A cycle of attacks between US forces in Iraq and Iraqi independent militia led to the death of a number of US and Israeli high-rank military officials.
The Popular Mobilization Forces of Iraq (PMF) arranged a series of attacks against American targets last week. During the attack on 27th of June, three rockets hit American command center in the US base in Erbil.
According to Senior Enlisted Leader, Fleet Master Chief James Herdel, four men, including two high-rank military personnel suffered injuries. Lt. Col. James C. Willis of US military and Col. Sharon Asman of IDF were among the injured.
The injured officials were immediately taken to sick bay of the US Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. A day later, only one survived and three others lost their lives. Reports indicate that the corpse of the high-rank victims were sent to their home capitals then.
On July 1st, the funeral session for the American Lt. Col. James C. Willis was held in his hometown, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The high-rank US official recieved burial in Santa Fe National Cemetery, according to EverLoved.
The public announcement of funeral service for the US colonel occurred in a condition that natural (non-military) reasons were mentioned for his death.
On the same day, the Israeli high-rank military chief Col. Sharon Asman received funeral service in Kfar Yona Cemetery in his hometown.
The death of US high-rank officials in the Middle East is not unprecedented. Back in 2014, the death of Gen. Harold Greene in Afghanistan made headlines. An afghan soldier killed Gen. Greene while he was making a routine visit to a training facility.
Similar incidents occurred recurrently in the past decades. The most recent one, however, is significant in many ways, making it a confidential one almost uncovered by the media.
A Fierce Response
The Drone attack against US base in Erbil was a response to another assault by US forces three days earlier. While PMF refrains from commenting, observers believe that the US military operation in Iraqi-Syrian border targeting the PMF headquarters instigated the PMF attack.
The death of two high-rank military officials was a hard blow for the US mission in the Middle East. US media did not cover the news about the losses. The incident may instigate backlash inside the US and Israel considering the public dissatisfactions with their military presence in the region.
The US state media campaigns went even further to relate the death of Lt. Col. James C. Willis to personal health issues. Unconfirmed reports indicate that President Biden personally called for intelligence classification of the PMF operation and death of US high-rank colonel.
The Government also kept Members of US congress uninformed about the result of US operations in Iraq and Syria. The level of confidentiality indicates the sensitivity of the issue for US national security and politics.
American give-and-take with Iraqi militia occurs while the US is under heavy pressure for withdrawal of forces from the region. At home, the billion-dollar costs of a two-decade long war has exhausted the people. Besides, dissatisfaction with the increasing number of US victims, following the escalation of Attacks against US forces, has soared.
On the other side, the local people in the region also protested the US presence in Iraq and Syria. Their call for immediate withdrawal of forces was accompanied by passing laws in local parliament requiring the US forces to leave the country.
The Biden admonition’s policy in Iraq and Syria in the past six months deteriorated the condition for the military forces. The death of a high-rank colonel may lead to further tensions.