As tensions have ratcheted up between the U.S. and Iran over the past six months, there have been questions about how seriously to take dire threats of violence from Iran and its regional proxies. Concerns have grown particularly in light of recent Iranian-sponsored attacks on oil facilities, airports, embassies, and military bases across the Persian Gulf region.
Following the death of former Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad in early January, a host of Iraqi Shiite militia groups swore revenge on America in the most explicit and apocalyptic terms. Yet, three months later, U.S. military forces remain in large numbers on Iraqi soil and vengeance from Shiite militants has thus far been limited to sporadic rocket attacks.
This conspicuous disparity is apparent not only to Western analysts, but to members and supporters of these militias as well, who have begun grumbling on the encrypted Telegram messaging service that their leaders are failing to live up to their own propaganda line. A user affiliated with a newly-emergent faction Ashab al-Kahf has publicly complained, “everyone who promised to get revenge for the martyrs on the American enemy has failed to fulfill their vows. Instead, they used the incidents as a negotiating tactic to secure powerful political positions by threatening to retaliate. Middlemen presented them with appealing offers… and these talks even extended to people close to the martyred commanders [Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis]. There is discussion among the brothers of jihad from all the factions of the Islamic resistance, and they have agreed about their dissatisfaction with what has been done by their groups and their leaders.”
So what does this mean for the average person, for public sector entities, and commercial organizations? I’ll dive into this topic in greater detail on May 5. Register for the in-depth webinar ‘An Intelligence Analysis of U.S.-Iran Tensions in Iraq and the Persian Gulf‘ here.