if the United States intervenes in support of Israel during its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. 

These warnings come as the US has expressed strong support for Israel’s response to the attacks and pledged to provide additional munitions to Israel, as well as deploying a carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean.

In Yemen, the leader of the Houthi militia issued a warning that the group would retaliate with drones, missiles, and other military options if the US intervened in Gaza. The Houthi leader also indicated a readiness to coordinate intervention efforts with other members of the “Axis of Resistance,” a coalition comprising Iranian-backed Shia Muslim factions in Iraq and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has already become involved in the conflict.

The Houthi militia has been engaged in a protracted conflict against an Arab-led coalition since 2015, during which it targeted strategic assets in the Gulf, notably energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Yemen has seen a year of relative calm as peace negotiations gain traction.

In Iraq, Hadi Al-Amiri, a powerful politician closely aligned with Iran and influential in the cross-party alliance supporting the Baghdad government, made threats against American assets during a tribal gathering in the capital. 

He leads the Badr Organization, a Shia political group supported by Iran and a significant component of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a state paramilitary organisation consisting of many Iran-backed factions.

Al-Amiri’s warning implied that if the US openly intervenes in the conflict, all American targets would be considered legitimate, and they would not hesitate to target them. The PMF has expressed “unequivocal support” for Palestinian factions fighting Israel, with the Iraqi government citing Israel’s “oppressive” policies as a catalyst for Palestinian operations.

In previous years, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq frequently targeted US forces and the US embassy in Baghdad with rocket attacks, although such incidents have decreased following a truce established last year, coinciding with a period of relative calm in Iraq. 

The US currently maintains 2,500 troops in Iraq and an additional 900 in Syria, primarily to advise and assist local forces in the fight against ISIS.

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