The promotional video of US jets carpet-bombing an “ISIS infested” island in Iraq comes amid tensions between Washington and Baghdad, and may have more to do with that than with the supposedly long-defeated terror group.
The video, complete with dramatic music, shows F-15 as well as F-35 jets dropping what was said to be 80,000 pounds of munitions on Qanus Island, north of Baghdad. Operation Inherent Resolve officials said in a statement that the mission was intended to hamper the terrorist group’s “ability to hide in thick vegetation” in the area.
Towards the end of the video, several Iraqi officers are shown watching the pillars of smoke rise up from the island, smiling approvingly as the US advisers accompanying them.
While Western media enthusiastically replayed the video-game style footage, hardly anyone gave the full context behind the bombastic air raid.
It just so happens that tensions are rising between the US and Iraqi governments, with members of the Iraqi parliament making moves to amend or bring to an end a security deal signed between Washington and Baghdad in 2008.
While Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) cells are still believed to be active in Iraq, the group is considered largely defeated – US President Donald Trump has said as much, repeatedly – and many Iraqis believe it’s time for US troops to finally leave the country for good.
Iraqi anger at the US is partly due to what some of them say is a “weak” American stance over recent attacks on the bases of Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq, which the PMF have blamed on Israel.
US forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, claiming the country was aiding terrorists that attacked New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 and possessing weapons of mass destruction. Both of those claims were decisively debunked long before 2011, when the US occupation troops finally withdrew – only to be rushed back in 2014 to counter the rise of ISIS.
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