Analysis - Big Upgrade: Iraqi Drones in Game, Hunting for Occupying Forces

Analysis - Big Upgrade: Iraqi Drones in Game, Hunting for Occupying Forces

The fight against the US and Western coalition's occupation in Iraq is elevating to new heights. Erbil airport, Turkish military base in Bashiqa in the north, and Ein Al-Assad base are the military sites that over the past days came under drone and rocket attacks by a newly-founded group naming itself Saraya Awliya Al-Dam "Guardians of Blood Brigade".

Ahlulbayt News Agency: The fight against the US and Western coalition's occupation in Iraq is elevating to new heights. Erbil airport, Turkish military base in Bashiqa in the north, and Ein Al-Assad base are the military sites that over the past days came under drone and rocket attacks by a newly-founded group naming itself Saraya Awliya Al-Dam "Guardians of Blood Brigade".

In these developments, two important issues are up for analysis: First, the use of drones in the strikes and second the US position in Iraq after the bullying approach and military actions against the resistant groups. 

Shadow of fear on the Americans; from Erbil to US consulate and Ein Al-Assad 

In the evening of April 14, Erbil International Airport in the Iraqi Kurdish region was attacked. Following the blasts, the US consulate sounded the alarms, and the authorities closed the routes leading to the airport and the consulate. 

According to Kurdistan political officials, the attack did not cause any casualties and only one of the buildings inside the airport was damaged. According to a statement from the ministry of interior of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the attack on the airport on Wednesday night was carried out by a drone that targeted the headquarters of the International Coalition inside the airport. A rocket was also fired at the airport, the ministry confirmed. 

Along with the attacks on Erbil airport, two rockets targeted Zelikan Camp, where Turkish troops are based in Bashiqa in northwest of Nineveh province. The strikes caused several-hour suspension of flights to and from Erbil airport. 

But the larger attack was a drone strike on the US positions and forces at the Ein al-Assad base on Thursday. According to Iraqi news outlets, three suicide drones hit the base in Al-Anbar province, with the air defense batteries stationed at the based failing to respond.

Drone strikes and balance change in anti-occupation equations 

The recent attacks on the bases hosting the US occupying troops in Iraq in first look may be deemed a continuation of sporadic confrontations between the resistant forces and the US forces but in the new attacks on Erbil and Ein Al-Assad, drones were utilized more than any other time, highlighting the ineffectiveness of the state-of-the-art American air defenses to detect and destroy them before hitting their aims. 

In the past, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a voluntary force founded in 2014 in response to the ISIS emergence in Iraq, mainly used missiles and rockets during their attacks on the occupying forces, and the Americans claimed that their anti-missile systems could counter any kind of attack launched by the forces that after defeating ISIS terrorist group shifted their military campaign towards forcing the Western "occupiers" out of Iraq, a stance consolidated by the Iraqi parliament's January 5, 2020 bill demanding foreign troops expulsion. 

The new trend now shows that the PMF, called Hashd al-Shaabi locally, are more than ever embracing use of drones as one of the most important weaponry. More importantly, the US missile defense systems at Ein Al-Assad, just contrary to claims, not only failed to identify the drones but also allowed the resistant groups to act easily and reach their targets. 

The development of drone capabilities allows the Iraqi resistance to detect and control the movement of the American forces and their plots to transfer ISIS terrorist fighters to and from Iraq. The scale of attacks and use of drone technology showed that the PMF units are fully capable of advancing their drone capabilities, making the American troops reachable for strikes. This very well discloses a fact: Equations have changed to PMF favor and against the American interests, making the US stay in the Arab country more difficult than ever. 

Ultimatum to Washington and its proponents in Iraq 

The attacks on the US-led Western coalition positions at Erbil airport and Ein al-Assad was aimed at putting more pressure on the American occupiers and their supporters inside Iraq. On the one hand, the new round of strikes this time with drones has shown that in the new situation, the Americans are not safe anywhere in Iraq, and their weakness in countering the capabilities of the resistance forces will be even more brazen in the future. 

On the other hand, the attacks handed a message to the Iraqi advocates of the American military stay. It is now proven to the Kurdish leaders that the US cannot even protect itself. A serious question for them now is that how a country unable to protect itself is supposed to protect the Kurdish region. In the new conditions, the Americans are in trouble protecting their forces and the thought that they can protect Erbil against threats is a joke. Therefore, Erbil's departure from setting heart to the American protection would be one of the important outcomes of the constant attacks on the American bases.

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