Daily Review: Iran Pressures Militia to Stop Attacks on U.S. Forces

Daily Review: Iran Pressures Militia to Stop Attacks on U.S. Forces
Members of an Iraqi Shiite militant group attend the funeral of a fighter with the Kata’ib Hezbollah, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 25, 2024 (AP Photo by Hadi Mizban).

The Iran-linked militia that U.S. officials said was likely responsible for the lethal drone attack against U.S. forces in Jordan over the weekend said yesterday it would suspend military operations. Kata’ib Hezbollah, a group based in Iraq, made clear the decision came as a result of pressure from Iraq and Iran. (New York Times)

Our Take

Kata’ib Hezbollah’s statement is the clearest signal yet of what most observers already believed and what a senior Iranian military commander today stated explicitly: Tehran does not want to escalate conflict in the region. Iranian officials have been involved in negotiations in recent days to convince the militia to halt its operations, and the group’s statement explicitly says that Tehran often objects to the militia’s “pressure and escalation against the American occupation forces in Iraq and Syria.”

This unexpected development now complicates Washington’s calculus. The White House has said in recent days that its goal in responding to this past weekend’s strike in Jordan was to deter further attacks without escalating hostilities, and U.S. President Joe Biden said shortly before Kata’ib Hezbollah’s announcement that he had already decided what the U.S. response would be.

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