US Military Says Deployment of Air Defense System to Iraq “for Operational Security Reasons”
United States Central Command, which is responsible for the country’s military operations in the Middle East, said in a statement that the deployment of the air defense system into Iraq is merely for “operational security reasons”.
Earlier this week, military officials from Baghdad and Washington confirmed that the US army was deploying anti-missile batteries to a base in Iraq’s Anbar province and another in Kurdistan Region’s Erbil.
“As the Commander, U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie said at a press briefing on March 13, the U.S. is moving defensive systems into Iraq to protect Iraqi, coalition, and U.S. service members from a variety of air threats seen at Iraqi bases that host coalition troops. It is important to note that repeated attacks on Iraqi bases, which violate Iraqi sovereignty, have killed and injured Iraqi, coalition, and U.S. service members,” said Captain Bill Urban, USN, US Central Command Spokesperson.
“The establishment of ground-based air defenses in Iraq continues, but for operational security reasons, we are not providing status updates as those systems come online.”
The deployment of the air defense system comes after rocket attacks on US and Coalition bases in Iraq have dramatically increased since January this year. Washington blames the attacks on Iran-backed militias in Iraq.
“The Iraqi Government is well aware of our collective need for air defense protection of service members within Iraq, and we continue to coordinate closely with our Iraqi counterparts. The U.S. and our Coalition partners remain committed to the lasting defeat of ISIS [Islamic State] and supporting Iraq’s long-term security and stability,” Urban added. Source