U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he had discussions with the UN General Secretary, Israeli Prime Minister, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince over attacks on American forces in Iraq and Washington’s retaliation.
Pompeo tweeted early on December 31 saying he had made clear to the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres that the U.S. airstrikes on Iran-backed Iraqi militia on Sunday was a “defensive action aimed at deterring Iran and protecting American lives”.
After several rocked attacks on facilities housing U.S. military personnel by Iran-backed Shiite militia in Iraq, the United States launched a series of air attacks Sunday on targets both in Iraq and Syria killing at least 25 suspected militiamen.
The targeted group, has vowed retaliation and the Iraqi government and politicians have condemned the U.S. action as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
Pompeo also discussed “the attacks on coalition forces” with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, later tweeting that the U.S. “will continue to work together to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior”.
The U.S. senior diplomat also spoke with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and later said, “The U.S. and Saudi Arabia will continue to work together to counter Iran’s malign behavior.”
Reuters reported December 31 that Saudi Arabia condemned attacks launched last week by Iranian regime-backed militias against American forces in Iraq, an official source said in statement published by the state-owned Saudi Press Agency.
Pompeo also had a “productive” call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, later tweeting, “We discussed U.S. defensive strikes in Iraq and Syria to counter Iran’s threats. The U.S. will take decisive action to defend its citizens and interests.”
Since May when Washington imposed a total oil-export ban on Iran, there have been a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region and on Saudi Arabia attributed to Iran, which also shot down a U.S. surveillance drone claiming it violated its airspace.
At the time U.S. President Donald Trump refrained from a military response, amid diplomatic efforts by France and others to broker a dialogue between Tehran and Washington.