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Anti-U.S. attacks bring new phase of security challenges for Iraq

Sparked by the Gaza war, increased strikes on American targets highlight the weakness of an Iraqi government pinned between opposing political and military forces.
Supporters of Iran-backed militant groups gather during a protest against the U.S. for supporting Israel, and in support of Palestinians in Gaza, near the entrance of Baghdad's Green Zone on Oct. 20, 2023. (AHMED SAAD/Reuters)

Iran-backed militant groups are conducting regular attacks on U.S. interests in Iraq, creating a difficult political balancing act for a Baghdad government built on the support of Iran-aligned political parties but also economically dependent on the U.S.

The opposing pressures on Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani have for the moment yielded an uneasy status quo characterized by a steady tempo of rocket and drone strikes on American targets, occasional U.S. retaliations and threats, and a growing consensus in Baghdad that nobody is interested in intensifying or broadening the hostilities.

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