American intelligence analysts expect Iranian-backed militias to continue to plot attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq, according to a prominent Republican lawmaker.
"Iran is still conducting a proxy war here, and to suggest they have no influence or limited influence in Iraq would be to ignore current intel," Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who is close to President Trump, told the Washington Examiner. "The instability within the region makes it highly probable that we’ll see some type of rogue militia have some kind of influence in Iraq."
That assessment could suggest a return to the pattern of Iranian-backed attacks that are tailored to avoid a high-stakes military confrontation with the United States.
Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week was driven in part by a desire to break the tit-for-tat cycle by using a major act of retaliation to deter future attacks. But, experts said, that’s not a permanent fix to the crisis.
“It's too soon to declare victory,” Bradley Bowman, a senior director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank that has been threatened by Iran for working with the administration, told the Washington Examiner. “They're going to continue to do what they've been doing as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. But I think, post the Soleimani killing, the deterrence bar has been raised for the killing and injuring of Americans.”