Is Correlation Causation? Attacks on US Troops Down With Ceasefire

Najmi Arif /
Najmi Arif /

On October 17th, the barrage of rockets and drones attacking US forces in Iraq and Syria began coming in. Since then, attacks have been consistent, but thankfully arriving with ample warning and little impact on troops safety-wise. Yet on November 23rd, the day before the Israel/Hamas ceasefire, the attacks stopped. Since then, they have stayed off with the ceasefire agreement.

The Islamic Resistance of Iraq originated from various Iranian-based militias. Claiming responsibility for most of these attacks, they have not launched or claimed a single one since November 23rd’s Thanksgiving Day strikes. With the ceasefire starting on November 24th from the negotiation for a hostage exchange between Hamas and Palestinian authorities, it’s no wonder the two are correlated, but are they causated?

In the little over a month of attacks, these Iranian groups have attacked 66 times: 32 in Iraq and 34 in Syria. Mostly striking infrastructure (when they land), non-life-threatening injuries have occurred. While this includes multiple traumatic brain injuries, in true military fashion, they were back on the lines just days later.

During this course of attacks, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has authorized three separate counterstrikes. Designed to limit the strikes or capabilities of American enemies, the last retaliation was launched on November 13th and acknowledged by US authorities on the 16th. A major surge of troops and equipment to the region has been launched to deter any terroristic ideas that the conflict between Israel and Palestine should spill out across the Middle East.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided some sharp introspective on the operation during a November 6th briefing about the situation.

“A stated goal, as I highlighted, is to deter a broader regional conflict. And right now, today, the conflict is contained to Gaza and Israel and their fight against Hamas…What we’re trying to do, is, again, make sure that this does not spiral into escalation — I don’t think anybody wants to see that — while at the same time making sure that we’re protecting our forces, while at the same time making sure that we have options available to us, capabilities, should someone attempt to exploit this situation and broaden this conflict.”

Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen has also been incredibly active as of late. Also backed by Iranian authorities, the group of rebels has been taking extreme measures to destabilize the region without hesitation. Their latest attack came as the USS Mason conducted a rescue mission in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Djibouti.

Firing off ancient missiles, they aimed the ship to divert efforts as their pirates attacked a civilian ship. Thanks to their ancient technology, the US warship did not need to respond or even perform evasive maneuvers. Instead, the rockets plummeted into the waters 10 nautical miles away.

Seeing the way these attacks on US troops and the situation between Israel and Palestine are linked up, it makes sense that the two have to do with one another. For US assets overseas, this is a crucial time for them, as the region is under the threat of becoming completely destabilized. Given the level of infighting between different tribes, factions, and terrorist affiliations, there is little recourse for US assets to be safe and kept out of harm’s way.

While places like Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are largely considered safe places to be based, the influx of Hamas and other organizations are setting up “offices.” Opened as political fronts for meetings and to launder money, there is a grave concern about attacks on these locations. A major concern as of late, as they are often placed directly around western assets to prevent drone and air strikes that could potentially injure countless civilians. These terrorists have taken the age-old adage of hiding in plain sight to new levels.

This is the same cowardly tactic seen in Palestine as Hamas has been putting hostages and their fighters in tunnels under mosques and hospitals, placing the rule of law exempt from targeted attacks. With the ceasefire currently yielding hostages being released, perhaps it can transition into brokered peace going forward.