Pentagon warns Israel on Iraq

Pentagon Opposes Israeli Attacks on Iraq

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The Pentagon has issued a new statement this week disavowing any involvement in recent Israeli attacks against Iraqi territory, saying that statements claiming US involvement were “false, misleading, and inflammatory.”

The US revealed Israel was behind the attacks last week, and as attacks hit again over the weekend, Iraqi forces started saying they suspected US involvement. This is not unreasonable, as historically the US supports and facilitates Israeli attacks as a matter of course.

The Pentagon statement, however, suggests this is not one of those times, referring to Israel as “external actors inciting violence in Iraq,” and expressing support for Iraq to exercise self defense “and protect their democracy.”

The democracy comment is likely to particularly rile Israel, because the Israel narrative has long been that they are the “only democracy” in the entire Middle East. Talking of Iraq’s self defense is also going to be an issue for Israel, though Iraq has limited air defense systems to defend itself.

Russia might be able to do something about that though, with Iraq’s parliament saying that Russia had promised assistance for Iraqi Air Forces. It’s not clear what that will entail yet, but Iraq’s neighbors are all buying Russian air defense systems, so that’s likely to be a focus.

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