Joe Biden has succeeded in alienating an American ally with his airstrikes against Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took office in 2020, has been a friendly and receptive towards American efforts in the region. His government now serves as a major counter to the spread of Iranian influence in Iraq. Now he and his government are actively planning to start a legal battle in response to the attacks ordered by Biden.
Biden airstrikes anger friendly regime
The airstrikes struck targets on both sides of the border between Syria and Iraq, at least killing several militia members. The Syrian government claimed that a child was killed in one of the strikes.
The Shiite militias targeted are aligned with Iran and accused by the Biden Administration of launching attacks against American forces in the region.
These specific militias are, however, supported by and incorporated into the Iraqi military to contribute to the fight against ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Iraq claims that they were operating in this formal capacity when they were bombed by American F-15s.
The current Iraqi government under Kadhimi has tried to curb the influence of these militias somewhat in an attempt to lessen Iranian influence over the predominantly Shiite area of southern Iraq.
If Biden and his advisors believed that this meant that Kadhimi would welcome a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and an attack on officially sanctioned militias then they were sorely mistaken.
Whole violating Syrian sovereignty to launch missiles and airstrikes at the beleaguered nation has become an international pastime for world leaders, the bombings in Iraq are likely to cause real problems for the Biden Administration.
Iraq condemns violation of sovereignty
Khadimi and his government are already in a difficult position pinned between Iranian and American interests. He has generally refrained from criticizing American actions against Iran.
Iraq was apparently given no warning in advance about the airstrikes which were to take place inside their borders and the Iraqi military was clearly not consulted.
After an emergency cabinet meeting the Iraqi government condemned the attacks and vowed to study legal options, a rare public opposition to American military actions from Khadimi.
While American political and military leaders tend to see airstrikes as a risk free method of intervention, the Iraqi response serves as a reminder that nations on the receiving end do not always share that view.
Regardless of the military merits of the airstrikes, ignoring the sovereignty of a country so blatantly and without any concern for their feelings on the matter is unlikely to win many friends.
Khadimi has worked to cooperate with the United States and this is his reward from the Biden Administration. If even a friendly nation cannot be free from airstrikes carried out without warning, hostility from others nearby should hardly be surprising.