U.S. Embassy In Iraq Hit By Three Missiles
Over the weekend, the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq was struck by three rockets and at least one person was wounded. The strike is a rare direct hit after months of near misses.
The US embassy is said to have informed the Iraqi government that there will be a military response, according to sources. Reportedly, the US suspects the attack was carried out by Iran-backed Shia militia.
The attack serves as a reminder that geopolitical tensions in the Middle East will remain elevated since the US killing of Iranian General Soleimani at the end of 2019.
Yes, the US and Iran have since de-escalated tensions. Or, they have at least stopped taking direct military action against each other.
But that doesn’t mean that the tit-for-tat war between the US and its allies and Iranian proxies in Iran (such as the Shia militia) will not continue.
In fact, the ongoing war is putting the US’ position of power in Iraq at risk. A growing sense of anti-Americanism is epitomised by the rise in popularity of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has risen to prominence by calling for an end to both Iranian and US interference in Iraqi affairs.
Moreover, most of you will remember that the Iraqi parliament also called for the removal of US forces from the country after the US conducted the attack on Soleimani without their consent.
So not only does the ongoing US/Iran proxy war risk tensions flaring up again, but the US may be booted out of Iran. If it was, inevitable US sanctions on Iraq would likely see the majority of its 3.5mln barrels per day in crude oil supply taken off-line – a huge upwards catalyst for crude markets.
Oil prices may be depressed right now due to demand side concerns on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak but do not get complacent!! Middle Eastern geopolitical tensions can come back, and they can come back with a bang!