February 5, 2024

Why are Iran's proxies targeting US military bases?

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by Farhad Rezaei, Senior Research Fellow

The fruit of Tehran’s strategy is evident in the recently announced US plan to pull all its remaining troops from Iraq.

For the past two months, Iranian proxies have attacked American forces in Syria and Iraq more than 170 times. Although Washington has hit back at the militias, the Biden administration is resolved to evacuate its few remaining bases in the region.

In the latest operation, elite Iraqi armed faction Kataib Hezbollah, a member of the pro-Iranian Hashd Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Force) killed three and wounded 47 American troops stationed in Tower 22 in Jordan – a country that was previously spared such attacks.

The wave of attacks is worrisome. There are approximately American 900 soldiers (and hundreds of contractors) stationed in Syria’s northeastern provinces of Hasakah and Raqqa – as well as on al-Tanf US military base, in a remote but strategically important area of Syria, near the borders of Syria, Jordan, and Iraq.