Amid calls by Iraqi political forces for the withdrawal of American troops from the country under a parliamentary decision issued on 5 January 2020, military bases housing US forces there have been increasingly targeted with missile attacks, attributed by Washington to armed factions loyal to Iran.
Iran-backed militias are accused by American military officials as increasingly resorting to sophisticated drones capable of evading detection and targeting military bases and diplomatic facilities, with some commanders describing their soldiers as “sitting ducks”.
In place of rocket attacks, the militiamen have turned to employing small, fixed-wing drones that fly too low to be picked up by defensive systems, US military officials and diplomats are cited as saying. Currently, there are around 3,000 troops, including 2,500 US forces, remaining in Iraq as part of the coalition fighting Daesh*.
After each new attack, US officials were cited as rushing to determine whether Americans had been killed or injured.
Better defences against the drones are currently under development, according to the top US military commander in the Middle East, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie.
The General was cited as emphasising the ongoing search for ways to cut command-and-control links between a drone and its operator, as well as…