Iraq to ‘review’ US ties after air strikes

Protesters burn the US flag during demonstrations against the strikes on the Hezbollah Brigades militia. (AP pic)

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s government on Monday threatened to “review” its relations with the United States after Washington launched deadly air strikes against a pro-Iran armed group integrated in the Iraqi forces.

“American forces acted on their political priorities, not those of the Iraqis,” the government, acting in a caretaker capacity following the resignation of prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, said in a statement.

The protection of Iraq, its military bases and forces in the country “is the sole responsibility of the Iraqi security forces”, it added.

Such strikes “violate the sovereignty of Iraq” and “contravene the rules of engagement of the (US-led international) coalition” present in Iraq to fight jihadists, it added.

The attacks “force Iraq to review its relations and its security, political and legal framework to protect its sovereignty”.

Sunday night’s attacks saw US planes hit several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades, one of the most radical factions of Hashed al-Shaabi, an Iran-backed security force tied to the Iraqi state.

The strikes, which killed at least 25 fighters according to the Hashed, come at a time when Iraq is caught up in mounting tensions between its allies Tehran and Washington.

They were in retaliation for a series of rocket attacks since late October against US interests in Iraq, including one on Friday that killed a US civilian contractor.