Rising Tensions: IRGC Attacks US Consulate in Iraq

The American consulate in Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq was attacked Monday evening by drones belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to a report on Al Jazeera. The IRGC took responsibility for the attack in northern Iraq announcing that they had attacked an “intelligence headquarters and gathering place of anti-Iranian terrorist organizations in response to the latest terrorist crimes against Iran’s enemies.” The IRGC claimed that it had targeted “three Mossad bases” in the region, despite the fact that the Kurdistan Regional Government had rejected the presence of Israeli intelligence in Iraqi Kurdistan in December. US officials told Reuters that the attacks had not damaged US facilities and there were no US casualties, they declined to provide further comment. Several civilians are believed to have died in the attack, with Kurdish regional government officials announcing the death of a prominent businessman and four of his family members.

Tensions have been rising in Iraq as Iran seeks to increase pressure on Israel and the United States, these attacks come less than a week after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani signaled that he wanted the quick withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. However, privately Sudani has sent mixed signals, as POLITICO reported that he had told US officials in private that his statement was “an attempt to satisfy domestic political audiences” and that he “remained committed” to negotiating the US’s future presence in Iraq. American and British airstrikes in Yemen have been linked to the bombardment of the US base in Iraq, with claims that attacks on Yemen make the American and British forces in the region “legitimate targets”, according to Fars News. Western airstrikes in Yemen have been targeting the Houthis radar and air infrastructure to prevent them from attacking ships passing through the Bab el-Mandeb to the Red Sea. The Houthis are part of Iran’s array of allied and aligned militias through which it wages a proxy war against the United States and Israel.