Maybe Iran Didn’t Start a War With Us After All

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Hey, remember that rocket attack from an Iranian militia back in December? It killed an American contractor, so we launched a retaliatory attack that killed 24 and wounded 50. Then a big crowd of Iranian sympathizers surrounded the US embassy in Baghdad, and President Trump responded by killing Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Kuds Force. Iran responded, and finally the whole thing petered out.

Funny thing about that. It turns out that the original attack might not have been from an Iranian militia after all. It might have been from ISIS:

Iraqi officials say their doubts are based on circumstantial evidence and long experience in the area where the attack took place….Khataib Hezbollah has not had a presence in Kirkuk Province since 2014. The Islamic State, however, had carried out three attacks relatively close to the base in the 10 days before the attack on K-1. Iraqi intelligence officials sent reports to the Americans in November and December warning that ISIS intended to target K-1, an Iraqi air base in Kirkuk Province that is also used by American forces.

….“We have requested the American side to share with us any information, any evidence, but they have not sent us any information,” Lt. Gen. Muhammad al-Bayati, the chief of staff for former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, said in an interview….“They did not ask for my analysis of what happened in Kirkuk and neither did they share any of their information,” he said. “Usually, they would do both.”

American officials disagree, insisting that the attack came from Khataib Hezbollah. They haven’t released any evidence to back this up, but they’re absolutely, totally sure of it. And I guess that should be good enough. After all, American military intelligence has a long track record of always being right about things related to Iraq. Right?

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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