The deputy commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria has seen “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces” in the two countries, he said Tuesday.
British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika told Pentagon reporters that in terms of militia groups that receive funding from Iran, the coalition has found “no change in their posture since the recent exchange between the United States and Iran and we hope and expect that that will continue.”
“There are a range of threats to American and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria,” Ghika said via video stream from Baghdad. “We monitor them all. Iranian backed forces is clearly one of them and I am not going to go into the detail of it, but there are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria and we don't see an increased threat from many of them at this stage.”
Tensions between the United States and Iran have spiked in recent weeks as the Trump administration has increased sanctions pressure on Tehran and spend up the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group to the region.
The administration also last week deployed B-52s to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as part of the U.S. response to “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” for Iran.
In addition, the Pentagon announced Friday it was sending a Patriot missile battery and the USS Arlington amphibious transport dock to the region.
“It's important that Iran understand that an attack on Americans or its interests will be met with an appropriate response,” acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Friday.