At least 26 Iranian-backed militia were killed in an airstrike that hit a total of four military compounds in Al Bukamal, eastern Syria as well as directly across the border in Qaim, Iraq on the night of March 11. It is believed that the base in Al Bukamal was completely destroyed with 13 of the 15 structures in the installation being destroyed. This includes structures above ground as well as underground. This installation belonged to the Shiite pro-Iranian group Kataib Imam Ali (Imam Ali Battalions).
Some media credited the attack to the U.S.military since, earlier that day, a rocket attack fired 18 107-mm Katyusha rockets at Camp Taji, a military installation north of Baghdad used by coalition forces. Two American soldiers, one British soldier, and a civilian specialist were killed and an unspecified number were wounded.
Military analysts believe the airstrike was intended to send the message to Iran that the U.S. will not tolerate Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force in Syria.
Four compounds were massively attacked (12 March 2020) at the #Iran|ian #military base in #Albukamal, #Syria, by #US forces according to media reports.
Here is #ISI assessment: pic.twitter.com/Fria61IT4c
— ImageSat Intl. (@ImageSatIntl) March 19, 2020
It should be noted that the IDF also operates in Syria with the same objective.
The U.S. denied that its military carried out this airstrike, claiming it retaliated on March 13 with an airstrike against an airport in the Iraqi Karbala region. The airstrike hit five warehouses, killing five militiamen and one civilian. The US Department of Defense said the attacks were carried out on five arms depots near Karbala, which were used by militants of the pro-Iranian militant group Kataib Hezbollah. Days after this incident, the U.S. withdrew from a post near Qaim in Iraq.
The russian language news site, NEWSru.co.il, received images of the strike from the Israeli company ImageSat International, the operator of the Eros-B surveillance satellite. This link to Israel led the military news site BulgarianMilitary.com to suggest that the strikes in east Syria were carried out by the IDF.
The Israeli connection goes even deeper. In 2011, Camp Taji was hit by 120 small rockets. The camp was a key component in the U.S. effort to train local troops in the fight against ISIS. The rockets were low tech, cheap, and readily available but the U.S. had no method of stopping them.
It should be noted that all the rockets in Iraq come from Iran.
Last year the U.S. Army agreed to purchase Israel’s Iron Dome system, which is designed to deal with short-range rockets. Last week the Army abruptly canceled the procurement claiming it could not accept the system because Israel refused to supply source code that would enable the integration of the system with other Army assets.
Stephen Bryen, a leading technologist policy expert and strategist who writes for AsiaTimes, reported on the deal, noting that source code is rarely supplied by defense manufacturers and the U.S. has a shoddy track record in safeguarding foreign intellectual property. AsiaTimes also noted that the U.S. does not supply source code when it sells weapons systems. It also noted that source code is not needed to integrate air defense systems with other radars or command and control systems, and source code was not part of the original contract.
“All of this begs the question as to why the US Army killed the deal to buy one of the most successful air defense systems ever offered,” Bryen wrote. “Iron Dome has shot down more than 2,000 missiles, mainly those fired from Gaza at Israeli targets, and has an effectiveness rate of more than 95%.”
“All of this begs the question as to why the US Army killed the deal to buy one of the most successful air defense systems ever offered. Iron Dome has shot down more than 2,000 missiles, mainly those fired from Gaza at Israeli targets, and has an effectiveness rate of more than 95%.”
“It seems the US Army was willing to sacrifice the protection of its soldiers and coalition partners for no good reason,” Bryen concluded.