CNN Claims ‘Fresh Intelligence’ Suggests Iran Is Preparing Attacks On US Forces

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Ain al-Asad base in Western Iraq. Click to see full-size image

Fresh intelligence points to alleged Iranian threat against US troops and interests in the Middle East, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reported, citing unnamed US defense and administration officials.

There was no current indication that Iran planned to attack any US troops, but it was moving forces and weapons, according to the intelligence.

“There has been consistent intelligence in the last several weeks,” one unnamed administration official told CNN.

A second anonymous official claimed that the information was gathered throughout November 2019.

The sources couldn’t say in what form the intelligence was, but that Iran was definitely moving forces and weapons and if it wished so it could carry out an attack.

“It’s not clear if a potential threat would come from the central government or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

The head of US military operations in the Middle East, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said that the US expected some sort of Iranian response to US sanctions and pressure.

“I would expect that if we look at the past three or four months, it’s possible they will do something that is irresponsible. It’s possible that they’ll lash out at their neighbors,” the head of the US Central Command said. “It is not going to be productive for them in the long term to choose to act out in the military domain. That’s the message that we’re trying to convey.”

Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman refused to comment on the intelligence rumors, and told CNN, “We continue to closely monitor the activities of the regime in Iran, its military and its proxies, and we are well postured to defend US forces and interests as needed.”

In early November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters the administration was pleased to see a “downtick” in overt Iranian actions in the region and that the administration wanted to send a signal “that the path forward is through diplomacy,” but the military is “prepared to act as need be.”

Something that could potentially be blamed on Iran is the December 3rd shelling of the Ain al-Asad airbase in the Anbar province in Western Iraq.

The base houses US troops. No facilities were hit and there were no injuries, Col. Myles B. Caggins III, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Military Times in an emailed statement.

Reuters reported, citing the Iraqi military, that five rockets in total landed in the airbase.

“Rocket and indirect fire attacks are a common occurrence in Iraq, and often the hallmark attack of Iranian-backed militias in the region,” Military times reported.

Unnamed officials with OIR told Military Times in June that they witnessed an increase in indirect fire attacks near U.S. installations and other interests in the region. This, based on absolutely no evidence, is allegedly due to increased tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Throughout September and October 2019, the US military has carried out a large number of airstrikes on ISIS positions in Iraq, in total 303 munitions have been launched. Regardless, it is likely that Iran would be accused for the shelling of Ain al-Asad base.

In September, a rocket hit near the empty US Embassy in Baghdad, and it was also blamed on Iran proxies, but no evidence was provided.

The attack was the second since May 2019, when a rocket was fired into the Green Zone, landing near the U.S. Embassy compound, which was empty back then again. Both times the rockets fell without causing any damages or casualties.

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