President Donald Trump has called on ‘millions’ of people in Iraq to resist Iran, as the fallout over US airstrikes on an Iran-backed militia brings Washington and Tehran one step closer to proxy war.
“To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, the president accused Iran of “orchestrating an attack on the US embassy in Iraq,” as scores of protesters stormed the compound chanting “death to America,” waving Hezbollah flags and setting fires. Embassy security forces fought back with stun grenades, and US officials told Reuters that additional Marines would be deployed to the embassy to bolster security.
The protests were triggered by US airstrikes on three Kataib Hezbollah targets in Iraq and two in Syria on Sunday. Washington blames the Iranian-supported militia for attacking a coalition base in Kirkuk on Friday, a strike that killed one American contractor and left several US troops injured.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the Kirkuk attack, and Iran has denied responsibility for any militia attacks on US personnel. Yet Washington has pinned the blame on Tehran, with Trump claiming that “Iran killed” the contractor and State Secretary Mike Pompeo declaring it an “Iranian proxy attack.”