Iraq is back in the headlines. Two weeks after the Iraqi Ambassador to the US Fareed Yasseen made waves by saying that “there are objective reasons that may call for the establishment of relations between Iraq and Israel,” some in the Arab world now point to Israel as being behind last week’s attack on Iraq’s Al-Shuhada military base.
On Friday, the Iraqi army announced that a military base near the town of Amerli in eastern Salahuddin, north of Baghdad, had been bombed by a drone. According to Al Arabiya, at least one person was killed and two wounded in the attack.
According to Western and Israeli intelligence organizations, in recent months Iran has provided the Iraqi Shi’ite militias with dozens of guided ballistic missiles. Tehran’s aim is reportedly to build an alternative “missile base” in Iraq following Israel’s repeated successful strikes against Iranian targets in Syria
The missiles are reported to be of the Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar types. On August 31, 2018, Reuters reported that the Zolfaqar missiles have a range of up to 700 kilometers, enabling them to reach Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, or Tel Aviv if launched from Iraq. The Fateh-110 missiles have 250-300 km range.
The Iraqi base hit last week is relatively close to the border, and Iran may have been planning to move the missiles into Syria.
The Iraqi government has trouble standing up to Iran, which means its territory is prone to US and Israeli attacks. Experience proves that Israel has excellent intelligence information on IRGC activity in Syria and Iraq that it can quickly translate into offensive operational activity.