Biden Administration Refuses To Say Middle East Militias Are Iran-Backed

Biden Administration Refuses To Say Middle East Militias Are Iran-Backed

President Joe Biden’s Pentagon press secretary John Kirby refused to link Iran to Shia militias operating in Iraq that launch frequent attacks on U.S. troops and other allies in the region.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday after an attack on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad Airbase, where an American contractor died of a heart attack this week, Kirby refused to say the Shia Iraqi militias, which likely carried out the strike, were aligned with Iran.

“When you say Shia-backed militias, do you mean Shia militias or Iran-backed?” one reporter asked to clarify during Wednesday’s briefing.

“I mean Shia-backed militias,” Kirby said.

The attack on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad came after a similar episode at the Erbil International Airport in Kurdistan Region, Iraq, in February, which killed a civilian contractor and wounded several Americans. This attack preceded U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

“Obviously it’s a rocket attack and we have seen rocket attacks come from Shia-backed militia groups in the past,” Kirby said of the strike in Iraq this week. “We’ve long been open and honest about the threats that arise from these rocket attacks that are being perpetrated by some Shia-backed militia. And we’ve not been bashful about calling it out when we’ve seen it.”

The refusal to link Iran with the Shia militias, however, signals a softer policy on Iran from the Biden White House, which immediately embarked on jumpstarting negotiations to rejoin the Iran deal, opening the door for the Middle Eastern sponsor of terrorism to obtain a nuclear weapon.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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