Press briefings at the Pentagon seldom attract much attention. Yet a March 3 briefing by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby proved an exception. As Newsweek reported, Kirby came “under fire for his apparent hesitation to link Iran to Shia militias operating in Iraq and launching attacks against U.S. and allied troops.” The Pentagon’s comments blaming attacks on “Shia-backed militias” are reflective of some mistaken—and dangerous—assumptions.
There is no such thing as a “Shia-backed militia.” It was both bizarre and offensive for Kirby to imply that adherents of an entire religious sect—with an estimated 150-200 million followers worldwide—support the actions of these militias, which are in fact backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The regime in Tehran has a long history of using proxies throughout the Middle East for its own ends. In Iraq, for example, Iran created and aided militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), Asaib Ahl a-Haq, the Badr Corps and others that have launched attacks on U.S. and allied forces, and brutally repressed Iraqis.
(Read the rest of CAMERA’s March 12, 2021 Newsweek Op-Ed here)