US to possibly protect troops in Iraq with anti-missile systems


Learning the harsh lesson from the Iranian attack of U.S. installations in Iraq on 8 January, the Pentagon is considering – at last – the deployment of anti-missile systems to protect the American bases in the country.


US to possibly protect its troops in Iraq with anti missile systems
Patriot air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)


On Jan. 8, Iran fired eleven (some U.S. sources mention fifteen, Iraqi ones twenty-two) Fateh-313 and Qiam ballistic missiles at Ayn al-Asad airbase in Al Anbar Governorate, Western Iraq, as well as another airbase in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan (Operation Martyr Soleimani). Ten missiles hit Ayn Al Asad airbase, one hit the Erbil base, and four missiles failed to reach their target. The U.S. forces failed to intercept them because they were equipped with cluster warheads.

After denying any physical damage to the military personnel deployed in the two bases hit by Iranian missile, the Pentagon admitted that, on top of the material damage, eleven soldiers had been wounded, not heavily, though. They were evaluated for concussion-like symptoms a week after the attack. Some analysts suggested the strike was deliberately designed to avoid causing any casualties to avoid an American response. However, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the attack was intended to kill. The fact is that the U.S. troops had been warned of the attack and had taken shelter in bunkers built during the Saddam Hussein regime (except the sentinels who endured a hell of a “shower”, none of them being hit).

The Pentagon admits there is a worldwide shortage of Patriots, some units being currently bogged down protecting bases in Saudi Arabia. Other Patriot units are being used to protect American forces in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, where billions of dollars of aircraft are based, including stealth fighter jets. Other Patriot units – either U.S. or other operators – are deployed in Europe, Japan and elsewhere.


 

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