CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie emphasised that “the U.S. force presence in Iraq is there at the invitation of the Government of Iraq, and our focus remains on completing the final destruction of Daesh [ISIS]”, adding that “our forces are there largely in a train/advise/assist mentoring role”. McKenzie further noted that “we are seeing pressure from Iranian-affiliated militant groups that want to push us out of Iraq, and the latest manifestation of that has been the use of small unmanned aerial systems, or drones. Some of them are very small, some are a little bit larger – all can be very lethal”. “Political pressure [toward a U.S. withdrawal] has not worked for them; now they’re turning to a kinetic approach. And that is very concerning to me”, he indicated. “We have a variety of measures there that we can defend ourselves, but… the primary responsibility for that defence is with the Government of Iraq. And they have done a number of things that have been very helpful to reduce the threat. Nonetheless, the threat is concerning and we will take whatever measures are necessary to defend ourselves”.
Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.