Iran has encouraged its terrorist proxy forces in Iraq, Yemen and Syria to begin a drone war against US forces and Israel. On Thursday drones and rockets targeted Ain al-Asad base in Iraq. This is at least the third attack on the base this week. Iran operationalized the drones and rocket forces among its proxies this week and used false Hamas accusations that Israel struck a hospital as a catalyst to begin this planned campaign.

Iran has done this before. Pro-Iranian militias in Iraq began targeting US forces in 2019. They first used 107mm rockets that were likely of Iranian origin. They targeted numerous bases, eventually resulting in injuries and deaths. The US then struck Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis with a missile fired from a drone in January 2020 in response to all the attacks. Iran also carried out a drone and missile attack on Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia and used drones to target ships in the Gulf of Oman over the last two years. Iran also encouraged proxies in Syria to use rockets and drones to attack US forces near the Euphrates.

Rocket attack hits military base hosting US forces near Baghdad

Rockets have hit a military base hosting US forces near Baghdad’s international airport, Iraqi police said on Thursday.

At least two Katyusha rockets landed in the perimeter of the base near a complex that houses US forces, police said.

Police said it was not clear if the attack caused any casualties.
Restarting an old war

Now Iran is beginning this drone war again. Reuters noted on Thursday that “drones and rockets targeted on Thursday evening the Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts US and other international forces in western Iraq, and multiple blasts were heard inside the base, two security sources said.” The Iraqi military claims it is searching for the drone debris. On Wednesday there were two drone attacks at Asad base, and one of them caused “minor injuries,” Reuters reported. The US intercepted the first drone attack, which reports said consisted of two drones. Iran and its proxies use kamikaze drones usually. Iran has exported Shahed 136 kamikaze drones to Russia. Sanctions on Iran’s missile program also ended this week, fueling Iran’s appetite for defense deals and empowering its sense of impunity regarding the supply of weapons to proxies.

The Pentagon also said a US Navy warship had shot down three missiles and several drones that were launched from Yemen. Iran backs the Houthis in Yemen. In the past they have threatened Israel and the US. Their official slogan is “death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory to Islam.” Iran had reconciled with Saudi Arabia earlier this year and this was supposed to reduce threats from the Houthis. The Houthis tried to conquer Yemen in 2015 but Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states intervened. Iran shipped the Houthis technological know-how to make drones and ballistic missiles and Iran used Yemen as a testing ground for its kamikaze drones, perfecting targeting and precision.

The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer which is sailing in the Red Sea intercepted the drone and missile threat this week, according to Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary. The US says they were launched by the Houthis. “We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel,” Ryder said. They posed a potential threat and the US is prepared to support “our partners” in the region. This could refer to Israel. The US has sent two carriers to the Mediterranean amidst Hezbollah threats.

Iran’s drone wars now appear to be increasing across a wide swath of the Middle East. This is an arc of drone warfare that now stretches from Lebanon via Syria to Iraq and the Gulf and Red Sea. Iranian drones and the drones of its proxies are believed to have ranges of some 2,000km.

Source » jpost